I am a citizen of the universe. But due to the laws of my fellow humans, I am constrained to participate in a sort of board game. Try as I might, there is little way of avoiding this obligation.
The game involves being born. After which, through no conscious decision on my part, I am constrained to become a nationality. Thus I am forced to become, through no conscious choice, a French person or a German person or some other nationality.
Some would say that I am also born into a race of people as well as a nationality. But the two seem so closely entwined, race almost becomes just another word for nationality.
The reason I refer to living in this world as a "board game" is because I am not sure what else to call it.
The game has been played for a very long time now. And according to those who would have us believe they know, it is very much a game of chance.
The playing board is the entire land surface of the Earth. We, as voluntary or involuntary players, are dealt our cards, so to speak, at the time of our birth. Three main factors seem to determine the quality or value of the cards we are dealt: the particular point on the surface of the Earth at which one is born, one's parents and one's level of drive or determination.
In theory, these three factors are randomly assigned. This is to say, the cards received by any given player is very much a matter of luck.
So it is only by chance that we find ourselves members of a given nation or nationality. Over time we learn the laws of our accidental land and many of us come to love our various countries.
The board game of life is not so much played, as it is lived. By living, we play the game. Dying means we are out of the game, not so much as losers, but by disqualification.
Winning merely involves surviving for as long as possible against all odds.
The layers of play within a given nation can be called levels of society. Our initial inclusion into one these levels is more or less determined by the chance cards we are dealt at birth. For some players, these levels of society can be one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of the game.
Those born into so-called high society must play well enough to remain at that level. Those born into lower levels of society can work to attain higher levels along with the inherent benefits and challenges generic to a change in ones classification.
Several factors determine the chances of one's personal migration from one level of society to another. Certainly personal motivation or drive is one contributor to the equation. Many believe the country of ones birth is also a determinant because some nations are thought to offer more opportunities to better oneself socially than others.
Survival in life and the game of life can also be affected by the nation of ones birth. Some countries seem more prone to both natural and human-caused disasters than others. And there is no question that ones chances of survival can also be affected by the rulers of the land.
Persons with the highest ambitions and drives often rise to the highest levels of leadership and rule within any given nation. Sometimes this rise to power is due to merit and wisdom. But for the most part, rulers are merely smart players who are masters the game.
Clearly, smart players are those who have mastered the so-called golden rule . . . said rule being those with the most gold make the rules and the laws. A sad truth that is joined by yet another sad fact: great wealth and great wisdom seldom go hand in hand.
This is because players interested in wisdom, generally are not attracted to wealth as a goal and vice versa. Yet without wealth, rising to the highest level of rule and government is next to impossible. However, this is not to say that all rulers are merely clever players who have amassed tons of gold.
Down through the centuries there have been from time to time, wise and noble rulers. The question is, how can one tell them apart . . . the mere clever player from a true leader of wisdom and worth?
A truly worthy leader or ruler knows that he or she is by definition the supreme servant of those whom they presume to lead. As such, their every thought, act and deed is bent upon promoting peace, happiness, health and prosperity for all. A wise ruler knows they will govern for a finite period of time and tempers their reign accordingly. A wise ruler is flexible and open to change when prudent. Above all else, the essence of true leadership is the ability to comprehend and reflect the will of the people.
Mere clever players on the other hand, lack the inner strength and the confidence to deal with governing and the limited power that it brings. Being clever players, they can easily look the part for a time, but a silver tongue and great wealth can not sustain the facade indefinitely.
Over time such hollow leaders always begin to confuse their mental prattle with wisdom and conclude that merely wearing the badge of office makes them somehow innately qualified for the job. Their every thought, act and deed is devoted to serving the small constituency whom they used as stepping stones to gaining their temporary throne of power. They invariably institute idiotic courses of action and then remain steadfast in carrying them out for fear of looking the fool. Then they lie to the people and blame their failures on the absurd and the ridiculous.
Clever players of the game never make good rulers. For the most part, they act as if they were immortal. They would enslave entire nations even when they know that their rule of terror can last only a few short years or decades.
Some nations of the world are said to be free. This is hardly true in the final analysis, but suffice it to say that they are perhaps less oppressed than other nations. However, any nation ruled by a clever player of the game, rather than a person of wisdom and noble intentions, is a nation oppressed. Make no mistake about that.
The only thing worse is a ruler who has played the game so cunningly as to have assumed dictatorial powers which are then used to brutalize and subdue the people into obedience.
The important thing to keep in mind is that we are all equal players in the game of life. We, as individuals, must make our own choices and live or die by those choices. In the final analysis, we are all equal. And in the game of life the most important goal is to live.
Presidents, Kings, Queens and every other kind of ruler will endlessly come and go as we continue playing this board game called life. Pay them as little heed as possible. Learn how to survive in spite of them. If your leaders are wise, they will aid you and help smooth the road. If not, they will try and place you and yours in harms way. Don't play that game.
There is always a way to survive and live well in this world. No matter where we are born or what cards we are dealt when we take our first breath, each of us can still win at the game of life. The possibility of overcoming against all odds is the birthright of each person. All that's needed is a clear vision and a worthy goal; so decide what you want out of life and go for it.
Just don't forget that survival must be a big part of that goal. In fact it's the best way to overcome all rivals and enemies; the most efficient means of banishing all those pesky politicians and other would be kings and queens who somehow think they are in control.
Someday, all such people will be in the memories of those who yet remain at play in the board game of life. That's what winning the game is all about.
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