by DIE SIENER
I grew up in the 80s and spent my free time playing games on some comparatively inglorious rigs. My first rig, which I had to share with my dad, was an Intel 80286 PC with a monochrome tube screen running some archaic version of DOS. Big bulky sort of thing, it made noises like an old truck engine when it cranked up. It booted the operating system from an 8-inch floppy disk and most programs ran from a secondary floppy drive – no hard drive on this puppy at all.
To my preteen self, this was the most glorious piece of technology ever invented by man and I spent countless hours having a crack at text-based RPGs, carefully manoeuvring my ASCII character through dungeons fighting text-based orcs and warlocks. At the time, I would never have thought that one day I would be able to play a game such as The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim on a gaming laptop tens of thousands of times faster and oh so exceptional at displaying all those monsters and dragons on a full 24-inch HD screen.
Apart from gaming, I have also nurtured a habit of delving into the occidental occult. From the arcane wisdom, I have learned a lot about myself and the nature of the Great Fractal.
I habitually continue to learn through daily observation, even in times I’d rather just chill out and forget about work and family commitments. It was a bit of a surprise though that, while I was playing an Elder Scrolls game, I was elevated into a meditative trance. It just goes to show that if you are receptive to God, he is always willing to reveal the mysteries, no matter your current disposition.
Before I delve too deeply into the nature of this trance, let me first clarify some mechanics relating to the Elder Scrolls franchises’ game mechanics.
In the Elder Scrolls franchise, your avatar is ultimately represented by three forces. The first of these forces is called “Health” and is habitually coloured red. The second force, which is the mirror of the first, is called “Magicka” and is coloured blue. The third force is often called “Fatigue” and is coloured green.
Now from here on it becomes a bit more complex and varies from franchise to franchise, but, in general, we can say that these three forces are derived from some additional factors: the star sign under which a character is born and also the class of character the gamer chooses. These two choices influence the three forces in such a way as to govern how the character will develop in-game.
A gamer would usually complete this creation process at the start of a new game and your avatar is then born into the game-world and the “you/avatar” team can then start exploring and taking on quests etc. So, this is the basics of how the avatar is created.
The gamer will now manipulate the avatar around the game world and, based on its primary forces, will favour any number of different playing styles while solving various challenges.
A physical character would have high health and fatigue reserves and so would favour going into combat directly with heavy weapons and armour, trying to cause a lot of damage and ultimately outlasting his adversaries. His weakness would be his lack of mana which will leave the avatar incapable of casting beneficial spells, say casting a healing spell or a protection spell.
A character that is focused on predominantly casting spells and using magic to overcome challenges would benefit from a high reserve of mana and fatigue as it will have to manoeuvre around heavily armoured foes rapidly, and cast different forms of magic to overcome its foes’ greater physical prowess.
As the player continues along his path, completing quests, clearing dungeons and fighting random monsters in the game-world, the character slowly builds up experience in the skills that it favours. This then reinforces the nature of the character since each time it levels up, the characteristics which enable that type of character to become better at what it does will naturally be chosen.
At first, tasks seem hard and you fail often, but the better defined the character becomes, the easier it finds its way through quests and challenges.
Now coming back to the other night when I entered an altered state of consciousness. You see, I realised once again that we humans are not much different from this make-believe digital avatar. The catch is that in real life it takes tremendous effort to separate the actor from the flesh and blood avatar.
It doesn’t only take effort once – like RPG games, it takes the repetition of challenges, each tougher than those before, to define our primary attributes and train our avatar to follow the instructions of the actor and not the other way around. How we as individuals choose to address these temporal challenges also determines the type of character our souls ultimately develop into. It affects our fate – something which receives far too little consideration in modernity.
This tripartite nature of our reality is, unfortunately, a mystery deeply hidden to the masses who, for the most part, remain asleep and forgetful about their true nature beyond the flesh. It is this forgetfulness which inhibits our higher selves from taking control of our encounters and overcoming the challenges and uncertainties which we are all fated to experience. We remain trapped in the forces which govern our lower aspects and never seem to overcome them. The lesson that all occultists can take home is this warning.
In RPG gameplay, you can easily become lost in the fantasy, just as you can in real life. It takes real effort by the actor to distance himself from the avatar, to see things for what they truly are and to overcome them through the effort of body, mind and soul.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.