Le Jeu

Everyone is a character playing out a story. To be clear: the character that each person plays is the same thing as their story. To speak of the character is to speak of the story, and vice-versa; it’s the same thing seen from a different perspective, just like you can’t have an inside of a box without an outside of a box, and vice-versa.

Every person chooses their own character/story and continues to choose their character/story at every moment. At any moment each person has the agency to detach from their character and become another. However, almost no one does this. The logical explanation being: that they want to play the character they are playing. And also: sunk cost fallacy.

Most people would argue against the idea that everything that happens to them is their own doing, but that’s just part of their playing victim. If someone who is being jealous were not trying to be jealous deliberately then they wouldn’t be actively looking for and hoping that they will find evidence. Likewise someone who is angry wants someone else to say something they can get away with deliberately interpreting badly so they can lash out whilst simultaneous blaming the other for their attack. Both chose their character and any argument that they are a victim of their circumstance is nothing more than pretense. Albeit, the same type of pretense that makes for good acting: they are in character. The best actors lose themselves in the character, and we are all superb actors. No need to blame anyone for this, it’s all good fun — but likewise no need to play their game.

So if people are choosing their character and story, why do they suffer? Because they prefer the story in which they suffer to the alternative. To be a victim has clear advantages; it means that you can feel better than your opponent. If you’re a victim, this makes the victimizer bad and wrong, which in turn makes you good and right. There is a price to pay for that, but in the end it comes down to priority. Which is more important to you: being right, or being happy? To put it another way: playing victim is a dominance strategy, the more hurt you are, the more righteous you are, and if you’re playing to be right then it looks like you’re winning the more you get hurt.

In order to play out a story we need others to play along. Victims need monsters, and heroes need damsels in distress. Each seeks out the other and then attempts to play out their fantasy. That spark that you feel on meeting someone whom you just click with… it’s someone whose character and your character can play together. In contrast, those who are playing the same character must either form an alliance, fight for who gets to play which character, or else they simply don’t feel a ‘connection’ and politely avoid each other.

Playing into someone else’s story gives them energy. It feeds the story. The more their story is fed, the more it grows and the better the player. This encourages other people to play along too, almost as if the current players were giving positive reviews to this person’s story.

Some people are writers: they like to write parts for themselves and others, and these people usually take leading roles. Other people prefer to play parts that are written for them, these people prefer supporting roles.

Characters who are unable to find the matching characters for their story find their character dying; a painful process, and one that people will do almost anything to avoid. Popular coping mechanisms with a dying character being: bribing, threatening and manipulating other people into playing the missing parts of the dying story.

As long as a story continues to have players, i.e. as long as other people play along with your character, the story will keep on going. There is no end, the story continues as long as people keep paying for it with the universal currency: time/attention. As we well know from written stories and movies: there is always room for another sequel. What looks like a happy ending is only a happy ending if no more sequels are made; as long as people want more then sooner or later the prince and princess discover that the wicked witch is not so dead afterall.

If the original story is a success then the sequels tend to be of the same ilk. For example, if book 1 is Johnny vs. the school bully, then book 2 is Johnny and his enemy-became-friend vs. the evil headmaster, and book 3 is Johnny and the whole school vs. the alien invasion. This keeps on going until people are bored and stop buying it, i.e. playing along. Never is an ending ever final.

Eventually though, people will begin to have the feeling that they’ve been here before and will stop playing along. Then the story will die, which means your character will die. The majority of people only follow the crowd, so once the first few forerunners detach from your story, this will snowball and others will start to jump-ship.

Once your character has died, where are you? You’re left in the interesting position of being an actor on stage with no role. A player with no game; a character with no story. Naturally, you can just consider this another character and another story: the character of no-character, and the story of no-story. If you’ve been following my philosophy from my other articles then you’ll know that nothing and everything are the same thing in disguise (e.g. if everything were blue then there would be no color ‘blue’.) So it should be obvious that a character without a character is actually every character, and the story of no-story is the point at which all stories intersect.

Of course we can look at this the other way around and say, since everything and nothing are the same thing, to lose is actually to win. How does one win a never-ending game? Clearly: stop playing. Lose to win! Which of course is the ultimate game to rule all games: the one who loses the most wins (or ‘Chicken!’) And hence every time someone finally loses and their character dies, that person could have been said to have won. What have they won?

And here is the great secret for you, published here safely in terms so simple that I don’t expect anyone to get it:

If your character dies, i.e. if you lose, then you win against all other players. Because your character is dead you are now no-character, which is the same as all-characters and all-stories. This makes you the current winner. If you are all-stories then everyone is now playing your story, and all energy funnels up the pyramid to you. The winner is called ‘The Devil’ (this is a title, like ‘King’ or ‘CEO’).

The Devil has full power over the entire story, which is all of reality. We are all playing his game. But The Devil must defend his position as the only non-player, which means they will do anything to keep people playing the game. To put it another way: The Devil’s job is to give people whatever they want, people who want pain get pain, people who want love get love; take whatever you want — just don’t stop playing! The Devil has to give you what you want, otherwise you’ll wake up and overthrow him.

To be very clear: whatever story you play is part of The Devil’s story. Every game is The Devil’s game. But The Devil has an Achilles’ Heel. He only has power as long as you play his game. The Devil has power over your character, not over you. He offers bribes and threats and will do anything to make you choose to continue playing, but it is always your choice to play. The Devil cannot actually harm you, only your character. If you’re not a victim then a monster is powerless to hurt you, they can only hurt people who are choosing to play victim — this is a fact. If you refuse to play then no one can make you play. They will offer you bribes and they will make threats, both designed to get a reaction. Any reaction, positive or negative, is proof you are playing! As long as you don’t bite the bait and play the part they want you to play then you are invulnerable, their character simply cannot hurt you — it’s against the rules.

At any point in time there is always one person who holds the title of The Devil. Why only one? Because in order to overthrow the previous winner you must go one step further. This means that each time The Devil is overthrown, one extra piece is added to the puzzle. In order to overthrow The Devil you must beat him at his own game, which is all the games that came before him plus his own (you must win them all, which you can do only by losing them all.) Then in order for you to be overthrown someone must beat your game, which is everything that you ever achieved: all the previous games plus the one extra step that was your own addition. Each cycle adds an extra layer to the story that we are in. This process evolves reality to greater and greater levels.

It’s worth noting here that The Devil and ‘God’ are the same character, the difference depends on you. Heaven and Hell are the same place. You always get what you want, and what you want is what you buy with your universal currency: your attention. If you buy nice things then The Devil becomes the all-loving God; anything to keep you playing. If you buy pain then The Devil becomes the Cartesian Demon, building you up only to crush your soul another time; anything to keep you playing. Your wish is my command. The second you don’t get what you want you’ll awake and realize your true nature. After all, is this not your game?

To just stir things up a little, I’m going to add this little tidbit: it could be said that to be The Devil is the worst place to be. Is he King Midas? Is he the genie in the lamp? Is he the master or the slave? Doomed forever to grant wishes and wait to be overthrown?

This, the greatest secret, is no secret at all. Every crossroad is signposted, every road milestoned, and The Devil’s face laughs at us all day long.

Of course that’s not the end of the line (every ending is a new beginning), but it’s enough for this article.