The one with the Numbers

There’s nothing really novel about me saying it: Life is a game.

Actually it’s not simply a philosophical analogy. It’s just the most simplest explanation to how the world and the economy operates.

I’ve often wondered why large businesses even work. There is an inherent flaw. If I ran a business, I would probably close down the moment I reach a decent threshold of income. It’s the principle of diminishing returns: there isn’t much I can do with the rest of the money, is there? I agree that keeping my business running helps the economy and blah blah, but hey, Live and Let Die.

The only convincing explanation to me is: Life is a Game. We don’t live life just to enjoy, we don’t live life just to live. We need targets in life. We need competition, we need other players. We need to compare ourselves with others and laugh at them silently. Or loudly. We need a system for making comparisons. We need numbers. Wealth. This explains everything.

Everybody plays to optimize some or the other “score”. If you are a businessman, you’re optimizing your wealth. If you’re an artist, you’re probably optimizing the number of good reviews you get (while earning just enough for a living). If you’re a social worker, you want to brag about the number of people you’ve saved in your life (while earning just enough for a living). If you’re a prostitute, you want to brag about the number of men you’ve fucked (while earning just enough for a living). If you’re a religious leader, you want to brag about the number of men you’ve converted.

I have always avoided political posts, so I just used this little buildup to de-politicize what I had to say.

So if you’re a religious leader, the score you have to optimize is the number of men you’ve converted (or stopped from converting). At the end of your life you may brag about it.

I do not see any other explanation as to why “religious conversion” is even a legally admissible term. I mean, if a christian evangelist did not really care for these numbers, then they would have been saying “Son, believe in Jesus Christ,” instead of “Son, we’re having a huge public gathering where we’re making sure your community knows that 1000 of you bastards are being converted to Christianity.” The explanation: they’re playing the game. What else can be considered as a religious leader’s score? Wealth? Clothes? Number of times he’s got laid?

You need a unbiased score-keeper. That’s why “religious conversion” finds its way into the law.

The concept of “forced conversion” is ridiculous, especially if you look at it from a solely theological viewpoint. I don’t think any religion truly accepts the existence of Gods from other religions (though school textbooks might state otherwise). So if a person is “force converted,” is it because some ceremonies are forced on him? If the person doesn’t really believe in those ceremonies, then what exactly is the issue?

The issue is that both teams want these 1000 men on their scoreboard. They can’t come up to a decision as to who is supposed to be getting them.

When we played Monopoly as kids, an ambiguous part of the game was what happens when one of the player quits halfway? Who gets his property? Can he sell it off at cheap rates to one of the players just out of spite? Those games ended with bruises.

I, for one, will concentrate on my number of my female fans.


One Response to The one with the Numbers

  1. Shreevatsa says:


    Religious conversions: Quite accurate, but it’s more subtle than that. Different religious leaders have different objective functions. Evangelism is a part of the Christian faith — some sects interpret the bible to mean that it is the duty of every good Christian to spread the gospel — while it is not for Hinduism. (This makes sense from the evolutionary point of view: Christianity and Islam were born at times when there was fierce opposition and competition and conversion was necessary for survival, while Hinduism is more of a gradual accretion of belief systems and did not evolve in the presence of competition. The survival of Buddhism is a strange exception…)
    So for instance you find that on the “Hindu” side the people who make noise about the conversion issue are RSS/VHP etc., who are not by any stretch religious leaders, but are at best champions (for want of a better word) of some presumed Hindu identity.

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