Monday, March 21, 2005

What are We Doing?

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, ..."

- Henry David Thoreau

A friend of mine, a painter, once asked himself how he justifies spending his days pushing paint around on a canvas. Is that life? Is he contributing to the world? Is he spending his time valuably? As a game player, I have to ask the same questions.

What are we doing?

People ask me what "I do". Before I really got into gaming, I used to answer: I'm a husband and a father. Now that I run a game group, a game website, and a game blog, I answer: I'm a husband, a father, and I run a game group. Some people are thrilled to be working at whatever they work at - more power to them. I was never so fortunate. I don't hate what i do - something to do with computers, I think - but it doesn't really interest me.

What I do, is live. I try to make a good marriage. I try to raise healthy, aware, well-mannered and thoughtful children. I try to spread happiness and build things for people to enjoy. What are we here for, after all? Work is work. It makes money. Some work is important - mine ... makes money, unfortunately, not enough.

Pushing paints ... it doesn't seem like much. But it conveys to others the feelings and thoughts of life. Even if the painting doesn't survive, the effect on the people who see it might. Maybe they will go out and think more, live more, be more themselves.

Playing games ... just playing games for game's sake is a type of living, if it is social, if it encourages mental growth. But better yet is organizing a game group, providing a space and time for others to look forward to. Building the game community and bringing joy, social interaction, and mental growth to a world of new people. Contributing to the world.

Of course, playing games, like pushing paints, is not all of life, nor enough of it. You haven't lived unless you've loved, guided children, cared for the elderly, walked different parts of the world, helped the poor, studied higher learning, read good works of prose and poetry, and tried your hands at various arts. If you can incorporate some of this into your work, great. I wish I could. But if not, your work is not your life - your living is.


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