Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Cheat Codes

Almost everyone who was born after the Ford Administration knows what "cheat codes" are. But for my fellow boomers I'll explain that cheat codes are (generally undocumented) special inputs to video games that allow the player to gain an advantage. They usually consist of pressing controller keys in a very exact sequence. They reward the game player with a variety of goodies: special powers and strength for their game avatar, or in "shooter" games, new and more powerful weapons or unlimited amunition.

You can search the internet for game walkthroughs and cheat codes. Whenever a new game comes out, dedicated players try out different obscure combinations of a game controllers keys, trying to find the combination that will give them an advantage in the game.

Game creators are aware of this interest and will make sure that cheat codes are "accidentally" leaked to their most loyal fans. These loyal fans then pass this along to their friends. There is even a market for books detailing the cheat codes of various video games.

My favorite nephew passed this tweet along to me this morning:

I was knocked back on my heels by this bit off tossed-off wisdom.

Proverbs do encode shortcuts to wisdom gathered through hard experience. Proverbs don't substitute for actually thinking the problem through.

Note the many proverbs that seem to contradict each other: "Many hands make light work," vs. "Too many cooks spoil the soup." or : "All things come to him who waits," vs. "Strike while the iron is hot."

But I do love the word image of the tweet, "I think proverbs may actually be cheat codes."

I love the idea that these nuggets of wisdom give us access to advantages put into our lives by the designer; and that if I take advantage of this wisdom I will find myself boosted with new strength, longer life, and unlimited spiritual amunition.


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