life according to ready player one

On why you shouldn’t lie to kids and the human condition.  Thanks Ernest Cline, for writing my new favorite book.  I can barely begin to describe how much I loved reading this book.  (Ready Player One, for those not making the connection that the title of this post is the title of Cline’s first novel.)  This passage was one I thought some of you might appreciate as well.  But if you are geeky or grew up in the 80s or love sci fi and fantasy or video games, oh man, go read the whole thing right away.  Huzzah.

The worst thing about being a kid was that no one told me the truth about my situation.  In fact, they did the exact opposite.  And, of course, I believed them, because I was just a kid and I didn’t know any better.  I mean, Christ, my brain hadn’t even grown to full size yet, so how could I be expected to know when adults were bullshitting me?

So I swallowed all of the dark ages nonsense they fed me.  Some time passed.  I grew up a little, and I gradually began to figure out that pretty much everyone had been lying to me about pretty much everything since the moment I emerged from my mother’s womb.

I wish someone had just told me the truth right up front, as soon as I was old enough to understand it. I wish someone had just said:

“Here’s the deal, Wade. You’re something called a ‘human being.’ That’s a really smart kind of animal. Like every other animal on this planet, we’re descended from a single-celled organism that lived millions of years ago. This happened by a process called evolution, and you’ll learn more about it But trust me, that’s really how we all got here. There’s proof of it everywhere, buried in the rocks. That story you heard? About how we were all created by a super-powerful dude named God who lives up in the sky? Total bullshit. The whole God thing is actually an ancient fairy tale that people have been telling one another for thousands of years. We made it all up. Like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.”

“Oh, and by the way … there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. Also bullshit. Sorry, kid Deal with it.”

‘You’re probably wondering what happened before you got here.  An awful lot of stuff, actually.  Once we evolved into humans, things got pretty interesting.  We figured out how to grow food and domesticate animals so we didn’t have to spend all of our time hunting.  Our tribes got much bigger, and we spread across the entire planet like an unstoppable virus.  Then, after fighting a bunch of wars with each other over land, resources, and our made-up gods, we eventually got all of our tribes organized, or civilized, and we continued to fight a lot of wars with each other.  But we also figured out how to do science, which helped us develop technology.  For a bunch of hairless apes, we’ve actually managed to invent some pretty incredible things.  Computers.  Medicine.  Lasers.  Microwave ovens.  Artificial hearts.  Atomic bombs.  We even sent a few guys to the moon and brought them back.  We also created a global communications network that lets us all talk to each other, all around the world, all the time.  Pretty, impressive, right?’

‘But that’s where the bad news comes in.  Our global civilization came at ahuge cost.  We needed a whole bunch of energy to build it, and we got that energy by burning fossil fuels…  We used up most of this fuel before you got here, and now it’s pretty much all gone.  This means that we no longer have enough energy to keep our civilization running like it was before.  So we’ve had to cut back.  Big-time.  We call this the Global Energy Crisis, and it’s been going on for a while now.’

‘To be honest, the future doesn’t look to bright.  You were born at a pretty crappy time in history.  And it looks like things are only gonna get worse from here on out.  Human civilization is in ‘decline.’  Some people even say it’s ‘collapsing.”

0 Comments on “life according to ready player one

  1. Oh, I ADORE Ready Player One. I keep persuading people to read it and beforehand they’re kind of confused by my enthusiasm, and then afterwards it’s as if we’ve joined a cult together. Great book!

  2. Already requested from library, thank you! I just finished The Glass Castle, very interesting memoir by a woman who’s parents pretty much chose to be broke (and eventually homeless) even though they were educated (well, and her dad was a drunk) – it’s one of those “I can’t believe people lived like this, and the kids got out in one piece” sort of books.

  3. Alice: Oh my god. I love how you described that. I think I need to quote you on that when I get around to writing a book. I felt so satisfied after finishing it, like I never needed to read anything else. I immediately got the audio book and am going to listen to that. Swoon.

    FVM: I read that earlier this year too! I actually felt like she almost smoothed over the horror of a lot of what she went through. It was quite amazing how well all of their kids did in the end.

  4. Those first two paragraphs are exactly what it took me years to get to. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to explain it that eloquently and concisely though. Yet another book to add to the must-read list.

  5. Interesting that you would think to believe a large group of mental people whose professed occupation is to study the material world, and who have never had a spiritual experience, concerning the question of God. I’m getting evicted so my time is short right now, but I wrote an article about the fallacies involved in the mental approach to God, which if you are open minded, you might find challenging – this article isn’t based on religious beliefs or books, but takes a common sense approach, an ordinary person approach. The article is not published, but you can read if you want a point of view that is perhaps new to you, just email me and I’ll send it over. (You can get my email [if you don’t have it] by going to my facebook page and leaving a private message.) I should mention that the article has some humor in it.
    Lambert Lorette

  6. (not sure if this comment went in) Interesting that you would think to believe a large group of mental people whose professed occupation is to study the material world, and who have never had a spiritual experience, concerning the question of God. I’m getting evicted so my time is short right now, but I wrote an article about the fallacies involved in the mental approach to God, which if you are open minded, you might find challenging – this article isn’t based on religious beliefs or books, but takes a common sense approach, an ordinary person approach. The article is not published, but you can read if you want a point of view that is perhaps new to you, just email me and I’ll send it over. (You can get my email by going to my facebook page and leaving a private message.) I should mention that the article has some humor in it.

  7. Funnily enough I ended up going along the same process in the opposite direction, looking pretty hard at the evidence and going from evolution to believing very firmly in God. Strange how life works some times.
    I do appreciate the way the church presented God isn’t always very good. Sorry about that.
    I’m pretty cynical about ‘church’ myself, having had long discussions with people here who believe the same as me but are totally immersed in the local materialistic technology and car based culture, who cannot understand why I don’t think Jesus would want to be a part of it.

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