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Arjuna1It can be strange to invoke spiritual concepts in a blog about a war game such as BF3, but I think there are similarities between a few aspects of them and how the game is experienced.

 

 

Incarnation

To play any BF3 match, you have to choose a map. You have access to more or less maps depending on the packages you got. Once on the map of your choice, you are assigned to a team. To play your avatar (Picobubble, in my case), you have to get into it, to «incarnate» it someway to get full access to all actions possible you will try to accomplish in the match. The verb «incarnate» is not appropriate since there is no flesh to jump into! But the principle is the same : some sort of consciousness take control of a vehicule to be able to function in a given world. Here, in BF3, you access a limited part of a program – like in the film Matrix – that lets you interact with other players and the world you progress into. There are no organic system, but only zeros and ones basically held together with electronics (the «physical-etheric» level).

Incarnation is not only a Christian concept or belief. By becoming more conscious of yourself, you can realise that what you are is not only a body made of flesh and bones. You are some sort of light that is distinguisable from the form in which you exist. That may be an illusion, but it’s up to you to explore the truth about this.

Death does not exist

Once in the field, fighting and capturing flags, most BF3 players realise that they are mortal! Dying is one of the thing we do best. Even for those players that are unkillable, the end of a match rings the end of your life. Game over! You temporarely return in some sort of limbo while you wait for another map (another world) to be loaded. But when you die during a match, most of the time you first see – for a few seconds – the ground on which you fell and also your hand, but can’t do anything anymore. Then you see your killer as if you were floating around as a ghost, following him (if he’s not dead) for another few seconds before going back to the point of distribution. At this point, you have many options such as choosing another kit, moving to another squad, changing team, decide where you’ll respawn.

There has been a lot of reports and testimonies of dead people returning to life about what they see when they died. They say that they are floating around their body, that they see and hear everything in their surroundings, just like if they were still alive. In fact, they say that they often take some time to realise that! Their consciousness don’t die. There is no change, except that they don’t have that thick and heavy body they were experiencing a few minutes ago. There are a lot of information about near-death experience on the web and it seems BF3 is a little like that, without the famous light tunnel!

Reincarnation

Many religions or system of beliefs assert there is no death. Consciousness simply change form when the vehicule of flesh is broken. In BF3, there’s «reincarnation» too. We get back into our soldier made of electrons and pixels. We have another chance to act upon a given world, to become better at what we do, to help fellow teammates to win the battle. Reincarnation is not very popular in Christinanity, except for the ressurection of Jesus, a long time ago, but it is the basic principle of Hindouism and many Indian religions. Christianity, Islam and Judaism don’t realy believe that our soul (spirit, consciousness, being of light, whatever you call that!) gets back here after a while. They are party pooper religions. Hindouism says that reincarnation is « the entire universal process that gives rise to the cycle of death and rebirth », a very useful process in games such as BF3. Imagine if you only had one chance to play in a whole match!

Karma

Karma is also presented in some form in BF3. Karma, according to Indians principles, refers to the principle of causality where intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. But who can understand that in real life? How can you measure that? I can’t, but it is karma that can place you in good or bad situations, such as finding a job that sucks (maybe because you were a bad boss in another life) or to marry the nicest babe in town (if you have been, lets say, a good King for your people a few centuries ago). In the middle of a match, you can be switched to the another team, in the squad where the leader is the guy who just killed you! That’s frustrating! You have to work with those who were fighting you a minute ago. That’s bad karma!

Reincarnation and karma are linked like that in real life! [1] In your little personnal world, you come in contact with many people. People that you may already know from another life. Don’t you ever had that feeling that you already know someone? There may be a reason why we have to go through this. It’s all about our actions, past and present.

How many times have you been in your worst ennemy’s team? The fact is that we don’t choose that. It is «shuffled» by the system in which each BF3 players live. You can always change team, when possible, but you always play with the same bunch of guys.

There is personnal karma, but also national or group karma. This happens when you reincarnate in a country or a region of the world that is whealthy or that suffers from poor conditions. In BF3, that happens when one team dominates the other very soon in the game, especially in Conquest games. If you lost all the flags and base is the only place to spawn, you’re in for a hard time. A very frustrating one. Note that it can also be boring if you are in the winning team. The best games, for me, are those where forces in presence are balanced. The challenges are greater, the possibilities to improve your gameplay too.

Mirages and illusions

Like in real life, BF3 is based on mirages and illusions. You never know exactly how you look like to others. If you ever droped mines as a Engineer, the first person view makes you see yourself carrying a mine with both hands in a clumsy way. When you see your teammate doing the same thing, he does it more elegantly with one hand, no? Where is the truth? Every object is made of pixels and light, not concrete, metal or grass. Pure maya. Maya is the Sanskrit term for delusion about all physical matter. Maybe it’s the same in real life, according to the latest research in quantum physics. Matter doesn’t really exist. It’s only force fields! Google or YouTube that just for fun.

But, in BF3, mirages happen also at the emotional level. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna is at the hearth of a battle and is helped by Krisna. Krisna explains Arjuna how to master his emotions. In fact, the battlefield is symbolically the emotional plane of humans, where we need to understand how emotions work and affect us. Experiencing war on the battlefield helps Arjuna to transform himself. Why not try that when you play BF3? Try to understand what detachment means and how you are emotionally affected by situations that do not really exist, except in your mind and sensitivity.

Akasha

Finally, according to ancient Indian knowledge, the akasha is the space or the ether that embraces everything. It’s some sort of invisible totality where everything, individual actions or general history, is recorded somehow in a vast memory. They are called akashic records. In BF3 too everything is recorded: how many bullets you fired, how many times you killed someone with them, how often you have been slaughtered, etc. Just take a look at all the statistics you can find on your page! So, in a way, BF3 is not just only a war game, but a miniature representation or reenactment of some aspects of our daily life. It may be for some of us an occasion or an opportunity to ponder on all these things and enlarged our personal consciousness about the world we live in.

[1] I don’t really know, but lets play the game…

Note : The picture is a croped section of an image taken from Wikipedia Commons.

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