Many years ago when I first began Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying, I was drawn by the discovery of myself: In a world where I could be anything and anyone I wanted to be, what would I choose? In doing that, I discovered I could tap into a child deep in my recesses — a child that I never knew growing up. It gave me the ability to fill that void in my person. Over the years, I’ve found roleplaying to be a tremendously unique exercise in collective creativity.
The MMORPG environment is fascinating in that it’s a concentration of thousands and thousands of people from different walks of life, coming together anonymously to create an entirely new culture. What would other people do in this world where they can be whoever they wanted to be: a wealthy tycoon, a killer, a thief, a homely shy person, an alcoholic? It’s a neverending source of fascination to me.
I’ve discovered an amazing number of people who are crude, vicious, and rude. Granted many of these people are 12-year-olders who are experimenting with their personalities as their brains are maturing. Some are older people but young enough to have grown up in this environment and don’t see it as a roleplaying exercise at all but simply a massive blow-off-steam gaming fest where they don’t have to keep themselves in check but can express whatever they want without any repercussions.
Many are people like me who identify more with their computers than with real flesh-and-blood people. But here in the world of my computer I feel driven to connect and bring a measure of goodness to the world. I would never feel compelled to use it to vent aggression on people I don’t know by hurting them either through language or in-game actions. That’s not funny nor fun to me.
Luckily I’ve been around these games long enough to know that people who are likeminded are not the ones who vocalize in the global chat channels but the ones who are quietly playing their game and roleplaying in the mature roleplaying venues.
I can’t help but wonder, though, when I turn on my global chat channels, where do these people come from who are so venomously filled with hatred and prejudice. I mean, I know they’re people from all over the world, but what do they have in their lives that tells them this is ok and pleasurable? It makes me shudder to think some of these very people might just be my health club compatriots or the people that live down the street from me that I pass every day walking.
Last night in my meditations I had this revelation that all of life is in our imagination. Since the only absolute we can know is that of emptiness, then all else is pure conjecture.
So if all of life is imaginary, so-to-speak, then why feel bad about hurting other people? I’ve been contemplating this for a while now. Since the very act of trying to rationalize life is born from non-emptiness, it’s probably a hopeless exercise. However, I do wonder: How can this world possibly reject the state of utter calm, peace and loving? But the world isn’t turning away from it, is it? It just hasn’t experienced the awareness of it.
Part of me wants to climb the highest mountain and hit everyone over their heads with “Meditate!” leaflets. But another part of me knows that trying to manipulate the world is monkey-mind. It’s not at all about the rest of the world and how wrong it is. It’s about my daily sitting — bearing witness to the fundamental me that is born of emptiness every day, and not losing touch with that. If I lose track of that, I risk losing myself in the noise which is born of the monkey-mind. The best thing I can do for the collective organism is to keep sitting. And sitting. And sitting. And more sitting.