The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

When all else fails
By Phil Spickler
5 Jan 1999

Dear Ant et al,

I should like to make one final effort at winning the first
unpopularity contest of 1999, and so, being of unsound mind and sick
body, I do bequeath the following words as my best possible entry in
the aforementioned contest.  Since entries are required to be 150,000
words or less, and since brevity is the soul of wit, etc., etc.,
etc., well, here goes.

For some years now, it has been heard from various "sources" that
comes the revolution, or better days here on earth, we shall all find
bigger and better games to play.  These games may be off-world, they
may be games (don't laugh) that will be played without bodies, but
the important thing is that when all the reactive minds have been
erased or diminished sufficiently, we shall go on to bigger and
better games, even though the "sources" who have made statements like
this seem to be ignoring the actual and well-defined things that make
up a game, namely, opponents and fighting.

That's right, folks -- whether you're talking about tiddlywinks,
rugby, football, the Miss Universe contest, the great test matches of
cricket, World War II, or America's most recent clash with Iraq, or
H.G. Wells' _War of the Worlds_, games are all about opponents and
fighting, with something to win and something to lose, and a playing
field upon which all this might take place.  By gosh, even Life
itself has been defined by some as a game.  I leave it to each of you
to figure out who the opponents are, and what they're fighting for.
But if you do so successfully, you'll probably feel a lot brighter
than you did before.

Now, most of the time, the "sources" that talk about bigger and
better and finer games aren't really talking about games; they're
talking about something where everyone feels a lot better, and
there's lots of floating tone arms and needles, and everyone's thetan
or thetans feel all polished and happy and smiley-faced, and nobody's
doing any fighting, and there are no opponents and no fighting, which
would be very bad, very Red Zone, very entheta, very not-cricket.  So
we can dismiss all that blather as just a lot of folks talking who
don't know what a game is.

The other aspect of this that makes it somewhat ludicrous is, and I
ask you to imagine for just one moment, that there really are
deathless thetan immortals -- gods, if you will, in and out of
disguise -- beings, if that would please you more, who are deathless.
To continue, ask yourselves for just a moment, what sort of game or
games do you think such folks would invent to play, being as how
they're deathless immortals and outside the range of even injury, but
they do have the ability to postulate and perceive.  Well heck, just
in case you're being thick tonight and don't get the idea, the kinds
of games these chaps would invent would be games in which they
suspended their knowledge of their immortality as fully as possible
and took on, at whatever cost, the roles and identities of mere
mortals who could experience pain and the full range of other
sensations, and who could (thank God!) experience death and oblivion.
And even if it took trillennia to forget that these folks were really
immortals, that's what they'd have to do in order to play some real
games with opponents and fighting and something to have if you win.
The Greeks in their amazing mythology had all of this quite straight
-- please read Bulfinch.  This will do much to raise your reality on
gods and goddesses.         Now along come the deluded, who instead
of wanting to help these people to pretend to be mortal and simply
rehabilitate, to one degree or another, their willingness to play a
game, with opponents, fighting, victory, death, and all the wondrous
things that are really part of a game, we have mass movements that
are aiming at blowing folks back into full consciousness of their
immortality, taking them outside the game, undoing all the hard work
of the eons and screwing them up for a long time to come, since they
are no longer fish nor fowl.  In other words, the game has been
spoiled for them, and yet there's nothing left to do except to go on
and spoil the game for others, and call that a big wonderful game.

My small mission of some many years ago, with yours truly at the
helm, had the good or bad fortune, back in the late '60's and early
70's, to be delivering Dianetic and Scientology services to a fair
number of American football players here in the San Francisco Bay
area.  Several of these people, due to my inability to have a better
understanding of what Ron Hubbard was talking about when he said
in_Fundamentals of Thought_ that we want to rehabilitate not only the
sanity or ability of the  individual, but his general capability in
living and playing the game,  were taken so far in their auditing
that they ran into touches of their own real or imagined immortality,
rose to heights of pan-determinism, saw the game of football as a
pretty stupid unimportant thing with a lot of big physically
over-enhanced steroidal morons chasing a small ill-shaped ball around
a small field while kicking the tar out of one another, as tens of
thousands of crazed mob-ruled maniacs screamed and shouted for the
blood and death of their opponents; and upon seeing these matters
through that viewpoint, willed themselves out of the game.  One of
the biggest and meanest of all actually remembered that he wished to
be an artist, and so went from bone-crushing to the manly art of
painting still-lifes.

But without going any further, I'm sure that you get the point, and
therefore be it known, what you see going on in this world and
others, past and present, with all the sturm and drang, with all the
blood, the hate, the venom, the torture, the pain, the destruction,
the highs, the lows, the passions, the injustice, you name it -- that
IS the game, and there isn't one that's any better.  So please
disregard the words of all the false prophets that would have you
believe that what has been so wonderfully and beautifully created to
avoid the awful nothingness of pure beingness is somehow not a big,
beautiful, wonderful, best game of all.  It really is!  And if you or
your heirs have no further wish to be in that game, it's easy as pie
to get outside of it any time you want, or get off the wheel, as the
Buddha is said to have advised, and if you're lucky, you can always
blink back into it again, and find that it's still going 90 miles an
hour with tight curves and a precipice on every side.

Thank you for listening.  I hope this entry wins the Most Unpopular
Person in the Universe contest -- if it doesn't someone will be quite
disappointed.  Here's to all the best and the worst in the New Year
-- you can count on it.  Vive la game!  Vive la vie! -- Phil