Bert’s therapy (#11): Chess

Life is just like a chess game.

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How so?

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Well, it’s all about learning to be careful…

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…and planning ahead…

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…and anticipating what’s going to happen…

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…so you can make the right moves…

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…and get control of the board.  Which is what the game’s all about, ultimately.

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Control of the board.

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Right.

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And that’s the goal of life.  Controlling the board.

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Of course.

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I see.  And when you get control of the board, what happens then?

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You win.

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And then what?

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The game ends.

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And then?

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Then nothing.  Game over.

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Oh.

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What are you thinking?

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Just that the goal of all that controlling is…nothing. 

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What do you mean?

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Getting control doesn’t leave you with anything.  In the end, I mean.

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I don’t follow.

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Whether you get control of the board or not — whether you “win” or “lose” — the game ends.   For both players.

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Oh.  Yeah.  I guess. 

 

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So I guess I agree with you.

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About what?

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When it comes to controlling…

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…life’s just like chess.

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9 responses to “Bert’s therapy (#11): Chess

  • Cheryse Durrant

    Except that one does need at least some sort of life’s purpose so they can enjoy their travels across the chess board for an odd eighty years

    • fritzfreud

      Agreed. But I don’t think having a sense of purpose is the same thing as needing control. One’s about direction, the other’s about expectations. Purpose helps us organize our behavior; a need for control makes us obsess about outcomes. And where purpose is rooted in conscious planning, controlling grows out of fear, often the unconscious and compulsive sort.

  • John Eric Pollabauer

    That is a great cartoon sequence Steve. Brilliant!
    Its like trying to drive a car forward by looking in the rear view mirror. You think you are in control of the vehicle because your hands are on the steering wheel, your foot is on the gas pedal and your eyes are on the rear view mirror and you clearly see where you started from but …………

  • Marie

    Hi Steve, as a chess player I have to say chess isn’t just about taking control of the board. And winning isn’t the only goal. I think chess teaches us to appreciate even our smallest accomplishments; to think before we act, to have a plan but be willing to be flexible. Protect what is important to us. Appreciate our strengths and be willing to work on our weakensses. And, in the end, if we win, how wonderful but if we lose we shouldn’t give up trying to win. The important thing is that we live a life in which we look to learn more and teach others what we learn.

    • fritzfreud

      I’m sure you’re right about everything chess can teach us. Those of us who don’t play may be lucky enough to learn those lessons from life. Unfortunately Bert’s a bit dense, and in therapy to learn stuff about control he wasn’t able to learn on his own.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk

    I love your cartoon, and the analogy to chess. I’m not a chess player, but I see your point. Controlling has no real value in life. The one being controlled becomes annoyed, and the one attempting to control is frustrated if others don’t play along. It can continue until something changes, and things don’t work anymore. The game is then over.

  • Patricia McCulley

    This is so good that I may ask you later about putting it in my next book about control and freedom.

    We all want to be right–which is a kind of control. And in no way do we see the whole picture about anything. There is a saying by Bacon? that we control nature by obeying her. Buddhism has it right about detachment from all and our way. Attachment causes much pain.

    Really like this site.
    Pat
    http://www.FindingTheLostUniversalPrinciples.com

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