what you can learn about emotion by playing tetris

Imagine if you will that your emotions move through your body every day like tetris blocks. The parameters of the game are quite simple: you have limited space and according to time and level played new blocks enter into the space at random at a speed that coincides with the difficulty of any given level.

Tetris represents everyday life inevitability experienced through change. The player is your body. the computer that picks the blocks at random is God, Fate, Ja, whatever.

You don’t have to eliminate all the blocks to bump up levels you just have to endure the time/intensity factor long enough to level up. That’s good news for people who can’t be bothered with perfection. You can win and move up according to your own ability to process, strategize, and eliminate the placement of emotional blocks. Sometimes you get the perfect pieces to eliminate a lot at once and sometimes you barely get what you need to keep things from over flowing. It is a lottery but one that offers sometimes hours of enjoyment and pangs of block anticipation.
Sometimes things happen early on in the game and blocks pile up closing the gap. Let’s say this would be an emotional equivalent of enduring abuse or a major injury as a child. Statistically speaking that should be a little over half the population for abuse alone. Feeling like you have control of your emotions isn’t going to come easy and it might take several years of dysfunctional and functional life before you can process things back to the bottom. The good news is that if you know the satisfaction of playing a game of gut wrenching tetris by the skin of your teeth and having things wildly out of control most of the time… you know the almost instant relief of clearing blocks that have held you back as you worked your way up, especially when relief hits as you arrive at an advanced level. Emotions can disappear from our system
Now, happiness comes in measureable and metaphorical ways. There is happiness in having a lot of room to move around your emotional blocks and a sense of natural pride that comes with consistency of elimination. You can measure this as stats. In life stats we would say David has had 3 major physical/emotional traumas in his adult life and still working on the last one and intermittent periods between blocks where there was no major build up and release. Can the statistical facts of this inform me of David’s level of happiness or can it inform me of his perspective on playing the game? No, but it does speak to persistence and desire to maintain what is measureable. The metaphorical way of measuring the performance is by sportsmanship. Did David freak out the whole time he was playing or were there highs and lows and above all did David have the heart to stay focused on what needed to be done to keep playing and exibit a tremendous amount of heart throughout his emotional tetris adversity? I’m not sure, I’ve never played with David.
What I can speak to is that bottom line: blocks are blocks. They can be fixed and if your strategic, lucky, and stay focused on what kind of space you need to feel good about entering another level you will feel a sense of accomplishment. If you hang in there think of how great your joy will be when those blocks you lined up hoping for just one line and then lined up another tall stack and start praying for a miracle of two lines to drop down from tetris heaven… and they appear and at first you can’t believe it… your score just doubled… You can see it is real.
But that is the thing, you have to keep hoping for the pieces you need. In fact chemical happiness isn’t actually based on how the game ends or how far you make it, it is based on how happy you were to play in the first place and how much hope you had in your heart to beat everybody else’s high score and or needed that to be happy. That is metaphorical happiness because it is dependent on the process and not the final result as where the process is conditional on involvement (something that is normally controllable and limitlessly varied). These are the people who say things like it is better to have loved and lost than to have not loved at all and mean it. Victory is theirs if they make it through the first round or beat some national tetris showdown because metaphors can be tricky and you can’t pin these people down for long. They are optimists: fool me once shame on you.
If you aren’t an optimist no big deal. You can start small and work your way up to it. You just have to tell your brain it is going to be what it is, remind yourself you put the pieces in the best possible spot even when you clearly tweaked out a few times or simply didn’t get what you needed, focus on what you need to change your situation strategically, and imagine each next piece to drop as being what you need. This means that when you get the sixth cube in a row and there’s no where to go but up you tell yourself is about to get interesting and hang in.

Emotions are real. Tetris is fun when you play to beat your high score and play because it is a game that requires a healthy balance between skill, chance, and strategy. It is a safe environment to experience Joy, fear, success, and relief. You might be asking yourself why I didn’t use candy crush saga to illustrate my point. I’m saving that for a future post. I believe we are wired to function like teris but as our minds evolve to handle more and more stimulation with the surplus of technology. I will use candy crush to illustrate that point. For now we are in a renaissance of our bodies, our hearts, and the struggle to maintain a comfort level of functionality (human condition and health care). We are most literally having to rewire our bodies to keep up with this wave of mutation. I believe we can do it and this is the first time in human history we can. It’s going to take a few more blog posts to tell you how so stick around.

“Who’s with me?” – Jerry McGuire


About Pepper

Being someone who is actively searching for ways to make what I have better I thought it would be useful to share my talents and discoveries with anyone who is interested. So much of what I do is made from things that are easy to access and are perfect projects to spice up a weekend. In the words of Bernice Fitz-Gibbens "Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there." I hope that you will join me each weekend for a little inspiration and fun.
This entry was posted in abuse recovery, Health and Beauty, sexuality and fertility, spirituality, The Fall and Ignorance, women's health and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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