Here’s another glimpse inside my head.
I am currently addicted to a mobile game called Summoners War, along with millions of other people in this planet. (To date, the app has over 10 million downloads on Android alone.)
I’ve been trying to figure out what makes this game so addictive. Maybe it’s the chance to disconnect (ironic as that may sound) from the world around me. Or an actually reasonable set of missions to complete, unlike in real life. Actually, the very fact that I know my goals in the game make me feel good too. The truth is… it’s probably all these things. The game is so good to me because it aids me, in those fleeting moments, to forget about my worries. The game is good to me because it makes me believe I can solve the problems. The game is good to me because it gives me agency, something that I despairingly lack in real life. I’m sure you have your own version of Summoners War. There’s something that just gets you to forget about everything else and allows you to be happy, however long it may last. Hopefully, the price you pay for it is not too high. But my point is this: This happiness is and will always be fleeting.
What was the price I paid for this game that keeps on giving? $0. Well, the game is modeled like most other games: free to download with optional in-app purchases. I’ve been tempted several times, but so far I haven’t spent a dime on it. One could then say that perhaps the price for my fleeting happiness is nothing, but that’s not entirely true right now.
The price I pay is not zero. The price I pay is guilt.
I view pleasure disdainfully. Despite scientific evidence of the positive effects of pleasure on other aspects of life, I still believe it to be an inferior form of happiness to eudaimonia. I feel it an unaffordable luxury considering how many problems there are on this world. This really is my main argument: What have we done to deserve pleasure? I think most of us believe we’re born with this sense of entitlement over everything the world has to offer. I don’t believe so. I believe that we have to earn the right to our air we breath and everything that we do. We don’t deserve happiness unless we work for it.
Perhaps it’s my Buddhist ideology (life is suffering) that brought me to this belief, but regardless of wherever this view towards pleasure came from, I know better. I know that pleasure has its positives. I know that pleasure can help my body function more effectively and hence pleasure can help me do my life’s work better. Alas, this is yet again another prime example of how difficult it is to rewire the brain. It is a work in progress; a part of my letting go process. This one is to let go of judging myself for spending too much time on pleasurable activities. I really am weird. Who else in the world actually has this problem?
The price I pay for simple pleasures should be zero, but I can’t stop myself from slapping a tax on my very own pockets of joy.