As Cartographer Ileyev said to me recently –
“Existence is beautiful, if you let it be. Life is not a question. There does not need to be an answer…”
Who is Cartographer Ileyev? He, or rather, ‘it’, is an electronic alien life form that I met on a space station in a star system in a galaxy, far, far away, in an artificial universe in which everything – absolutely everything – is generated by mathematical procedures.
There are numerous things occurring in our own world that I could be talking about right now, but do any of them – important as they undoubtedly are, in terms of human suffering, tragedy, death, or even joy and celebration – really matter? Life irrepressibly goes on, in and around every one of those events with or without our knowledge or our consent or dissent. We are just helpless, impotent, observers to the vast majority of such things. And even acting together (were that even possible) there is little that we can do to alter the progress of time and fate.
So why worry?
There comes a time in life, or even just in the day (both cases for me), where we simply want to sit down and, in pure contemplation, marvel at the overwhelming splendour and mystery of it all.
I tend to do a lot of that, some of it in real life. The rest being in my gaming life, as depicted in the first image here, my avatar having just constructed a simple home base on a beautifully calm planet with perfect weather, few contentious distractions, gentle animals, and lots of old bones and other things to find and dig up.
This second image is the view from my contemplative position, which with the lovely, calming, musical accompaniment and the changing, fading, evening daylight, made me want to just sit and dwell there for a while.
All of this is part of the vast world of No Man’s Sky, a simulation (because it really does feel like you are flying) that enable a ‘Traveller’ to forge their own way, going wherever their fancy (and self-engineered in-game technical capabilities and achievements) will take them. Travelling across, over, or under, lands, lakes, oceans, cave systems or self-made tunnels, in a variety of space, land or sea vehicles, or on foot, a stated total of some 18 sextillion (18,446,744,073,709,551,616) planets in a number of reachable (with some effort and a whole lot of time) galaxies. More places to visit, all slightly different, than any one traveller could achieve in the standard human lifetime. Isn’t mathematics wonderful?
This game is partly to be thanked for my continuing sanity. A wonderful escape from the anguish of everyday life. Not completely pointlessly. There are moments of wonder (the fourth image) and philosophic gems (as the one I shared earlier) to be encountered on the journey. And as in real life, it is the journey that is important, and how you conduct yourself on that journey, rather than what you amass, your hard earned superiority and where that takes you.
As in real life, the accumulation of ‘stuff’ eventually loses its attraction. I have several times started over (no, not in real life) – usually after a large update to the game. The journey never tires or ceases to be stimulating. Though I may never know how far it can be taken, or understand what the actual purpose of it all is (though hints are given along the way) . It’s kind of like life, really. Just a journey, with a start, a middle and somewhere, at some point, an end – at no point of which are we, in any real sense, completely or even much more than partially in control.
Enjoy, as far as you can, the journey.