We Don’t Need More Stuff
This article isn’t aimed squarely at MMOs although it’s no coincidence that I’m writing it right as the Rift beta is upon us. I checked out their preview movies, thought to myself that it looked nice enough and then wondered why it even needs to exist. I guess I’ve been feeling very Buddhistic (is that even a word?!) lately because I can’t help but feel that we’re now surrounded by so much junk and crap in our lives that it’s becoming a major distraction. Do we really need more things to entertain and preoccupy us?
I suppose we’re lucky that most of us don’t need to worry about the basic necessities of survival (food, water, warmth) although surpassing that hasn’t seemed to have made us any happier. Often we work 9-5 jobs, stuck in front of a computer or counter, doing something that – if we’re absolutely lucky – have some sort of mild interest in. We then spend the rest of our spare time spending the money we’ve earned trying to make ourselves happy. We bombard ourselves with games, DVDs, books, trips to the cinema, meals out, stamp collecting etc all in attempt to feel a sense of achievement and the acknowledgment of our peers. It’s comically ironic too that we (me) then spend a huge amount of time acquiring virtual representations of these items in virtual representations of our real world.
It’s not about the money either. I know/knew quite a few people who are chronic downloaders and spend 24 hours a day downloading torrents of every which-what thing they can imagine. It’s all shite too. It’s not actually decent films or even films they want to watch or music they really want to hear or books they’re looking forward to reading. It’s just stuff for the sake of stuff that sits on their hard drives gathering dust for no other reason than because it can. In many ways, it’s no different from striving to complete achievements in World of Warcraft, tasks that have no meaning and no reward other than some vague faux sense of completion. I guess it’s only human nature and something that video games exploit beautifully.
I’d love to be able to do as this article title suggests and give up all material possessions and virtual hobbies but I know I never could. It’s certainly appealing to me to go and sit on a mountain top in Japan and live the life of a monk but we all know that’s not going to happen. I’m far too immersed in my current life to do anything as drastic as that (yeah, I would be the guy in the Matrix would took the blue pill). So what I’m going to do instead is merely to try to cut out all of the crap, all of the stuff that isn’t actually very good, doesn’t give me any pleasure and I just fills me with urges to buy or own or do for the sake of it.
I’ve already been thinking along these lines for a while now and I’ve been amazed at how much stuff I don’t actually need. Sure, I still buy the odd DVD and still indulge in MMO delights (*cough* addict *cough*) but being more picky and not wasting time and energy on things that aren’t any good is actually very liberating. I don’t feel the guilt of not partaking in the latest MMO beta or seeing the latest movie or buying every comic every week and it’s making the things I do see, read and do a lot more rewarding because they tend to be of higher quality.
Maybe this weak attempt at reducing my materialistic motives makes me a hypocrite or a snob or just a twat (or even a snobby twat) but, heck, that’s something I’m happy to live with. Call me a 21st century Buddhist.