Personally, I’ve never been any good at Monopoly, the board game. I hate it. Somehow my older brother would always find a way to win all our family games. And to be dead honest, I never had the patience to complete a full game. All I really cared about from the beginning, was to have the little dog figurine represent me.

I still hate monopoly, especially this reality's version. I don’t understand this common life goal to acquire objects – what fun is that? People labour intensively, for slips of paper to then use these slips to sustain a living of eating and sleeping in order to work to get the slips again. I don’t see the point. When does it end?

And the worst part is that you already start off with less money than the person you’re playing against. In this version we not only have less money than the people we’re against but 99% of us have to share this minority of the wealth. And might I add we don’t even share it equally. It’s your luck of the draw if you’re born into the privilege of making money or not. The 1% of the population is already winning. From board game Monopoly experience, I can tell you that when my brother reached the point where he held a certain amount of money more than me it was inevitable – the game is over for me. Only with money, can you make money. So why would you want to keep playing if you’re losing from the start?

Half of us don’t even enjoy the game! I know for a fact I’m not the only avid detester of monopoly. I can see how the slow strain of it wears people down. Just look around you – addiction, suicide, adultery – these are real problems, and increasingly so. They are escapes from this reality of dissatisfaction. They are a means of finding a distraction to the realisation of the futile struggle of playing this game.

People get caught up in lives of unhappiness in the game. And why? Because this adult monopoly functions off of the unhappiness of people. The game requires your selfishness. It encourages the philosophy of ‘every man for himself’. It wants you to work for only your own benefit. It wants you to put your head down and struggle by yourself. In this way the game effectively keeps people in check. People can achieve more together, so the game makes sure to keep people apart. No connection, no commitment, no help – you’re in this on your own. That way, you can’t make any real progress and the game can just keep on going.

So what keeps people playing? Well, you see, here is where our Monopoly differs drastically from the board game we're familiar with. It has an aspect that makes people never give up on playing. An aspect that can influence their decision making – the media. Playing this game for too long can make anyone lose focus, I know that in my childhood family games we took frequent breaks, or even left it overnight. But this version of ours brought in their little tool of media to avoid this demotivation. After a long day at work, people are relieved to be able to plug into a television to seek some entertainment. And there it all is – buy this to make life easier, you need this to make you happy, you definitely want this because your image is not good enough without it. Each night the players get reminded how important it is to keep playing and earn those little strips of paper, because they're convinced to go out and buy all this cool stuff.

Cool stuff is vital to help us cope with the game. It is so clear that there is no hope in winning, that players settle for the second best option – buying something that will give them temporary enjoyment. The media sells these solutions to invigorate the players’ drives to continue to play.

Why would you choose to stay in the game though? If it’s so horrible, why not just quit right? Well, because of the belief that there is nothing but the game. People believe they have no other option, but to play. The game is all there is. The driving force behind this view – terror. The idea that it is impossible to survive without playing. The idea that you need to conform in order to have safety in numbers. The idea that conflict is necessary to achieve peace. And where has this lead us?  Bombings, refugees, poverty, crime. Human beings barely see other human beings as humans anymore. Surely there is something wrong with this game?

And all you have to do is look beyond that which life fusses over. Stop playing games. Let us deal with real issues. Let us work in a system that actually works, that is sustainable. We’re wasting time on trivial matters. Let us build something real.

I still hate Monopoly, but whatever it is that I do, I will not be playing this game.

Published by Anja Cronje

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