Friday, March 28, 2014

Shooting Zombies: How a game illustrates how I waste my time.

I've got a new game on my mobile phone. It's called Sniper Z. It's tremendous fun: you have a rifle and a limitless supply of bullets, and all you have to do is shoot zombies, who walk towards a red line in a disconcertingly casual way. They all look as if they're out for a gentle stroll on a bright sunday afternoon, right up to the moment when they get shot in a spray of blood.
Bang! Splat! Take that, zombie!
So why am I talking about it?
Because it is fun, but it's a distraction. Because ultimately it's tiring and futile, as you can never stop the innumerable tide of zombies, no matter how good a shot you are, or how long you play. And all of these things - fun, distracting, innumerable, tiring, futile - refer to how I approach arguments, ideas and situations when I could better employ myself focusing on just a few things. I spend time sniping at this thing or that point, at the oncoming torrent of what are ultimately, for me at least, things that are the walking dead - that is, things that have no value to me or give me anything positive - they just weary and finally, like a zombie, eat my brain.
How often do we spend time on 'zombie' events, or zombie arguments? As an example of the latter, let's take the current soi-disant debate on immigration. This is a zombie debate if ever there was one. Once it lumbers to its feet, it just trundles on and on, impervious to weapons and utterly pointless to fight, yet it's not really a worthwhile argument. You will always have immigration from one area to another, and that is that, full stop. But still the newspapers and media are stuffed with nonsense, and I have to endure Nigel Farage's pointless face on my TV screen.
Aaagh! Zombie!!
In fact, politicians tend to set up zombie issues in order to deflect attention from what's really going on. In the UK, for example, tropes on education, health and defence are long-distance zombies, with one lumbering to the fore for a while, before being supplanted by another. Arguing over these subjects is largely futile - instead, we would be better off working out who's started which undead brain-muncher going.
But also in, for want of a better term, real life, we are faced with our own personal zombies - getting resentful at work, for example, because of how the organisation works; frustration at the daily commute; worrying too much about what other people are (or aren't) thinking; Fretfully going back and forth to emails or Facebook, wondering why you haven't got any messages; The list of things, like the staggering ghastly corpses lurching towards you in the game, is endless.
We cannot beat every argument; However, we should also realise that we don't have to, as a lot of what we do when we engage with such things is genuinely pointless, even when, in the case of political arguments in my case, it can be fun. Instead, I suggest that instead of trying to pick off every zombie, and end up getting your brain eaten anyway, you stay still, look around, and find the real living things to aim towards. After all, why should we be ever surrounded by dead things when all we want to do is live?

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