There is a certain need for danger that cannot be escaped, even though it is suppressed violently in today’s hyper-safe as well as hyper-monitored age. Without the feeling that an improper action can cause a negative result, there is barely any incentive to pay attention to what one is doing or how we are doing it. This desire for constant risk is something that pathological gamblers allow themselves to be destroyed for. It is not the victory that compels them to gamble, but rather the thrill of avoidance of disaster.
In the modern world, what are some ways besides gambling that can scratch this natural itch? There are no real wars to be fought, no new territories to be explored. All that really exists is creating risk by playing games with interpersonal or social dynamics. What this means is taking risks such as being flirtatious in situations that may result in rejection, behaving rudely towards others just to see how far you can push them before they snap, and saying offensive things that you may not even believe in order to tempt fate to give us negative social repercussions. This precarious balancing act of social tensions is great fun, even though may come with times of reprisal and “social shame”, of which any truly adventurous person is not unfamiliar with.
Behaving badly is the only way to really feel alive; the only way in which to feel one’s sense of space. There are no explicitly negative outcomes from following the rules and being a “good person”, but there are also no explicitly positive outcomes from that same behavior, unless of course you consider the bare minimum of living (a steady income, a small friend group, and a boring uneventful life) to be a positive outcome. I do not see the bare minimum of living as something that is agreeable to me, let alone bearable, so I cannot restrain myself from playing little games constantly.
When I was younger, the little games I would play would be neglecting to do my schoolwork and throwing out my food instead of eating it. These sorts of behaviors would introduce stress and tension into my interpersonal relationships, but this would be the only times in which I would ever feel alive. This later progressed to stealing small things like snacks or pocket change from family members, not because I wanted those things, but because there was a risk that I would get caught. This sort of behavior is not conducive towards respecting others or finding them particularly bright, because after a very short time you begin to realize that most people are unable to comprehend the idea of a person doing bad things out of boredom rather than some strange compulsion.
Little games are what keep us alive. Without constant risks and secrets, one quickly becomes a dullard who falls into all sorts of unhealthy, mediocre patterns. There is no room for truly adventurous pro-social behavior, since all established systems have become rotten and foul, so one must invent their own sorts of adventurous habits that might be considered “anti-social” if they wish to remain people with souls. It is in the moments of playful danger that we can really ascertain what we care about and don’t care about, and remain grounded in a sense of mortality that most normal individuals seem to have forgotten.
One game that I’m playing now is the habit of smoking. I don’t really need to smoke or feel a great desire to, but I have decided to actively take up smoking while around certain people in order to play a trick on them. To them, I appear as if I’m an addict. To everybody else, I am not somebody who smokes. This sort of split personality is something that doesn’t really mean anything other than an expression of boredom, but it will confound anybody who is talking about me behind my back, much like how I have gone out of my way to have different types of personalities depending on the individuals that I am around.
Is this manner of serial social and psychological experimentation particularly useful or beneficial to society as a whole? No, in fact it is probably more “harmful” to the greater good than not, as it will result in the post-mortem of my existence being confused and contradictory to the point of nonsensicalness, but it is useful to me. This is how I stay sane, how I do not go out of my mind in boredom, how I do not entertain much darker thoughts and behaviors that I wish to banish from my being.
Speaking of behaving in completely different manners depending on who one is surrounded with, this is a very useful sort of game that allows one to see how different types of behaviors generate different types of outcomes. Most people spend their life being completely “themselves”, forming some brittle and shallow existence and character that is devoid of depth or nuance. They can be read like books, and not quality books but rather poorly written books. The worst part about these people who do not play little games is that they do not know what they are missing.
People who do not play little games do not have the perspective that game players have. The person who has been many people or messed with many people will understand external motivations and fears much better than somebody who is constantly stuck in a non-performative, non-protagonist role. Without playing little games, you get stuck in loops of behavior that are the loops of behavior that everybody gets stuck in. When you are stuck in the same sorts of loops that everybody else is stuck in, what is interesting about you? What sort of perspective do you have that everybody else doesn’t already have? Nobody is interested in people who don’t play little games, because everybody intuitively knows that if you don’t play little games you become a boring automaton of whatever society you were born into.
Live a life that is interesting. Do things that are not out of insecurity or rage but rather curiosity. Act in a manner where you do things because you wonder if you can do them rather than trying to get something out of them. Can you lie to somebody to their face and get away with it? Can you steal something and get away with it? Can you order drugs off the internet and get them without running into legal trouble? There is only one way to find out, and if it turns out that things go wrong and you get in trouble, who really cares? You’re not doing things out of a pathological need, but rather out of boredom. This means that you can just switch up your little games as needed in order to avoid repeated mistakes that might have serious repercussions. There are an almost infinite amount of little games that you can play, and life is very short, so what are you waiting for?