When we are uncertain in our identity, in the confines of who we truly are it creates a great deficit in character, one we aim to fill by attempting to win the Social Game.
What I mean by this is that we derive our value from things that are outside of ourselves. Either we quantify the value of our lives in how people view us or we seek pleasures to satisfy the longing of the soul. Both routes are are ultimately unsatisfactory. Firstly when we depend on external circumstances to dictate how we feel, we are no longer in control of ourselves. Any feeling you have, any thought you have has root in the mind, so then if external circumstances inspire a thought or feeling you can investigate it, and if it serves no function, if it not amicable in nature, you may simply pluck it from the realm of your mind like a weed from a garden. There is no reason to ever experience discourse.
Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.
—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Soon this process becomes autonomous, you operate on such a capacity where you no longer entertainment anxiety or fear because you understand you are always in control of yourself. So then when you reach this state others look upon you and wonder where this serenity arises from because thier lives are turbulent. They live not for themselves, but for the identity of thier ideal self. The one that is respected, the one who is shrouded in fame and recognized by others, the one that is beautiful. They create a fantasy they aspire to fulfil and forever envy those who embody this ideal self. For in the social game there are winners and there are losers and one cannot exist without the other. So then for people to win this game others must lose and this creates a cycle of hatred. It's only when you can recognize that you are equal, that you are the same, that you can stop competing in this game. For what are other people. All us are simply matter. However the key thing to note is our function. We are in essence the universe consciously experiencing itself. And once you can wrap you mind around this, the trivialities of life fall around and you laugh at things where people would normally be tremendously upset. This is because at this point you are awake. This feeling never goes away and shines down upon you with the same magnitude and intensity as the light that radiates from the sun. So then all other earthy attachment, all other sources of inspiration pale in comparison, as Seneca says, they are like lowly flickers of a candle in the presence of the Sun.
So then the other refuge people take value in is pleasure. The momentary ecstasy that stimulates the body. But this pursuit of pleasure is highly dysfunctional. Firstly it is like chasing a fleeting image. You are constantly on the hunt for opportunities to feel, your life purpose becomes to chase what you can never really have because pleasure does not last, it has no permanence. Furthermore oftentimes the pursuit of pleasure brings great pain, and only through the medium of this pain can we enjoy pleasure, the one qualifies the other just as the winners and losers. As you can see this pattern, this tendency for duality in experience is what constitutes suffering. This type of existence is like the oscillation of two waves. Being of opposite frequencies the waves interfere with each other. Where the troughs of one hit the crests of the other leaving you with nothing. No substance.
Once you can disown the social game the you truly have the potential to live and more than that, you radiate life. You become a source of abounding energy. A beacon of light for those still in darkness.