PLAY SORCERER 8: Here’s What Matters — What Does It Mean to Be a Human Being?

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At the bedrock of any Sorcerer play is this question: “What does it mean to be human?”

Again, and I’m going to be repeating this, this is not an intellectual question. Or, rather, it can be. But let’s not make it one. Not for the purpose of playing Sorcerer, at least.

We have, as a species and as individuals, been asking this question in one form or another since we became aware of ourselves as creatures that could make a choice.

We need to know: Do I help someone else over my own needs? Do we help the sick even though the healthy will life? How do I honor my father and mother? Should I honor them? Even if it costs me what matters to me? Should I follow my commander’s orders even if I should die? Can I hurt someone to get what I want? Can I hurt someone to sleep with whom I want? If someone I love is guilty of a crime and I can influence a judgment upon them, should I? Should I leave my wife if I love someone else? Should I stay at my job if my job is harming other people? Should I spend time with my family or my work? Should I follow the laws of my religion, culture, family? What if my laws conflict.

Our lives are full of these questions and they don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist because we’re tying to figure out what kind of human we’re going to be. If we weren’t concerned about what kind of human being we’re going to be then there’d be no consequence to one action or another. We’d just do whatever we wanted to do and that would be it.

But we don’t just do whatever we’d want to do. We are constrained in one way or another. And the constraint is self-imposed. We choose to live by one code or another. “I do what I want because that’s what people should do.” Or, “I live by the code of my faith, because that’s what people should do.” “Being a good family man is how I live my life, because that’s what people should do.” “I keep my word, because that’s what people should do.” And so on.

Of course, different codes that we value often come into conflict. And that is why we have stories.

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