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If you’re G-d, you can surprise even yourself

The Real G‑d Game

The Real G‑d Game

Learning Kabbalistic truths from simulation games


You've seen those so-called G‑d games--like SimEarth or Civilization or The Gungan Frontier--a programmer's idea of what it's like to be G‑d. You look down at a world with detachment and make decisions of global scale with global impact, and watch the mess that ensues. You plop down animals and vegetation while ensuring the biosphere remains balanced and healthy. Sometimes it works out, sometimes there's disaster. Starvation. Catastrophe. Extinction. That's okay. When your mother calls for dinner, you shut down the machine and walk away.

As a developer of software games, I'm wondering how I would redo this in a way that offers a better sense of the G‑d we know in our prayers and our living.

What would it be like if, playing this game, I could see not just from my heavenly throne but from the eyes of any creature on the planet? I could choose a predator or a victim, even a worm, or how about a plant or a rock -- and know life as it goes on from within that being. I would experience the satisfaction of munching green leaves, the fear of an approaching predator, the throbbing heartbeat of an attacked animal. The desperate will to live. And then I would become one with the beast that eats me.

What if I could enter all those creatures at once, and be all of them, all at once? Some that know the world with sight, others that live only in a world of smell, still others who survive by detecting electrical impulses. From within a single world, I could experience a thousand different ones.

I could be a bee that sees a spectrum of color beyond what humans know. Or a worm that lives in a virtually two-dimensional world. Hot as a lizard basking in the sun, cold as a penguin in an Antarctic blizzard. Wet as a fish, dry as a desert moth. Swift as a falcon, sluggish as a sloth. Smart as an angel, silent as a rock. All at once. Boundless diversity of experience. Each the center of a whole world.

And at the same time as I am one with all of them, living within them and feeling how ultimately real all this is, I would remain transcendent and aloof. Infinitely above and intimately within, all at once.

Then there would be a story. And I, the player, would be the author. In a story, you can express your innermost thoughts, thoughts that are otherwise ineffable.

My story would be a very big story, a masterful drama full of little stories. And in the little stories, that's where I would really have fun, since I would give some of my favorite creatures the power to influence the outcome of those little stories. To be the hero or the villain--or just a coward. To take part or to stand by. It would all be their choice and they would each have to live with their decisions.

After all, their consciousness is my consciousness. Since I have free choice to author this whole big story, I could have free choice from within them as well, in these little stories. And that's part of the big story.

So there would be this story with protagonist and antagonist, and I would be within both, but at the same time I would be on the side of the protagonist and against the antagonist. I'm infinite and boundless, remember? So I can be found even in a creature who's against me and against my side. I can be within the hunter and the hunted all at once. And sympathize and feel the pain of both.

And then, in the big story, through a culmination of all the little stories and their little heroes, my side would win. All would recognize the Me that is within them, and even I would find Myself there. And be surprised. If you're G‑d, you can surprise even yourself.

Boy, He must be having some wild time.

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Leah Lechner Scotland October 31, 2016

Wow. Just awsome. Reply

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman (author) February 14, 2011

For Rene If you are the author of existence, yes.

(Or perhaps I should say, yes and no. Still thinking...) Reply

Rene´Chawes copenhagen, Denmark February 10, 2011

G-D. Is it possible to exist,and not to exist at the same time? Reply

watzenboeck voecklabruck- Austria August 28, 2017
in response to Rene´Chawes:

Secong life software Reply

Anonymous Melbourne, Australia October 19, 2010

Software games Hello,

Nice to read. Short and easy to understand.

What's the name of the software games you're developing by the way?

Is it playable on Reply

Alberto Surrey, Caanada March 16, 2010

The G-d within This story reminds me of some near death experiences, experiences had under the influence of some psychedelic substances, and from some meditation experiences, where people have reported feeling one with everything around them (and the universe at large sometimes).
I do not claim to understand any of this, but it seems to be another aspect of the human experience, which presently it is beyond the reach of our five senses (the experiences seem to be transcendental).
About free will, it seems to me that yes, we have free will, but affected by a number of environmental, genetic and psychological factors (among others).
That we may have G-d inside ourselves (the Self), it appears to me very plausible, no G-d without but G-d within? (if that was the meaning of your article) Reply

Anonymous Crestview, Florida January 19, 2007

Choice I suppose choice is just a roll of the dice then? Is our choice simply some complex algorithm that we are subjects too? Reply

Anonymous Houston, Tx November 22, 2006

enjoyed You played God when writing this,
you were God when the writing touched my heart. Thanks Reply

Anonymous Sydney, Australia November 9, 2006

Playing G-D what a wonderful insight you have given in this article. Thank you Reply

Hmangaiha Delhi, India March 27, 2006

Playing G-d Quite amusing and interesting. Topic has been discussed in a very interesting manner. Reply

Helga Hudspeth Leavenworth, WA June 21, 2004

After having read it... Wow. I wonder what type of person could read "Playing G-d" and not love it.

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