Defiant in the Face of Adversity

The world spins on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about adversity lately. I was born and raised in London, which is surely one of the most progressive cities in the world in terms of multiculturalism. Whenever I drive out of London to a smaller town, its fairly normal for me to receive silent looks and double-takes. But I can’t recall anytime in my life where someone just approached me and a had a go at me based on nothing more than the colour of my skin.

That changed on Friday morning when I was walking to work. I won’t go into the details of what happened, but it got me thinking about how we deal with adversity. Because it doesn’t feel good to be victimised, either mildly or severely.  And when it happens, its far too tempting to roll into a ball and hide away from the world… not literally speaking, but mentally/emotionally speaking.

So how can we train our mind to deal with this type of feeling? My answer is a game called Destiny.

destiny 1

Destiny is a largely average sci-fi action game that has remained on my PS4’s hard drive for almost two years. I say ‘largely average’ because there are far better games out there I could recommend… games with more intelligence, more story and better characterisation. Yet I find myself enjoying Destiny time and time again.

In the past, I liked it because of exercising. That’s partly why I like it, but in light of recent events in the world I’ve realised there’s another reason.

Defiance.

defiance

In Destiny’s persistent online world, the solar system is occupied by alien armies that want to eradicate us, propelled by an unknown force referred to only as The Darkness. Humanity’s once great interstellar civilisation has been decimated and we are down to one last city… a refuge that acts as a social hub for players to gather, form teams, discuss strategies, redeem rewards and chill out.

tower relaxing

The minute you leave the safety of the city, enemies will stop at nothing to hunt you down. Humanity has lost every planet, every base, every fallback position. The whole world is out to get you. Every world is out to get you.  By all rights, we should fortify our home, hide within the walls, and wait for the inevitable attack that puts us out of our misery.

But we don’t.

guardians si

The players (known as Guardians) venture forth from the city to meet the armies of Darkness. We are tasked with pushing them back in a show of force that says humanity will not go down quietly. The game throws a variety of different encounters at you, from small skirmishes in open daylight to lengthy quests that plunge you into dark underground locations where huge frightening creatures dwell.

destiny monster 1

I find this game to be exciting and frightening in equal measure. Some of the more powerful creatures are like something from a horror game. I avoid certain quests and missions unless I have one or two fellow Guardians by my side. Its a game that constantly asks you to be brave when you have every right to be cowardly.

For me, its a game about defiance in the face of overwhelming adversity.

oryx

That’s something I find myself thinking about more and more these days. I think about how bleak the world is sometimes… how afraid I am of certain situations… how easy it is to retreat indoors, close the windows, and wait for the problems that worry me to go away.

They won’t, of course.

We all have problems that worry us – and its okay to be worried by them. The important thing is that we deal with them. We can’t do that if we run and hide from them. We can’t solve them if we lock ourselves away, throw up walls around us and say to the world “stay away.”

destiny city wall 2

We have to get out there and face them. Destiny is a metaphor for this. I’m certain that wasn’t the intention of the game’s creators, but that’s what its become for me. And that’s why I like playing this game so much.

I’ll see you out there, Guardians.

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