Wanting Lack

Dear Rich, if life is a virtual experience, why wouldn’t I simply wish everything I wanted into the world?

Let’s think about the game of Minecraft for a minute. If I’m in survival mode (with cheats enabled), I could use a slash-command to give myself 1000 blocks of iron and create all the iron tools I ever wanted — and while I’m at it, I might as well give myself 1000 blocks of wood planks. And you know what, instead of digging, I might as well use the fill command to excavate a huge cave for my new dwelling. Ooh, and I should give myself 1000 cakes too.

So in this scenario, I can type in a few commands and have everything at my finger tips. I probably wouldn’t bother to mine for resources or explore caves. This abundance might just rob me of a good time. Because, although we don’t think of it like this, we’re often entertained by limitations. Limits are what we go against whenever we challenge ourselves. Without finish-lines or structure, there’s no race to run, no feat to beat.

While it’s true that a virtual realm requires no true equilibrium, the players themselves require it. In other words, within a computer generated world, there is no real physical balance that must be maintained, yet participants must be provided fulfilling activities that evoke engagement. If everything is freely and easily obtained, activities might dissolve into pointlessness — and so, challenges and limitations are regularly introduced to stave-off boredom.

Therefore, it makes sense that a wizard-like being would purposely limit his power, preventing himself from magically fulfilling wishes. But, that’s only one side of the coin. In some scenarios, it does make sense to invoke near-limitless power. Let’s think about Minecraft again. If I’m in creative mode, where resources are unlimited, engagement through creativity can certainly serve as ample entertainment. The caveat being, that I must rely on my creativity to carry me through.

So dear reader, you should only wish into existence what you can handle. Lack is oftentimes captivating when we lack creativity.

Fanciful Toolbox

Wishing is a tool like any other. Misuse it and you might get hurt — but applying it correctly might fix what’s broken.

For instance, if wishes have deadlines, that’s a demand — it’s better to be a bit more open-ended. Because access to information is limited, assume that some wishes shouldn’t come true, assume that the wish-fulfiller knows best. Also realize that other people’s wishes have a right to their own fulfillment.

Remember that wishes are a means of instilling hope and fostering anticipation — these are positive feelings — so in a sense, actual fulfillment is not necessary. Fulfillment ultimately means a wish is over, only to be replaced with a new one. Wishing is a lighthearted practice, not an obsession with outcomes.

Critics of wishing are the ones often obsessed with outcomes, yet many wishers simply use the process as a form of daydreaming. It’s a mistake to assume that a lack of fulfillment means wishing has no beneficial purpose. The generation of positive feelings is a good thing. Instead of focusing on the grey clouds above, it’s often better to visualize the sun and blue sky that’s hiding behind.

Critics sometimes say that wishing causes wishers to focus on the scarcity of their situation — but the reverse is true. Why limit goals to whatever lies within the immediate view. Thinking about what could be, rather than what currently is, is expansive. A wish is simply a goal that lacks an obvious path of attainment.

Just because the route is currently unknown, doesn’t mean the destination can never be reached. In the meantime, why not mentally prepare to get there. Why not try-on the outcome within the imagination. Using creativity to paint pleasant scenes within the imagination is a good thing.

Wishing Well

Some people seem convinced that wishing is an effective strategy for worldly attainment, so I think the concept warrants investigation.

I have a bunch of wishes which haven’t come to fruition. For instance, I want to live in a place where I can go for secluded walks on a scenic route right from my front door. I want the option to obtain meat from humanely raised sources. I want to support small local farms that do what they do for the love of it. I want to be surrounded by open-minded cheerful folk that celebrate diversity and value community while minding their own business. Oh, and I want to have the latest tech-offerings to play with.

If I want a drink, I walk to the kitchen and fill a glass with water. But wishes are different, less practical. There’s an end goal and a whole bunch of magic in the middle. The actual path is obscured or it would be a rational plan rather than a fanciful wish. So wishers are left waiting with nothing to do but entertain themselves as fulfillment manifests at its own pace.

For my wishes, my thoughts have provided no practical path, simply images of the things I want. And so I wait. Wish-proponents tend to say that I can influence fruition through ritualistic practice and visualization. But I tend to think fulfillment comes either way, that those activities are just ways of passing the time.

Yet ritualistic practice and visualization might serve to encourage anticipation and hope — which is a good thing. Think about it this way, is it more entertaining to think about the cell you’re locked within or to dream of life on the outside, of frolicking in the midday sun? Is it more pleasant to fill our heads with deficiency and gloom, or with idealized outcomes?

So I think wishers are right, that wishing instills hope, and allows one to weather the storm of lack. There is no disappointment to a wisher, only a delay in the inevitable. Whether wishing works to manifest wants doesn’t even matter, it’s a useful tool for constructing pleasant thoughts. In that sense, wishes always lead to a satisfied wisher.

Ready and Waiting

I’m ready to move. I’ve been researching this and that, towns, houses, town-houses, trucks, trailers, schools, furniture, I’m champing at the bit. Even the local news is trying to tell me to go, with some time-to-get-out-of-here type stories, nasty stuff.

Let’s do this already. It feels like I should be there, not here. I’m just waiting for the finances to kick in. I don’t know how that process works exactly, but I expect any day now my bank account will have sufficient funds.

I think they call it magic. The secret to my success will be wishes and magic. Since I’ll be moving, no one will wonder why I was an overnight success. They’ll simply assume it was years of hard-work mixed with talent. When asked for evidence of my endeavors, I’ll just say I’m a writer, writing under a pseudonym for privacy.

I think I can pass off the well-educated writer vibe. I wear glasses and have a little beard, and for whatever reason I dress more formally nowadays — button-down shirts and such. After achieving success, I’ll recognize all that came before as worth it, remembering the tough times fondly.

Sometimes I think about Lennie asking George to tell him about the rabbits, and how my wishful thinking won’t get me anywhere. But I have faith in life. For instance, when life looked bleak and lonely, my friend arrived. And the time we moved from my parents’ house, our new place appeared like an oasis in the desert. And when it looked as though a little-one would never come, he did. When we needed a nest to bring him into the world, a small one materialized.

So I have no reason to doubt life is providing me both the idea and the means to implement it. I’ve noticed life likes to build up the anticipation and suspense, as if what I want is never going to happen, but in the end, all of a sudden, boom, there it is.

Of course I’ve tried to work for things, over many years I tried various means to achieve my ends, but in a sense, I was attempting to force an outcome, and those endeavors always fell flat. Only when I stopped pushing, only when I relaxed and let things happen, did the things I want manifest. You can’t force a flower to open, the result won’t be pretty.

I don’t know how life works for everyone else, but for me, things have to come at their own pace, falling into my lap. Impatiently striving has only ever been a recipe for frustration. I can’t take what I want from life, it has to be given, and the receipt of such gifts brings forth my appreciation. And so with that in mind, I’m anxiously anticipating, awaiting my Christmas miracle.

Acceptable Challenge

While it’s obvious that life sends us periodic challenges and stressors, it’s not so clear whether we can influence the types of challenges sent. In case life takes requests, I’d like to list the challenges I find acceptable and those I find unacceptable.

Acceptable:
Too many appealing choices to deal with
e.g. too many great shows to watch,
difficulty deciding on the perfect gift,
too many delicious dishes to select from,
too many fantastic toy/tool options.

The challenges associated with:
Reaching personal exercise goals.
Winning games.
Craft/art expression.
Procuring the most authentic foods.
Fixing minor issues.
Developing solutions for theoretical problems.
Understanding difficult theoretical concepts.
Deciding how best to allocate abundant funds i.e. budgeting.

Unacceptable:
Anything related to:
The legal realm or government or bureaucracy.
The medical realm or health.
Loss.
Physical violence.
Travel or transport.
Obtaining food or shelter or financial resources.
Scheduling or billing.
Weather and natural disasters.

Dear life, please be advised that these lists are not necessarily all inclusive but should at least represent a general direction of preferred stressors — also, these items should be adhered to in the spirit in which they are intended. If any unacceptable stressors are in the works, please see that they are cancelled. Thank you for your consideration in these matters.

Christmas Miracle

When I think about what my life should be like, I tend to imagine the mundane. From watching lots of old black & white sitcoms while growing up in the suburbs, I simply see a more idealized version of that. A nice house with a decent yard, a friendly community, quaint local shops, raising kids, getting old, and that’s about it.

I didn’t particularly enjoy my childhood, but I think that was due to family issues more than a dislike of the lifestyle. Within a positive family environment, I have a feeling it could work out well. And after living in a single-wide mobile-home in a trailer-park, my longing for such a lifestyle has only grown.

Of course, having had the family I did, I very much appreciate the importance of creating a supportive atmosphere that facilitates smiles. Witnessing the effects of anger, abuse, and negativity forces me to adopt a different approach to life, encouraging me to maintain a positive attitude.

Lately, I can’t help but look through real estate listings of nice houses with decent yards in pleasant little communities. I even went so far as to attend an open-house. I’m not in a position to make such a purchase, nor do I see a logical path to that ability — so I turn to wishes.

Therefore, this Christmas, I wish for a nice house in the suburbs with all the trimmings. I know it seems self-indulgent, and I suppose it is, but there’s also those with whom I live that would appreciate the room to grow and the schools and the neighborhood and all it has to offer.

Thank you for your consideration,
Rich

Imaginative Pursuits

At various points throughout my life I was consumed by compulsion to fulfill various wishes. By some mechanism, wants were implanted in my mind, causing an obsession, leading me to engage daily in their pursuit, thinking of little else until their fruition.

These wishes seemed to circulate dissatisfaction through my thoughts until I was compelled to seek relief — a relief necessitating action. And once action began, a truce was formed. But by what mechanism were these wishes actually fulfilled?

On a daily basis, I would pursue activities related to these particular goals — but within each activity, there was an element of chance involved. If circumstances didn’t align, then the goal wouldn’t have been attained. These pursuits involved intense effort and emotion, backed by persistence — but “luck” seemed a necessity.

And so I find myself obsessed once again, yet somewhat perplexed because I don’t know where to apply my effort — what are the related activities? I even wonder if I was given a wish I cannot reasonably fulfill. But of course I’ve been down this road before, and a solution may manifest eventually.