February 14, 2007; Day 117. Happy Valentine’s Day. It is a cold, wintry, windy day here. The wind is not only blowing up to 40 mph; it keeps changing its mind on which *way* to blow. What’s with that? What’s the point of blowing a bunch of air from East to West one minute just to blow it back again the next minute? Of course, this is exactly how football, soccer, or hockey seem to someone who has never played these games. What is the point? This relates back to the issue that I brought up recently about “progress” and “utopia.” From these perspectives, games and sports may at first seem nothing better than a pastime or distraction from what “really matters.” Of course, there are many flavors of what “really matters.” Some would say, only (or mainly) power matters, or mainly money or mainly bringing theKingdom of
God onto Earth or conquering the universe or whatever. Naturally, it is useful for people as individuals to have goals and to try to reach those goals. It is useful for people collectively to share goals and work together to reach them. But, what happens when this reasonable proclivity is taken to an extreme? What if there are people who cannot manage to enjoy only one or two “drinks a day” of trying to reach some desired end, but cannot stop till they have had TEN such drinks? Is this just addiction in another guise? It certainly seems true of the desire for money, at least for some people. You never have enough. And, while the desire for alcohol is self-limiting (if you drink enough in a short enough time, you will pass out or die), there is no such limit to the desire for money. Just because you manage to talk the board of directors into increasing your salary from 1 million a year to 10 million a year, it doesn’t make you “pass out” or “die” — it just seems to make you hungry for more. Power and money are interesting and different addictions in this sense. Even though one cigarette may lead to another and another, at some point, you WILL get sick. The same holds true with an addiction to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or chocolate or exercise or sex. Each is somewhat self-limiting. Not so with power and money. If anyone did successfully “conquer” the earth, they would almost certainly put resources into space exploration and try to find and conquer additional worlds.
From that perspective, games and sports seem pointless because the real joy is in playing. Oh, sure, we have taken that joy and somewhat transmogrified it with professional sports and superbowls and so on, and there is both glory and geld associated with top professional performance. But it is just more enjoyable to play any of these sports than to watch or bet on them. It doesn’t really matter where the ball or puck ends up.