All the World's a Stage

All the World’s a Stage

"All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players
They have their exits and their entrances
And one man in his time plays many parts"

I read this poem by Shakespeare in Class 9, but it is only recently that I truly understood its meaning. As humans, we are all under the pretense that we are working towards something meaningful. In our personal lives, it could be to build a secure future for our kids, a happy and healthy retired life for our parents, luxury trips in great locations with our partners. In our professional lives, it could be to build a business legacy that lasts for generations, becoming an important employee critical to your company’s success, or to create an impact that influences many lives. I have been trying to think of all such goals, and I am realizing that all of these are human made abstract concepts and structures to keep us busy, so that we can supposedly lead our lives “meaningfully” in the “service of family & society”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that these are not good goals to pursue or that there are better goals, I am just trying to drive home the point that “any goal” we pursue is part of an act, because this concept of goal itself is abstract and human made.

Money is an important human made concept that begs discussion, because it is almost universally desired. Money enables us to have many of the human created tools, homes, trips, businesses, education, travel and even real-estate on the moon. The poor are working hard for money so that they can buy their next meal, the middle-class are working hard so that they are able to upgrade to the next level of comfort, the rich are working hard so that they are able to sustain their dominance and influence over society. So, clearly money is perhaps the most important human created abstract concept that keeps everyone busy in its pursuit. This realization that money is an abstract human-made concept that enables us to buy human-made comforts is an important one, because we might get so involved in its pursuit that this simple reality is often forgotten.

Why am I having these realizations? I recently watched this show called ‘Upload’, in which humans after death are uploaded into a virtual world. Their consciousness is programmed to live in this video-game like scenario, with all the comforts that they can buy using money. This show hit me hard, when I realized even in the real world we are living exactly in a similar kind of video-game. The lockdown caused due to the pandemic is giving me time to think, if I was going to work everyday, I would have created some similar goals along the way, ex: lose weight so that you look good, save up for that 400$ watch, save up for a family trip to the USA, get a driving license so that you can drive around, learn about stock markets so that you can gain from it. All goals that are perhaps very similar to someone else in my shoes, but all chasing goals or level-upgrades in the video-game called life. Like all other humans, I have chased such goals and am at an inflection point where I am trying to identify what is next for me. As a kid who often visited the Kirana store on my red cycle, I dreamed of a day when I could buy anything in the store without checking the MRP. In school, I chased the goal of being a good student, in college it was that I receive a respectable job, during the job it was that I first create a good impression and later that I receive an admit from a good university, during the education it was seeking a good job again, now at the job it is to again to create a good impression. Can you notice a pattern, as and when I have reached these milestones, I created more goals for me to pursue.

As we are coming towards the end of this article, our human mind is creating patterns and looking for a conclusion.

Mind: alright, I have devoted my attention to your long ramble, now I want some takeaway from this that can help me improve, or some sort of logical conclusion.
Me: Well the conclusion is that there is no conclusion ;) , ‘All the World’s a Stage, And all the men and women merely players’, so don’t take any happiness or sadness too seriously, it is just a phase in the video-game called life.

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