Posted by: xeper | July 23, 2008

The Game of Life

Ok, what if the life that we know was a game. Who am I kidding? It IS a game. And as all players know, no official rulebook was ever agreed upon by all players. Yet many rules are generally taken for granted. This post is but a humble invitation for all players to add the rules they know. I will start by sharing with players (referred hereafter as “you”) the few rules I know about:

  • You get only one core resource in The Game of Life, it’s called Hours. You can do with them whatever you want for yourself or others, but you cannot save them. An hour cannot be stored; it has to be spent as soon as you get it. An hour you do not spend is lost.
  • Your main goal in The Game of Life is to *^%#$#^*#$@. (Oops! This part got erased a few thousand years ago)
  • Since the main goal of The Game was lost, you have to decide on a main goal. This transitory step is most important and counts for 50-80% of your score, based on the version you’re playing. So, according to the version you’re playing, you get 21-40 years to decide and prepare for your goal. You can use preset models as well, but it reduces your score by an amount to be decided by the Final Judge.
  • In the Game of Life, you should find for yourself how to reach the main goal you set for yourself. Chances are you would have know your main goal by age of 14, and from that time till 21, 30, or 40 work on finding the best road to get there.
  • There are three engines in The Game of Life: Achievement, Control, and Belonging. Exact names differ according to your school. Many schools do not even teach this. But you will need to find out which of those you will give the most attention to.
  • There are other players in The Game of Life. Their missions will not be the same as yours. Some will be different from yours, some contradicting, some will have a mission of destroying you. Know your neighbours’ driving forces and intended destinations. Love your neighbours; those who share your destination for providing company, those who have different destinations for not overcrowding your promised place.
  • Love is an internal thingm, you love your neighbor for yourself, not for them to pay you back. In fact, loving your neighbors will not stop them from trying to harm you. Try not to harm them if at all possible. It will not always be possible. You will hurt the ones you love (whether they love you or not) and they will hurt you. An auxiliary resource you get is tears. You get them to use them.
  • You do not have to play The Game of Life on your own. You get family (chosen by the Game Master in a way as to suit you), peers including temporary allies and temporary enemies and neutrals (they will provide perspective and fuel your driving force or engine). You might have friends if you’re lucky. If you’re really lucky and a bit wise, you might keep them.
  • There’s an option to have one (or up to four or even more according to the school you follow) family member of your own choice. That’s your spouse. For a good and eternal marriage, you need to understand each other’s destinations and driving energy mix, among other compatibilities. It’s so complex you could see it as a full sub-game of The Game of Life. Indeed, many players consider it the main game.
  • You will put your hours in different activities, and some will pay and some will not. The Game of Life is not fair. Some hours you spend will pay up enough to compensate all your unpaying hours. Who said The Game of Life was not fair?
  • A very few very special hours will pay back more than you can imagine was possible by your own efforts. These used to be called miracles until the god of Science started to rule, and since he cannot understand them and is afraid of them, they hid under the humble and familiar and utter scientific name of Coincidence. They managed to stay in the game, though, and the strongest of them are biased to you.
  • As soon as you spend an hour, it will lose its hourly shape and take on a mundane shape, in order to start the Illusion Game. It will be called a meeting, a report, sleep, or whatever, and it will merge with the next hour seamlessly if you are not attentive enough. The Game of Life has a few checks to remind you in order not to forget yourself in one endless hour. In another version of the game, players went into a conversation and all of them put all their hours into it, and they are still in it until now. But in our version of The Game of Life, we have Death to end those endless boring and wasteful conversations and meetings. Death employs sleep to remind you to review your plan every 16 to 18 hours, and in thanks you should give him 6 to 8 hours every 24. Death also employs hunger to remind you to cut waste during those 18 hours, and in thanks we should give him at least an hour of those 18. Some schools have annual, weekly, and even more daily reminders called prayers, but most do them and go back to whatever time wasting activity they were doing. Death puts an end to your Game of Life in prior agreement with the Game Master. You will not be told when.

What rules would you like to see here? I will be looking forward to your amending, commenting on, or adding your own rules below.



  1. Thank you Ahmose again,

    It’s been a long time since your last post. But you came back with a deep and inspiring post “The Game of Life”!! what a philosophical title!! I always have a question, hits my head hundreds time, which is: why should I play in this game? I did not chose this game to play!!! then discovered that I dont have the choice to not play… SO I started to find out my role in the game of life.. I spent most of my life exploring myself and yet I couldnt find but illustions..

    Could you help me find the way to myself, then maybe I can discuss with you the rules?

  2. Well, I think the rule is that there is no rule, or at least there is no such thing as a set of “panacea” rules. For example in the sphere of morality, the moral commandment differs from one being to another. The independent power within him, I mean his conscience, constitute the basis for his actions, so goals, motives and rules will differ totally between “players” depending on what they conceive as being right and what they believe is wrong. We can not also set rules in this game, because simply in real life a number of metaphysical entities, hypothetically at least, adds in to our actual experience.
    Yet, sure life is a game where fair players don’t necessarily win, but we can realize easily that it is not a zero sum game, eventually we might all win or we might all loose!

  3. Dear Lost, about whether you chose your life:

    I believe you when you think you have not chosen to play this game, but at least on two different levels I do not think it is necessarily true:

    First, maybe you chose but do not remember. Do you remember your favorite food as an infant? Probably not. And probably you cannot remember anything before that either. How then can you be so sure God did not ask you and you agreed? But anyway if you did not agree to something, surely it is for the best. For God allowed it, and God loves you, and God knows best. (Should I write my “Why do bad things happen to good people?” post? 🙂 )

    Second, even supposing you did not formally agree to playing, you did agree, even form, most of the game rules. The beauty, yet cruel irony of the Game of Life is that you form your own game. You did not agree to be treated stupidly by your boss, but you did agree, if not seek a job, THIS job. But we tend to choose without really studying the options and without seeing the other side of the deal. We assume it is good. But it is not. Then we torture ourselves that things aren’t as “they should be”, for we call what we like “What should be”. We need to choose our options a bit more wisely, accepting the option as a whole package.

    So no, dear, I guess you did choose life, and if not life, then your current life. You simply do not realize that still. Worldly illusions are very strong, and I cannot say I know anyone who sees clearly through them even 20% of the time, but we should remind ourselves and each other and try to see through them.

  4. Lost: (cont)

    You started to look for your Role. Good. In fact, Great 😀 . This means you realized you had a hand in creating your own life. Many people do not realize this the whole of their lives. We are blessed to know and start looking for our roles.

    Lost, I know you are Moslem. What does Eslam tell you your role is? Serve God and improve the earth. Aren’t those the roles of humans on earth? Your task now is to see how could earth, and life on earth, be improved? What do you not like on earth that you would have liked others before you have fixed? Fix it for those after you. Is there not enough beauty? be an artist. Not enough understanding? be an educator. Not enough efficiency? be a manager. Not enough laughing people or good neighbors or good mothers? be one yourself! Find the roles needed, and you will find one that would suit you best. Do it. And listen to God’s silent voice in your heart all the time.

    But there are other aspects to finding your role: You will be able to find many roles needed. But which do you think are most needed? Moreover, which do you find yourself passionate about? The one you could do forever, without being tired and nearly forgeting all its stupidity and imperfections (for any role has those, but sometimes you won’t see them)? The role that makes you feel fulfilled, that if anyone would ask how tiring it is you would only say “It is more than worth it”. That role is what you need to do now. It might change later. That’s fine, go after it 🙂

    But who am I to tell you? Doesn’t Eslam teach to “Find your own heart’s answers”?

  5. Dear Shahinaz,

    I agree that it is no zero sum game. In fact, I think those who think it is will lose a lot, even if they don’t realize it. And those are the ones who threaten the we-all-lose scenario.

    However, I tend to look at the previous two points differently than you do: First, whether fair players win. Who can say if they win or lose? I always thought I was a fair player losing. Yet let’s think about it: I was a fair player supposedly playing for fairness, but I was losing money and prestige. I was only contradicting myself. You cannot have it all. Lets have a little anecdote: A school kid went crying to his mother “mommy mommy, no matter how much I study, I’m still 25 Kilos!!” 😀 . I cannot say I am knowledgeable and measure it by the kilo. I cannot say I am fair yet measure my winnings in Pounds and Euros. I don’t know a sure measure of success in the fairness sub plot of the game. But if you’re going to say someone lost, make sure we’re measuring in the measure of the game they played. If they wanted different results, better tell them to play another game.

    And about whether we can put rules and the problem that different people have different starting points and different goals, etc, I agree, but why can’t we have rules? and what about metaphysics? Did you play solitaire? where the black queen needs to land on a red king? well, the game cannot be solved if every other card needs to land on the red king, can it? In fact, I think the differences between the card goals is what makes the game possible in the first place. Same indivisible goal is a prerequisite only in zero sum games. But life seems more of a solitaire game with quite autonomous cards 🙂 And metaphysics, well, I guess the cards should be thankful that the hands from outside the game are helping them reach their complex goals. For goals in life are more sophisticated than one can simply declare any twist in fate as helping the goal or not.

    What do you think?

  6. Dear Xeper,

    I found an interesting post which is relevant to the Game of Life…

  7. Thank you for sharing 🙂
    I read it and enjoyed it very much. She writes wonderfully.

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