Suffering And Acceptance In Video Games (aka CALL OF DUKKHA)

I play Call of Duty online multiplayer. Maybe more than I should; perhaps any COD online is too much, as the game is the opposite of what I am trying to cultivate in my mind. No, this isn’t a military violence thing, rather it’s an acknowledgment that shooters like this are twitch-based games. They are about reflexes and reactions, and I am trying to train my mind to respond more slowly, not more quickly. I think they make me kind of jumpy and amped up in a not-great way.

Maybe I’ll kick the habit, but in the meantime I was playing this morning and noticed some serious dukkha happening in the game. Not to me, although I do notice my own suffering sometimes when the game isn’t going my way. No, I saw it in another guy who was ranting and raving about the other players, whom he was calling the kind of slurs that I as a straight white man cannot repeat.

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Deep Space Recovery

Spoilers for the latest episodes of Star Trek: Discovery ahead.

The back half of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season has been a mixed bag for me. The Mirror Universe stuff has been okay, but has also often been a bust. Making Lorca an MU doppelganger is too cheap and easy, in my opinion – the show was traveling down an interesting path in examining a man coping with trauma and possibly processing it poorly. Saying “he’s just from the goatee-verse!” cheapens what the show had been previously doing with the character, and makes him sort of lame in the process. I hold out hope that the season finale will find Prime Universe Lorca showing up.
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MOANA: Accepting “Where You Are”… And Where You Need To Be

Acceptance as a concept has been hard for me. It’s a key concept in both recovery and Buddhism, and when I started down those paths I found the idea of accepting things as they are to be antithetical to everything I believed. I’m an American, dammit! I believe in ambition and exploration! I always found the ending of Wizard of Oz weird and hard to parse – yeah, there’s no place like home, but there sure as shit is no place like Oz either.

So I did what I always do, and I turned to narrative storytelling and pop culture to help me understand ancient spiritual concepts. Because the thing is that all the stuff we talk about in spirituality and all the stuff we struggle with day-to-day is playing out in our narratives and pop culture, and you just simply have to be open to learning from them. Spirituality isn’t some lofty, stuffy thing – it’s the simple art of being a living human being.

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