May 132014

kids world of warcraftFollowing up from the last post – there was a time I felt particularly needed. When I was in a raiding guild in World of Warcraft. I was one of only 40 people who could accomplish a goal, and to accomplish it all of us were needed. Every single member was vital. It was an intensely cool feeling. Even though I knew it was just digital loot kept on a server somewhere, it didn’t matter. I was important to the group.

What killed it was when Blizzard allowed at-will transfers between servers, and I moved to a different server and joined a raiding guild there (for reasons). Servers only housed a few thousand people, and only a small percentage of them raided. If you quit your guild, it wasn’t that easy to replace you. Once travel between servers was possible, the world expanded. Suddenly there were hundreds of thousands of people in the same pool as you. The fragile illusion of importance was shattered. The obligation to raid turned from a duty to help people who relied on me, to just another position that thousands could fill. It was now a job, and not one I was willing to do if I was being paid in virtual loot. :/

I hear there’s a cheat code to Life’s Expansion. Having a kid it said to give one’s life a sense of purpose and meaning. But that really seems like a game-ruining cheat. The way to become important to someone is to bring into existence a human so completely helpless that they literally rely on you to move them from one place to another, and put food in their mouths? That’s not really something I feel I should be proud of… it’s not hard to be important to something so completely useless. Is that really an accomplishment? Like, if you walk through Doom after IDDQD’ing, so what? Why’d you even bother playing?

Furthermore, it’s not like you’re doing anything special – literally almost every adult alive has done the same thing. If it wasn’t for the evolutionarily-installed hormone high that it brings, no one would care. And on top of that, I have doubts that it’s a good long-term strategy. I look at my relationship with my parents… I visit them maybe 10 times a year? We live in the same city. I’m sure they have stronger relationships with their peers than with me. If I needed to move away for work, or if they did, that wouldn’t be a problem. I suspect that child-rearing is just so labor-intensive that people are distracted enough to not realize it doesn’t much matter until they’re old enough that they don’t care anymore.

But whether it’s Parenting or it’s World of Warcraft, it seems most of the importance people find is just a veneer, artificially imposed. Surely we can do better.

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