An Unlikely Friendship: A Tale of the Wrapper and Stripe

A warm welcome back to my dear husband who’s thoughts on friendship we’ve been pondering together this year… especially as we up and moved from some very near and dear level four friendships.  There is nothing quite like the treasure found in a true friend.  Enjoy…contemplate…and invest in those you love!

            The Candy Crush CHRONICLEScandy crush picRemember those good ole days, when all was well, before chocolate entered your world.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  Well, reminisce with me through the annals of Candy Crush history all the way back to level four.  Here the King introduces us to the unique combination of the wrapper and the stripe.  I am not quite sure why, but somehow this pair just works.  Think about it, each candy has completely different personalities.  One is impulsive.  Explosive to say the least, she will just go off on you when least expected.  The other is straight up.  He’s a predictable bloke, easy to get along with and very efficient.  They become an indispensible duo when you are faced with the temptations and trials of the dark and tainted realm of Candy Crush.  Maybe you won’t always need to draw upon them, but there are times and particular instances for which they are your only hope.  When the two unite it’s like fireworks sending shock waves to and fro wiping out everything in its path.  I must confess this is a particularly cool feeling especially if you are on one of levels where there are those isolated strips that you can’t get at with anything other than the stripe, and with the combo you are guaranteed to inflict the appropriate destruction.  The relationship, that is the combination of the wrapper and stripe, at first glance doesn’t seem to be of much value, but you would be wrong in your assessment.  For these are enduring relationships and they are not only among life’s most prized possessions but should be deeply cherished and nurtured.   “Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?” –Lewis, Letters, 197

The world we live in today for better or worse is incredibly fragmented.  The social structure is so out of whack and backwards that people actually think it is normal to be tethered to some kind of electronic device.  Technology has a serious bent towards destroying our relational cravings.  The fall out is becoming increasingly obvious with the rise of loneliness and depression, not to mention suicide.  How could one not behave in this way?  We have exchanged “real” mail for email, dining rooms for chat rooms, community for online dating, real living for virtual reality.  

C. S. Lewis saw a shift in his day.  Out with the small groups who sat around till 1 or 2 in the morning knocking out problems, in with the masses cramming into lecture halls to hear some renowned speaker.  Lewis says what built the minds of the previous generations were the solitary walks or the walks with a single companion.  Today the one who lives in a crowd or a caucus has replaced friendship.  We have two equally and disastrous scenarios as I see it: the one in which Lewis spoke about and the one in which fools us into thinking friendship involves a machine as a mediator.  So this leads me to a post on friendship. “Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods.  Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life.” –Lewis, Letters to Arthur Greeves, 477

Being social creatures, we all encounter different types of relationships throughout our lives.  Some are mere acquaintances like the friendly neighbor, the lunch lady handing you some variation of chicken, pizza, or taco; or the Starbucks barista who knows your usual.  Though these relationships are needed, they are of the most basic sort; we will call them level one friendships. 

Moving up the evolutionary ladder you will inevitably encounter another sort.  These are your colleagues, people of whom you work with.  They may be on the same intermural kick ball team or maybe your unit if you are of the military type.  You are fine with the occasional interaction, but would rather not spend an inordinate amount of time with them.  They would fall under the classification of level two friendships.

Next, you have those friends that you see on your own accord.  You enjoy being around them, meeting for dinner, playgroups, phone chats and perhaps even a card game or two.  We will call them level three for lack of a better name. 

Lastly, we enter into the uncharted territory of level four.  Many people (I mean many) never attain this type of friendship.  They are few in number, you agree with them on most subjects, can be completely vulnerable with, and you can share your most intimate details.  “Friendship must be about something, even if it were only enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice.  Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.” –Lewis, The Four Loves, 98

They are the friends that won’t let time, distance, or money come in the way of being there for you.  You would take a bullet for them, bail them out when they encounter trouble or help them to the finish line and they would do the same for you.  They are a rarity and when you find them you must do everything in your power to keep them.  “If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I shd. say, ‘sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.’” –Lewis, Letters to Arthur Greeves, 477

We were not designed to go it alone.  “Friends look in the same direction.  Lovers look at each other; that is, in opposite directions.” –Lewis, Present Concerns, 20

It is an interesting statistic that about 40% of the people in the Bible get shipwrecked and never cross the finish line of life, 30% end up crawling or limping across, and 30% end up finishing strong.  Level Four’s are needed for the latter.

They may look like the most unlikely of friendships, but so does the wrapper and stripe.

                                                            ~By David Euans

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A strategy for success… greed and the Good Life

I am pleased to welcome back my lovely husband with another chronicle of thoughts concerning candy crush and all things philosophy.  For those of you who may not play this game that tends to suck in anyone who tries it for the first time, I apologize if this is gibberish.  Stay tuned for recipes and other thoughts this weekend. ~Joanna

The Candy Crush Chronicles

candy crush picI am presently concerned with Greed, The Game and the Good Life.  Much has been made over the years as to the source of happiness.  I have yet to meet a single soul who desired to be miserable.  So to this end, let me assume that all sensible people want, at their core, to be happy and I will add, there is no shortage of people willing to suggest how this should happen.  Plato and the Greeks called the greatest goal one could achieve, the Good life.  Cicero referred to it as, the Summum Bonum. Boethius says, “it is what all men want… the supreme good, the one that leaves room for no others, for if there were anything further to want it could not be the highest good” (The Consolation of Philosophy). Could this good that Boethius speaks of be attained in this life?  Many think not, for how could one attain perfect happiness.  For our purposes however let’s assume that there are indeed some perfections, I will call these transcendentals, in the world that humanity can and indeed grasp (of these goodness, truth and beauty are most widely known).

Let’s begin with a thought experiment.  Say you were out, walking your dog when you stumbled upon an old tin can.  To your astonishment, within its confines was rare coinage said to be worth up to 10 million dollars.  What would you do with this sum and why?  One scenario may sound something like this: I bought a nice house.  And why?  To be in a better neighborhood, so my family will be safer, so they could enjoy more opportunities, have a better chance of succeeding in this game we call life by meeting the right friends, having the right influences, attending the right school and so on and so on.  In the end, it all boils down to one underlying principle that I submit is happiness.  You are probably saying at this point, what does this have to do with Candy Crush?

Plenty, I surmise, especially if you are like the kid in a candy store and because there is nothing more damaging to a batch of candy then the toxicity of greed.  Greed begets selfish desire.  It says, “I will have at all costs.” In it’s prodigious consumption, it will never be satisfied.  It is the antithesis to the Good Life.  I suggest an ulterior strategy to The Game (this principle also applies to life).  This hard truth that I am proposing is not for the faint of heart but says, “It is better to give than to receive.”  For all intents and purposes, you must be willing to sacrifice, give something up, empty in order to be filled.  This is the greatest indicator of one’s love, no better legacy to leave than the relinquishing of one’s self for another.  And why not, isn’t this the underlying characteristic of all great men?  Yet, there is another deeper mystery that takes place, a divine reversal if you will.  Andrew Peterson says it best in his song, Lay Me Down.

So when you lay me down to die
I’ll miss my boys, I’ll miss my girls
Lay me down and let me say goodbye to this world
You can lay me anywhere
But just remember this
When you lay me down to die
You lay me down to live

As far as The Game is concerned one application should suffice.  There is one item any serious candy crusher is after, it is the infamous color bomb or, as we like to call it, “the disco ball.”  If this is your desire, and I can’t think why it wouldn’t be, then you must scheme, plot and strategize how to acquire it.  But once you succeed in this endeavor you have embraced our fundamental principle.  Stripes and wrappers become dispensable, there is no other way I can see it, unless by happenstance.  And it may come to this, but I wouldn’t count on it.  The Game is sacrifice and sacrifice is The Game.  Think about it.  The modus operandi of The Game is to get rid of candy.  Some neophytes are content with three candies, some may stumble onto four or the occasional wrapped ones, but nothing compares to five even with the inevitable sacrifice it produces. 

In life the things most valued are the things, which you believe bring the most joy.  Whether I esteem wealth, power, or pleasure these things will never fully satisfy because they feed on greed and not sacrifice.  In the end, they just become dull idols that I worship.  We are all destined to worship.  It is unavoidable not to worship something, so why not choose to worship the one who offers everlasting joy, the one who also buys into our principle and empties Himself.  With arms outstretched, he offers for the taking not only the highest good, the Summum Bonum, but the real secret to success, sacrifice.

May your gaming be profitable and your sacrifice plenty

~By David Euans

 

Life, Philosophy and Candy Crush

Let me introduce to you my lovely husband David as guest post today. Lover of all things intellectual and always up for a good round of candy crush I love this man with all my heart.  This topic is something we have long discussed into the wee nights and bleary eyed over morning coffee so it touched me deeply to see these thoughts be set to pen. Enjoy and sojourn on!

The Candy Crush Chronicles

Life, Philosophy and Candy Crush

 

candy crush pic

When alas you are all out of Hope…

 Know Thyself.  There is no greater aphorism nor quest one could endeavor.  Socrates obsessed to this end and I in turn am left only with thoughts and musings on Candy Crush (now referred to as The Game, much of the way Thomas referred to Aristotle, The Philosopher). What can one learn through navigating its sweet waters?  I must confess, for me it started out as a simple (desperate) plea to escape the throws of life.  Actually I believe my wife first introduced it to me, “the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it (Gen. 3:6-7). Today one motto echoes through the halls of our home, “such is candy crush.”  A life lived fully is a life that has experienced the blows (or bombs) and the accolades (boasting one’s score across the world via Facebook) of The Game, for those prudent types this post may not be for you, you really won’t understand.

As this is my first reflection waxing eloquent on The Game I thought it appropriate to feature the element I most enjoy.  Without a doubt, The Game offers much more than people seem to realize.  It can if pondered long enough, account for what the Germans construct as a type of Weltanschauung (a lens to view the world). 

The Game could get downright ugly.  Throw equality out the window, (whoever programed these diabolical algorithms anyway) it is a fact of life that some get dealt a shoddy hand.  So we start off behind the eight ball trying to make the most of the situation and we endure, we persevere, we will not let it beat us (though it often does), we’re wearing thin, but we will carry on to the end and then it happens.  In the most unlikely of moments, it happens (did I mention I play for this).  The number of moves continues to tick away, much like stones under rushing water and we still have those jellies to contend.  Forget about the three stars, though it is much sweeter when it happens this way, I am on my last life, my last leg, last move, no room for error, back’s against the wall and it happens.  The light breaks through; I see clearly, I can breath again. “Sugar Crush” and all is well.  It didn’t have to end this way, many times it doesn’t (and I mean many) but it did. 

What astonishes me most is that it had nothing to do with my cleverness, stratagem, or charm, it just was.  Tolkien calls it “eucatastrophe” and it is an important lesson we must all learn.  When all hope fails, the Hope bringer trespasses into the story.  Have you seen this?  It happens quite often if you know how to see.  To the Greeks muthos (myth) was a true story, a story that unveils the true origin of the world and human beings.  We’ve got it all wrong when we try to dispel it.  Stories like Sleeping Beauty, Frodo and Sam, Edmund and Eustace really do happen.  But Tolkien says,  “The Resurrection was the greatest ‘eucatastrophe’ possible in the greatest Fairy Story — and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.”  The best part about the Fairy Tale is that we are living it.  Christ turned to Satan when all was lost, abducted his greatest weapon and stung him at high noon. We were not present, but we are the beneficiary’s. 

So when all is said and done there is Hope in this madness, there is a telos to life and this is something all great philosophers boast.  Though we are hurling towards an unavoidable collision course with Andromeda or dehydration as the sun’s luminosity grows, I propose a “eucatastrophe” will pluck us up long before, though I am unclear how this will happen, I imagine it will be dark and that we will be at our wits end.  Then he will break through, the rightful King (not to be mistaken for King Ltd., the manufacture of Candy Crush, though very ironic) shall return.  The Game may be quite aeviternal (has anyone managed to beat this endless game yet?), but so are we the Hope Filled.

By David Euans