Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Postmodernism: Deal or No Deal

Monday I began the daunting task of rearranging my basement room where my wife and I watch TV. When the TV, speakers, receiver, and the other gadgets that make up our TV area were all moved into the areas where we wanted them I then began the meticulous process of connecting all of the wires and making sure that everything worked properly. In order to make sure that everything was hooked up correctly, I turned on the TV and the game show “Deal or No Deal” was on at the time.

Now, the exact details of how to play the game are relatively unimportant except for the fact that the contestant picks a locked case with an unknown prize amount in it. The player can then trade it, sell it to the bank, or keep it until the end of the game. The player’s final prize amount is determined by whatever amount they sell their case to the bank or by what is displayed in the case when it is opened. That being said, I am not overly concerned with how much the particular player won or didn’t win. What did intrigue me was the thought process that energized this player to keep risking putting such large amounts of money (that gradually decreased as the game went on) at risk.

The reason that the player continued to refuse was because she believed that the top ($1 million) prize was in her case. She stated so clearly and so repeatedly that she strongly “believed” that it was in her case and therefore, in her mind, she “knew” that it would be there. So what happened? Well, she ended up not having the $1 million prize in her possession and she settled for $40,000 in cash and some flying lessons. But again, it isn’t the amount of money that she won or could have won, but it was the reason that motivated her decisions that captivated my attention as I watched.

She kept playing the game and refusing the offers from the bank because she believed, and therefore stated that she “knew”, that she had a $1 million prize in her case. This was a fleshing out of the lunacy of postmodernism and its real life effects on a popular TV show. Regardless of the amount of her faith or what she believed was true, the host, banker, the actual cases containing the prize amounts, or anything or anyone else were not affected by the amount or genuineness of her faith.

As personally tragic as it may have been for her to miss out on a large prize that she could have had, it is equally tragic at how obvious the truth that her faith didn’t change reality no matter how strong her faith was. Most people can see this truth in some life situations, but the vast majority of people today will not use the same logic when it comes to God or eternal life.

I can believe as strongly as I am able in a religion or philosophy that is untrue. However, regardless of the strength of my belief, my belief will not create reality when I die, and I will end up being ultimately disappointed. Contrasted to that, a tiny faith in what is true will end up with supreme satisfaction in the realization of the truth, no matter the amount of faith put in it.

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