I used to stay up all night playing ‘Resident Evil 2,’ and it wouldn’t stop until the sun came up.. Then I’d walk outside at dawn’s first light, looking at the empty streets of London, and it was like life imitating art.. It felt like I’d stepped into an actual zombie apocalypse..
We keep trying to escape this reality; is that because this reality isn’t good enough? No, not at all.
It’s just that we keep realizing this reality’s deficiencies. Carl Sagan said, “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” And that’s true. But…
It’s terribly damn arrogant to think we understand the Universe; and silly to think that the Universe puts a whole lot of effort into understanding us. I’ll be honest; it took me something like two years to figure out exactly how I liked my morning coffee. It took me ten years to realize that my morning tiredness wasn’t natural, but rather that I am already producing internal stimulants, and more caffeine was just a sign for my body to slow down. We seem to think that a small portion of a human lifetime is enough to tell us what’s “real”; it’s possible that no amount of human lifetimes would tell us what’s “real”, because Reality might not chose to be pinned down.
Friends, the world around is is malleable; and that doesn’t mean that it’s about to collapse, it means that even the most difficult times aren’t always as fierce as they appear. We are human beings; we are not slaves of destiny, we are not machines, we are not non-sentient programs (we might be sentient programs, but if we are, who cares?). We change the world simply by existing within it.
That’s part of what Villainy says: “If we’re going to believe in a world full of monsters, shouldn’t the monsters be compelling and interesting, rather than banal and soul-destroying?” This is what Zombies say: “To hell with your day job, this I-may-get-eaten-at-any-time world is more ALIVE.” That is what every story of post-Apocalyptic survival says: “Forget the insipid joys; a real joy should be able to exist in the face of nearly complete destruction; it might even arise out of that destruction.”
We are beings of imagination and creation. Go ahead, try to tell us what’s “real”. We’ll fight back with a reality ridiculous and implausible, a reality flawed in every way except…
…except that as humans, we can make it real. And that is Villainy and Renaissance Faires and zombies and Goth and Rocky Horror…but it’s also cell phones, computers, video games, and a basic understanding of history. Reality is much less limited than anyone thinks it to be; Moore’s Law alone proves it.
We’re humans. Our only limits are imaginary, and we can break imaginary rules any time we want; ask anyone who’s ever played Dungeons and Dragons.
Never let Reality hold you back.
My name is Jeff Mach (“Dark Lord” is optional) and I build communities, put on events, and make stories come into being. I also tweet a lot over @darklordjournal.