This is an unusual post for me, so far. It’s not about game mechanics, directly, but my game, Tribute provides game rules that can represent everything here. This post represents a turning point in my mentality with regards to the game. I’m not going to shy away from the (Kabbalistic) messages that the game is being designed to teach, just because a few gamers are uncomfortable with the spiritual roots of the game. If you’re one of these people, and can accept it for what it is, you just might find a powerful game engine to enjoy for a long time. Having multiple layers and perspectives doesn’t mean that the layer or perspective you like isn’t there. Use what you want to. I’m actually planning to publish the game in such a way that this will be easier to do.
Tribute is a universal roleplaying game and roleplaying game design toolkit that is based on Lurianic Kabbalah. I need to connect both aspects if I’m going to do it right.
Here’s the real post.
Health, Happiness, and Love
Spoilers ahead. Watch the video first, if you’d prefer.
In this video, Anjali Kumar reveals that while on her quest to find God (who she says she never found), she offered to bring prayers to a holy man on behalf of anyone who emailed her. She needed to know which three requests they would ask this man to relay to God.
The vast majority of requests were for three things:
- (Lasting) Health
- (Persistent) Happiness
- and (Legendary) Love
In that order. The order is important.
These were secret prayers. Many of the respondents asked her not to reveal their wishes to anyone but the holy man (She did not name names when she did), and yet, even those who wrote in a skeptical tone included their addresses, as if to ensure that God knew where to send their gifts. Imagine- atheists, subconsciously including their addresses, just in case.
This video reveals a deep truth about people, to me. I’ve always suspected that “deep down” we all want the same thing, but have often had that belief challenged, or outright turned on its head, by the actions I observed in myself and others- whether it be self-destructive behavior, a deep commitment to a negative mindset, or a proclamation that true love didn’t exist as anything other than a biologically advantageous chemical reaction, and that anyone who believed in it as nothing more was a fool.
The order of those desires is important, because they’re a chain. You can’t have a perfected form of the next one without acceptance of the form of the previous one. Even if your health is terrible, or you have a terminal disease, as long as you accept, and don’t fixate on your lack of Health, you can move onto the next ones, and even perfect them.
This corresponds to Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs.
I’m about the make the argument that true love belongs to the top of this pyramid, and that the love/belonging layer is part of happiness. Family, friends.
A true love of your life helps you self-actualize- to become the greatest version of yourself possible. A soul mate is someone who does that for you, and who you do that for. It’s quite possible for one person to be actualized by another, but to be unable to actualize their partner. This is tragic, but to me it hints that the proper relationship is possible.
Is that a romanticization? Maybe. It makes sense to me, though.
So, if you’re shaky on any of the three desires- Health, Happiness, or Love, you cannot perfect the layers above. As long as you’re stable- which can be achieved by obtaining that level, or by accepting your level (whatever it is), you can move on. The prize of obtaining or accepting your amount of these three things, I believe, is self actualization.
A couple of side notes.
1) I do believe that accepting our current level of any of these three desires in the present does not necessarily mean that we’re stuck there. That’s what hope is for. I think it’s fine to hope for a better future, as long as we don’t resent our present. Because resentment attacks happiness, at the very least. By all means, use your Hope to work on changing your circumstances. But having a realistic level of acceptance of our circumstances ensures that negativity doesn’t destroy what we do have. That’s one way to write your life as a tragedy, in the Greek sense.
2) If everything I said is true, then we all want Health. Health is a human need, the foundation of Happiness. With zero health, you're dead, and have no hope of happiness (at least on Earth). So the next time a “patriotic” politician , pundit, or voter decries healthcare programs, point them to the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be sacred & undeniable; that all men are created equal & independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent & inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, & liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.
These are our unalienable rights, as Americans. Apologies to my international readers. Also apologies to anyone who isn’t a “man” on behalf of the founders. They meant well. Regardless, the argument I'm making can be adapted you your local culture's ideals, and includes all genders. It's about humanity.
Preservation of life entails Health. And without Health (or acceptance of your state of health) to preserve your life as long as possible, you cannot maximize the pursuit Happiness. Again, though, acceptance and hope can help when something’s missing.
It’s just that it’s cruel to demand acceptance of others. Commanding or forcing others to accept their fate, is wickedness incarnate- it attacks hope. And you certainly can’t force someone to hope, either. The kind of acceptance that leads to hope comes only from within, or from love, not anger or fear.
If my case is convincing, explain your perspective on this issue to them, in your own way. Maybe you can express it better than me.