Ah, the sleep spell. Such a wonderful and overused video game trope. Most RPGs, and few other genres, have sleep spells that pretty much cripple any player who is unfortunate enough to have it cast upon them. Every Final Fantasy game has it, as well Pokemon, Warcraft, Skyrim, and even Smash Bros.; just to name a few. Yep, getting your opponent to sleep on the job appears to be the best way to get the upper hand in a battle.
Now, there is something quite interesting about the sleep status within video games that appears to be consistent across the board. When a character is placed into a deep sleep, they are practically worthless. I can’t think of one game in my labyrinthian selection of titles stored in my subconsciousness that allows for any character to be effective while they are asleep. But I will note that every game has the same cure for a good slumber. Do you know what it is?
That’s right, a good punch in the face. It is just as constant as red barrels that cause explosions; if your character is asleep, they can be woken from their rest by being physically hit. In some games, like the Final Fantasy series, magic spells do not affect those who are taking a nap, but a direct physical attack will immediately wake them up. I have even found myself turning my own characters against each other to wake the others up, which is a lot more expedient than using an item…and a lot more fun, too. Either way you look at, sleeping characters will not get up unless something interacts with them.
To be completely honest with you, at the age of 36, I often feel like someone has put a lovely little sleep spell on me. I could be working hard on a sermon or spending time with my family and BANG, I feel the unmistakable pull of dreamland beckoning me to the pillow. Sure, some of that could be due to the fact that I do not exercise nearly as much as I should, or that my diet is not 100% healthy, but I think there is another reason. In fact, it is very widespread, and I believe it is the very reason why we have so many unproductive people in this world. It is just plain and simple boredom.
Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is known for saying that boredom is worse than death because it is the loss of purpose in one’s life, if not only for a little while. With all the technology and information that people have access to now, it is easy to see how the populace has been able to cope with this problem. You see it in restaurants, bus stations, grocery stores, and even within church services. There they are, the masses of cell phone zombies, just looking at their screens when there are perfectly healthy people sitting right in front of them, waiting to be engaged with. We as people have conditioned ourselves to fight boredom with technology, and since those devices can now fit in our pockets, we use our cell phones to fight the monotony.
All of this creates a disconnection from society as a whole. Boredom leads
to discontentment, which leads to compromise, which ends in disconnection. It is a type of slumber that I feel is worse than simply falling asleep at work; it is falling asleep at life. This compounds to create a culture of laziness that is drowning information but starving for true wisdom.
The wise king Solomon had a wonderful piece of advice for the sleepers of
this world. Listen to what he has to say in Proverbs 6:6-11:
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
I love the image of a great king humbling himself to lay down on his belly to watch the ants work. These simple creatures do not cease to work, and even though they are small, it is their work ethic that sustains them and keeps them alive. For us, our laziness does not bring instant ruin, but it does hurt our minds and hearts.
In any video game, you can not win a fight while your character is asleep. He needs to be roused from his slumber to be of any use, and that goes for us in this disconnected and bored society. If we, as a people, ever want to achieve the heights that we believe that we are capable of, then we need to wake up and get to work. Put down the phone and learn from the ant and the RPG sleeper; action will bring true change rather than a passive response to boredom.
The more that we let go of our addictions to our little black screens and pillows, the more of life that we are going to see. Even gaming itself can become an unnecessary escape if it is enjoyed too often, so dropping that from time to time will also encourage a reconnection with the world. Let’s learn from our catatonic characters; you can’t be of any use if you are asleep to the world!