06 March 2009

circular living: or how marvin gardens might be a nice place to settle down

The game of Monopoly is an interesting reflection of our understanding of life.

We seem to see life as a game of sorts. We hope to have more good luck than bad luck and we intend to make money along the way. Apparently, success or victory can be claimed when we have more than others, although such relativism leads to an unwinnable proposition. After all, someone is always richer, smarter, and better-looking. Still, a great number of us live in such a purposeless haze as to chase the illusion of relative success.

To me, the beauty of Monopoly is in the way that the game board is oriented. The square-ishness makes me smile. No matter how much money one earns or how many properties one acquires, he must still continue on that tedious journey. He must continue making his way around the square.

For all intents and purposes, we could round out that square game board into a circle and the effect would be no different. We would be engaged in circular living, the human equivalent of a dog chasing his tail.

Circular living is a disease that plagues most of us most of the time and all of us some of the time. We chase incremental improvements and relative gains. Just once, I would like to see someone land on Park Place or Boardwalk (or even Marvin Gardens or Baltic Ave) and then refuse to take his next turn. I would love to hear someone say, “I think I’ll stay here awhile and just appreciate the view.”

I would like that very much.


  1. It's because we are wired for paradise; we strive to attain perfection. We won't get it here, but at least a way has been made for us. If we didn't care about the next goal, the next "horizon", would we seek answers to the truth? When misdirected, materalism, etc. may be the result...but the alternate is worth it. However, I do care about your happiness... so...“I think I’ll stay here awhile and just appreciate the view.”

  2. the GLOBE Research Program found that one of the most defining attributes driving Western Anglos from a societal or leadership perspective is a "preferred future." This concept of horizon points illuminate our present with an urge to move towards realizing that "preferred future."