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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Microstory 903: Strategy Challenges

A few years ago, my family and some family friends participated in one of those escape rooms. It was profoundly frustrating, and I feel like I should have done better, but it was also a lot of fun. If you even so much as met me once, you likely know that I have a strong aversion to recreational drugs, which includes alcohol. Aside from all the medical issues it can cause—and its skill of driving people to manslaughter—my take is that if you can’t have fun without altering your brain chemistry, you may be experiencing some underlying deficiency. These problems should be addressed using what I feel to be healthier solutions, like therapy, self-improvement, ferris wheel rides, or sex. Escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and the like are good wholesome fun, that can, and should, be enjoyed sober. You see, the point of life is to cultivate fond memories. Drugs like alcohol are designed, however, to inhibit neural connections. That’s not just a side effect either; it is the purpose of the exercise. The next time you wake up hungover, and have the instinct to proclaim that you must have had fun last night, the truth is that you didn’t. To paraphrase Manchester Orchestra, there is nothing you have when you die that you keep. I would add, except maybe memories. I see the rise of strategy challenges—exemplified by higher stakes reality competitions, like Survivor and Flipsides—as an unintended argument against recreational drug use. We should do more with that. We should construct escape buildings, which can take days to complete, rather than hours. We should foster a society that values sober recreation over pointless busywork for an arbitrary forty hours a week. Hell, as little interest as I personally have in it, we should make more of those adult summer camps. The real reason—again, as I see it—people do drugs, is because their lives suck. It’s not all their fault. We’re expected to have these jobs, many of which don’t actually contribute positively to the world. We spend so much time trying to make as much money as possible that we don’t have any time to spend it. And even when we do, we’re taught to revere material possessions, rather than experiences. So everybody has all this shit, and nobody’s done much of what they love. As I’ve said before, things like universal basic income, material synthesis, and general automation are all things that can help us realize a world where fun is the name of the game. But we’ll never reach it, even once we’re capable of it, if we keep teaching our kids to not want it, and damning millennials for disregarding work for work’s sake. So keep playing GISH, and keep locking yourselves in rooms, just so you can break out of them. And be sure to check out Flipsides season one, coming summer of 2030.

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