Virtual Drama

Picture it, Madison Square Garden, sometime in the 80s. Before a capacity crowd, Hulk Hogan, the World Wrestling Federation Champion of the World was down and out, seemingly lifeless. The referee picked up his limp hand and dropped it, checking for consciousness. The arm just flopped down to the mat. The ref tried again, the arm fell again. The ref tried once more, but this time the arm stayed in the air, this time there was a visible vibration in that 24-inch python. Not only was there life left in that body, but the energy flowing from thousands of Hulkamaniacs coursed through its veins.

Now on his feet, the Hulkster let loose the pythons. His opponent was dumbstruck, Hogan was relentless, a swing into the ropes, a clothesline, another trip across the ring, a boot to the chest, a body slam, a suplex, pandemonium had broken loose, the crowd was on their feet. And with his opponent down, Hogan climbed to the top rope… and jumped… BOOM a flying leg drop! One! Two! Three! Ding! Ding! Ding! The match was over. The Hulkster put his hand to his ear as the crowd shouted their praise. The ring-announcer then proclaimed, “And still Champion of the World… Hulk Hogan!”

We must drill it in, that life’s purpose is to present a compelling narrative. We’re here to be captivated, entertained by a story. Every epic tale features the protagonist toiling toward his goal. Every video-game throws obstacles in the character’s path. We’re supposed to believe the main-character might lose. We’re supposed to say “Oh no! He might not make it! Nooo!”

Look closely and we can observe this obvious pattern repeated endlessly. The most exhilarating situation we can experience in life is wavering on the edge of victory. Will we make it!? Oh no, knocked down again! Ha, we’re up! This time we’ll do it! Boom! And we’re down again! Wait, we’re up! But this time it’s different! And maybe this time it is.

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