In the movie eXistenZ, the protagonist declares, “You have to play the game to find out why you’re playing the game.”
In my thirties I was in love with a video game called Myst, and it’s three or four follow-ups. It’s very different from most video games. There’s no violence or weapons. There are no time limits. Basically you wake up on an island and walk around. You don’t know what you’re supposed to do, there are no instructions; you see a lever here and there but you don’t know what it’s for. Later you find a drawing in a book. Hmm, that looks a little like the lever next to the clock tower. Wow, it opens the door! And on like that. In later incarnations of the game, as the technology got more intricate, these games became even more sensorially complex: you heard a sound, or saw a reflection, and you had to remember it. Even things that didn’t look like clues were clues. It was like learning to be attentive to everything. I was discovering the purpose of the game as I went along.
And that’s what I think is the great beauty of life. No one really knows what we’re doing here. We often adopt our ideas from our parents, and pass them to our kids, but have you really sat down and wondered what YOU yourself have come here to do? What if it was different from everyone else’s purpose?
Would you be willing to strike out on your own to find out what that is?