Miss Bimbo vs. death

March 29, 2008

I read an article yesterday about a new computer game which, apparently, is quickly becoming extremely popular among French and British teenagers and children. The game is called “miss bimbo”. A player creates an avatar (a sort of a digital representation of themselves) and the object of the game is to make the avatar-bimbo as popular, as fashionable, as famous as possible. To achieve that goal players can take their bimbo shopping, give her various fancy haircuts, keep her appropriately slim using various diets, diet pills , etc., keep the bimbo young and tempting by applying appropriate plastic surgery: facelifts, breast implants, etc. To take care of the bimbo player must also find her a “sponsor” — rich boyfriend who can pay for her. In Great Britain 200.000 girls join the game within a single month, in France within a year the game had almost a million and a half of players. Players range anywhere from 9 years old to 15 years old. When the game showed up in Great Britain it terrified parents almost as much as it delighted their kids. Psychologists, educators, all cried in alarm. Parents are outraged and horrified to hear their young daughters discussing whether they should get breast implants of rather invest in facelift for their bimbos. I checked the game’s website yesterday — it seems all the outrage produces some results, the diet pills have been discontinued. I thought about all this yesterday. I thought about what damage this game might cause, about how justified parent’s protest was, and … the more I thought about it the more it appeared to me more as a symptom, than the cause of damage. I thought: how is it that a game like that could appear and become this popular? There must have a been a space held for it to appear — how do we hold this space? How do we make it possible for this kind of outlook on reality to be that popular, that common, that acceptable? As I thought about it a quote from one of my beloved books came to me: “Heaven could not be what Ruby had been used to. There had been nothing in her gay, frivolous life, her shallow ideals and aspirations, to fit her for that great change, or make the life to come seem to her anything but alien and unreal and undesirable (…) Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different — something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.” Life here, on earth, in human body, offers us several transitions, changes. Each of them opens us to another, wholly new way of perceiving reality. Each of them makes our world bigger, our perspective larger, or horizons broader. Each of them brings us closer to realizing who we are, to fulfilling our potential, to becoming wholly unique. The first one is when we transition into the human body, we call it birth. As we grow we transition into being a teenager, then into being an adult. We become more and more mature, with each transition we have the opportunity of becoming more and more responsible for our reality. The older we grow the more uniquely ourselves can we become. Then we make another transition, out of this body. This one we call death. I believe that the more we embrace each stage, the more fully and completely we can take responsibility for it, the more we can become unique in it. The more we can create it the way we want it to look like. On the contrary — if we deny or resist the transition — we close ourselves up, we are cutting ourselves off and preventing ourselves from growing, from expending. My favorite example to illustrate that is a person who has a grand, beautiful mansion — but chooses to live in a closet. He knows the closet, the closet is safe. It feels good in there, nothing ever changes, the rules are few and clear. One knows exactly what to do in the closet. The closet becomes one’s reality, the only reality, and so the things that are happening in the closet become very, very important — because that is all there is to life. Folding laundry properly, distributing it to appropriate shelves, is the most important thing. If one fails in this tasks one believes herself worthless, useless, not good enough. One starts to believe that he has no right to even be alive in the closet, being this inadequate. But what happens when one leaves the closet? All of a sudden the reality becomes huge, boundless. There are so many rooms, so many other closets! The laundry is … just the laundry, not a reason and meaning of one’s existence. The perspective changes completely. I believe that when we deny transitions that are offered us in life we lock ourselves up in the closet. If we deny the transition of death, things of this life, of mind, become all important. We lose perspective on who we are, we become what we do, we become our label, we become the mind. Our whole life concentrates on the closet we locked ourselves into and to leave it is the most dreaded thing that could ever happen. If we deny the transition to adulthood the things of teenage-hood become all important: how we look, what clothes we wear, do boys like us, are our breasts big enough, is our body adequate. From inside of the “being young” closet those concerns are all there is to life. Becoming older then becomes the most terrible thing that could happen (dying is so unacceptable that there is no reason to even consider it). Once, during a philosophy lecture, a professor asked us, as an exercise, to imagine that we only had a day left to live. He asked us to see what happens to our priorities in life. The result of this exercise was immediate and amazing. Everything suddenly turned upside-down, things that were all important until now became trivial, things we ignored and put aside became priorities. This simple exercise took us, if only for a minute, out of the closet. This simple exercise made it clear to me how very important it is to embrace death as a natural transition. It also made it very clear how unbalanced and constricted life becomes when we deny death and how even more constricted and unbalanced it is if we deny adulthood – of which the Bimbo game is a proof. Would you like to spend all your life in a closet?

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