The origin of the idea that life is a game cannot be traced back to any particular school of philosophy, although most views do take the theory into account. Some oppose it, while others associate their own views with it. There have been many developments across major schools of philosophy to augment the core theories that define life as a game, as well as the counter points which seek to invalidate such a claim.
A Brief Look at the Core Philosophy that Defines Life as a Game
If we were to separate the opinions and counter opinions added to the original theory over millenniums, understanding the core philosophy becomes much easier. By simply stating the striking similarities between life and games in general, we come to understand origins of the theory quite clearly:
- Every game has a beginning and an end, just like every life
- Rules govern, guide and limit every game, similar to how natural and manmade laws do the same in life
- A game is fundamentally played to have fun and be happy, while enjoyment as the essence of life is agreed upon in Hedonism
- All games incorporate an element of chance and life itself is full of chances
Believers of the theory profess that any differences which might exist between games and life itself are always differences of degree, and not kind. If one were to accept such a philosophy, then life can be designated as the most complex game in existence. Perhaps the many games of chance, such as card games, slots, roulette and other casino games come the closest to replicating a risk vs gain scenario in practical life. After all, lottery tickets, live sports betting and slots have changed the meaning of life for many people over the centuries. Whether it’s for the sake of hedonism, or simply to see if you can change your own game of life by playing a game of chance, we recommend this exciting collection of casino games for Canadian players to try out.
How Both Positive and Negative Philosophies Can Align with the View that Life is a Game
Even outside the extremes of hedonism, most positive philosophies seek to provide ways for making life more enjoyable, peaceful and/or happy, albeit with different views towards such facets or emotions of human existence. Be it in the humility of Taoism, or the impervious mindset of Stoicism, the goal is always to lead a life that negates elements which the particular philosophy considers as being obstacles in the path of a peaceful, happy life.
For example, the humble lifestyle, guided by rules of natural simplicity we find in Taoism are all guidelines towards living a long, peaceful and happy life. If we apply the game philosophy here, one can view Taoism itself as a game, where its rules of simplicity and humility are those that all players must abide by in order to win or finish the game on a high note of happiness and peace.
On the other hand, negative and potentially dangerous views professed by Nihilism and Existential Nihilism can also be used in support of the game theory. A game is often hailed as not having any end meaning to it, and just a way to pass or even waste time. Nihilistic views of life as a whole would agree with the same ideology that nothing in life has meaning, which is why life itself is meaningless. If one were to view the game theory from a nihilist’s point of view, they would simply state life as a meaningless game with rules, winners and experiences.
Why Counter Theories Exist and Where They Come From
At this point, it is difficult to discard the view that life is indeed a game, but the primary opposition comes from schools of religion, rather than the schools of ardent philosophy. There is only a thin line in between the two, but most philosophies which were turned into religions seek to negate the philosophy of treating life like a game, similar to blasphemy. This holds true for monotheistic, Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Islam and Judaism, as well as more ancient polytheistic religions such as Hinduism or even older Mesopotamian religions. All religions provide rules and strict guidelines towards how a life should be lived, with primary stress on how a God or a pantheon of Gods would be offended if those rules were broken. With there being religions that view various methods of enjoying life as sins, they cannot accept the philosophy that life is a game. Ironically, a philosophy which holds life as a game does not support or oppose any religion at all. Going by the core tenants of the philosophy, leading a strictly religious life would only mean that the person is playing an extremely hard game, defined by strict rules. It might not be the most enjoyable game that they could play, but in the end, it too becomes just another game, limited and guided by pre-defined rules, penalties and penan