Life Is Like Monopoly

Whilst writing this, I listened to Mad World by Tears For Tears, but I prefer the cover by Cody Frost (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFbxFq6Zr8) – it’s a spine chilling song.

Notes: * in this context I use institution to mean police, schools, hospitals, businesses etc. The featured image is not mine.

 

Yep, this post is about that family board game. The one you can’t really complete in less than one afternoon.

It was a sort-of-maybe-not-really spontaneous decision to talk about this rather than go with the story I started yesterday evening (which shared the same title). That was one of those spur of the moment scribbles which was actually pretty terrible once I read over it. I’ll stick to writing like this I think.

I guess I should cut to the chase now!

The word “monopoly” has been in a dusty corner of my mind for some time; it just seemed like a great metaphor for life.

I’m sure this kind of analogy already exists but I’m going to write my interpretation of it. Maybe it’ll just seem like a pretentious and outlandish view, but hey, what would the world be like without opinions?

So, there are many reasons I compare life to a board game. One is that I think there is a lot of luck involved. For example, you cannot control the sides the dice land on. Let’s compare this to your origin. It is up to the player as to how, why and where you end up being born. That makes you the piece on the board. In its simplest sense, I would say that in early life, you are channelled in a certain direction, like the piece being moved by the player (who could be a parent in this instance). Of course, there’s a lot more freedom than in this analogy but please hear me out…

You’re also affected by the interaction between players. Players could be anyone. But the players themselves are generally constrained or at least shaped by the structure of society – institutions*. These could be represented by the squares on the board and the community chest/chance cards. Since those instruct/provide for the players, you are thus affected by the players (other people). Society is sort of like a big machine in which all parts (people) have an effect and function on others.

Maybe the creator(s) of the board game could be compared to the processes which created the Earth and made it habitable. Without a starting point, we would not be living like we do. We were given the means to adapt and evolve over time – over the years, more Monopoly editions have come out. Perhaps that could represent how both our physical world and society has changed. The bare bones of or world are still there but on the surface, we have developed and become captives to a predominantly Capitalist world; by making versions which reflect pop culture and appeal to a wider market, we are harnessing the (often) ingrained values of materialism/consumption and thus make more money.

The fact that to win at Monopoly you have to build as much possible OR own most of the properties to make the most income and bankrupt the other players perhaps also reflects how humans have been claiming more and more land as greed, competitiveness and whims have taken over. The very basics of a game tend to mean that there are inherently winners and losers. Indeed, 50% of the world’s wealth is now under the belt of 1% of the population (source: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/oct/13/half-world-wealth-in-hands-population-inequality-report). Maybe even the desire to save people, partly through ensuring there are hi tech research research facilities is selfish. (I mean, we’re already overpopulating the Earth and some say we’ve already surpassed the “tipping point” with regards to global warming.) The bottom line is that worldwide human activity as a whole is so unsustainable. Remember: once, a lot of the world was actually covered in forests – and now roughly 36 football fields worth of trees are lost every minute. (Source: http://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html) Can you visualise that destruction?

Even the way we play Monopoly could be symbolic of life. First of all, you are going around a board. So basically going around in circles. Life is a cycle. It’s a well-trodden path. Although there’s a variance in the manner you navigate through life; you can get a double roll and travel really far in a short space of time compared to others, but essentially the process itself is structured. There are rules to the game – these are like laws. But in every household, you’ll probably come across some unwritten rules or unique play styles that are specific to that household, i.e. region. Governance is clearly dissimilar from place to place and even within.

And then there’s the cheating or rule-bending. Just as in life, there are deviant individuals. Sometimes they will get a good turn even if they most likely do not deserve it. Drawing a beneficial card in Monopoly can also be interpreted as privilege (it depends). Those with a fortunate origin may get privileges from the institutions.

Overall, you can’t really expect what life will throw at you. One can simply be more prepared. The cards and squares are like events: they can either make you or break you.

If you have any other comparisons or metaphors for life, comment down below, I’d love to hear them.

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