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Introductions and Afterthoughts August 11, 2006

Posted by The Truth in WARNING: Heavy Reading Ahead.
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WARNING: Heavy Reading Ahead. Okay, not so heavy as the past few. But still. Sit down, and read about it.

It’s scary, isn’t it? How come The Sandman has been able to give me such a rich insight into things, and why is it in my heart gradually becoming a compulsory lit text for all students? Okay, so it’s very disturbing sometimes….make that very disturbing. But still. Here a little something just to share with you.

For The Sandman, it pays to read the introductions. You’ll gain a much deeper insight into whatever is going to be told to you, be it comfortable or not. neil gaiman has many hidden meanings which probably won’t become clear unless you’re the man himself, or have been studying lit for like ages, probing into every nook and cranny for the slightest sense of hidden meaning (which is perfectly meaningless to do, in some cases, and i suspect it’ll warp your reading experience) I was reading the introduction for A Game of You, for the second time, post-reading, when it struck me at the the point gaiman was trying to get at. The point is so:

Have you ever heard of the Ich-Gesellschaft? The game of me? It’s probably something you’ll be familiar with, dear reader. It’s very simple, and perhaps very base, because simply put it’s the survival instinct multiplied by a few hundred thousand times, to encompass all your needs and desires. It doesn’t matter whatever happens, because I come first. And everything else is just to give the self context. In it, one tends to see all relationships as subordinate to the self…that everyone around is just to serve and further the self. And the point is that:

It’s not going to work.

We can never hope to win the game of I, because being humans, we’ll always want more. We’ll always want it better. And then this expands into the universe we’ve built around us, by enforcing our needs and desires, either implicitly or explicitly, upon those around us. A man wishes for a son, but got a daughter. His disappointment is a huge source of indignation for the wife, because she carried the unborn one for 10 months, didn’t she? And so the birth of a new life, one of the magical moments, becomes a source of conflict in the household. It’s always the question of what I want, and not what you/we/everyone else is waiting for.

Politics, for example, is simply the game of I carried onto the stage of Weltpolitik. Whatever a country wants most, that country will strive to get – however, this is done in the full knowledge that because other countries are also playing this very same game, so there’s no way you are going to come first. Weltpolitik is, thus, nothing more than a game of chess, but the stakes for which are unimaginably high. International arbiters like the UN, for example, are probably nothing more than the voice of reason, and within the UN, the game is being played too. They’ll only think of you when they can get something nice out of it.

In A Game of You, gaiman tries to emphasise on the point that the only game we can ever hope to come out tops at is the game of you. Which is probably true in a sense, and would promote world peace if people actually began to think that way. Relationships bind both ways. Although they restrict us at times, but on the other hand, they’re what gives us support and a light in our dark hours. Do you get what i’m trying to say?

What i’m trying to say is that although the self is important, sometimes we should give others priority, because if we do, we’ll be better off as a whole. The actions of others influence us, just as our actions influence them. You can’t become what you really want to be without support from me, or him, or her, but taken from their 1st person perspective, you can’t become what you really want to be without support from me.

Great things aren’t great without the experience. If you fast-forwarded through all the hardship, support and love, where would the ‘great’ be in great things? And who would you have to thank for the laurels you rest on? And as a perfect counterpoint to it, while great things remain intrinsically…great (as the name must suggest by now,) it’s the little moments when your friends, lovers and family lend you support, a shoulder to cry on, or a helping hand which probably makes it really that worthwhile.

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