Monday, July 17, 2006

An orderly world

I think a lot about why I can get so absorbed in flight simming--I'm a firm believer in the tenet that the unexamined life is not worth living. I think part of it has to do with being fascinated by airplanes and flying, part of it has to do with the satisfaction of improving on skills, and part of it is just the gee-whiz thrill of how neat everthing looks sometimes. But I believe a major reason is that it allows us to enter into an orderly world over which we have complete control. Call it escapism if you must.

Now, I live a pretty good life, so I can't complain that much. The very fact that I have the resources and leisure time to do this hobby says a lot, especially if you measure your life against how the majority of the people in the world live. But a lot of things happen that are out of my control. Take yesterday afternoon, when it was raining. In the kitchen, that is. I turns out one of the twins had left the water running in the bathroom sink upstairs, and the sink overflow drain was not doing the job. There was an inch of water in the bathroom, and who knows how much water working its way down to the first floor. An hour of cleanup ensued, followed by the worry that there would be a stain in the ceiling. Some things cannot be predicted or controlled.

Other hobbies can offer a controlled world. Sports offer conflict and struggle, but in a limited, usually safe context. Another example: I have a small vegetable garden, and can plant whatever I choose in whatever arrangement I desire. This is a nice refuge from some of the stresses of life. However, I cannot control the weather, and there are certain garden pests that can mock my best efforts.

By contrast, flight simming lets you control everything. Nothing captures this fact more than the ability to control the Weather! In this world you are free to set the time and season to your liking, regardless of the clock or calender. If you like Golden Wings, you can even retreat to an earlier time. The virtual pilot faces no barriers of financial resourse, health, age, or whether a particular aircraft still exists. The virtual airplane is never undergoing maintenance. Your favorite airplane, time, and place is always ready for you.

To me this explains simming is such a relaxing thing to do at the end of a busy day. This also explains the constant interest in enhancing this world through add-ons.

Still, there is a downside to this orderly world. The garden, for all of its disappointments and occasional heartbreaks, sometimes will produce far more than I anticipated, and far more than I feel I deserve, based on the effort I put in. This is an example of grace, and can only be recieved when one has risked something real in the real world. The simulated world we spend so much time in is a wonderful retreat, but it does not grow like a garden, or a relationship, or a community. So let us be on guard about spending too much time in the simulated skies.

What do you think? Leave a comment if you like.

1 comment:

Paolo Dallorso said...

Hi again.
I was thinking why I like simming and your post seems to explain perfectly, even the fact that I need to quit simming in times.

I like your post so much that I'm planning to translate it into italian and post on my blog, if you hane nothing against it, and I can find the time (two days left than I'm on vacation!).