Sure, playing and winning challenging games is always fun. But why would we deprive ourselves of our power, wisdom and joy in the name of playing a game? Then, assuming we willingly jump to the physical world, why do we have a compulsion to struggle or make ourselves miserable? That just didn't make sense to me.
But as I listened to the history of storytelling the other day from a screenwriting instructor, Robert's "Busting Loose" game metaphor started to come into focus.
The instructor, Chris Soth, detailed the history of storytelling, from the first grunts around the campfire to the high art of such contemporary films as "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector." It's so amazing to see how far we've come, huh?
A key point in storytelling theory was Sigmund Freud's "Pleasure Principle." According to Freud, we are always seeking pleasure in the most broad sense, and pleasure comes from the release of tension. We eat to relieve hunger. We sleep to relieve fatigue. We have sex to, well, if I need to explain that one, maybe you shouldn't be reading this.
Sure, we say we go bowling for the camaraderie of our beer-drinking buds and the chance to wear those really hip bowling shoes, but Freud would say it's really for the primal pleasure of waiting in anticipation as the ball rolls down the alley, then crashes in to the pins, knocking them flying. Secondarily, it's to whip the nacho-breath nerds from accounting.
That's just how we humans are hardwired, or have created ourselves to appear hardwired.
It's the same with screenwriting. In telling a cinematic story, you have to build the tension to make the climax worth experiencing.
In Chris' formula, tension equals hope vs. fear. We're hoping x happens, but we fear y will happen. Throw in some limits and restrictions. Repeat over and over and you've got a movie.
So the challenge to the screenwriter is to ratchet up the tension by setting the expectations high and the consequences of failure even higher.
"Will the boy get the girl?" "Will the career criminal pull off one last heist?" Will Arnold get save the planet?" (We'll settle for California at this point) "Will the slutty cheerleaders escape the axe murderer"
Yet as compelling as the movies are, they obviously have nothing on our own stories in terms of tension, complexity, resolution and way too many sequels.
I was reminded of just how talented a screenwriter our Expanded Self is while reading the Sunday newspaper recently.
There was an article about a Nebraska man who stole a valuable painting of the Virgin Mary to finance an abortion in predominantly Catholic Mexico for a teen he raped. That has more layers than the late Tammy Faye's foundation makeup.
In an even more tragic story, a man killed his swimsuit model wife and dumped her body in a suitcase, minus her teeth and fingers. He apparently assumed that police would never be able to identify his wife, thus he would not be caught.
And except for the serial numbers they found on her breast implants, he might have gotten away with it.
Neither a million monkeys or a studio full of writers would have ever come up with those stories, and Expanded Self churns them out by the billions on a daily basis, all for our edification.
So when it comes to the Human Game, the more interesting the game, the more at stake, the more tension, the more the pleasure when it's released. That's why I believe we Infinite Beings choose to play the game of limitation and restriction here as humans, at least until we get our fill and return to pure consciousness.
It also makes sense when Robert says that Phase 2 is not about logic or planning, but about feeling and experience. If we repress emotion, chances are there won't be much feeling or experience. Thus, no tension, no release and no pleasure.
I've been thinking about this a lot because my Expanded Self has concocted a suspenseful plot for the total immersion movie I'm starring in, one that's been building tension for a while and now is starting to get scary in one respect. It's also one that many of you are apparently playing a variation of now.
Widely respected, multi-talented and extremely humble middle-aged writer, media producer and entrepreneur has created a hologram seemingly devoid of incoming appreciation (money), and is living on savings, which are quickly evaporating. He's lucky to have a roof over his head and he may not have a car by the end of the year. He thinks often about the embarrassment of standing in line at the soup kitchen with the other writers.
At a loss as to how to overcome his predicament, he continues to do the Process to see what arises. The answer?
A road trip to Las Vega$, of course.
You see where this is going?
A little fear, a little hope. And that's just Act 1.