Thinking about bardo and my constant rebirth, made me reflect upon what are the lives I most commonly embody. I definitely embody, from time to time, each of them with exception of the animal, as that side still lies buried deep. I do think hungry ghost is the one that I visit more often than others. I can get very excited about things and binge on material and immaterial goods. The other day, in a different context, I was thinking about myself being a Pac-Man, walking mazes, swallowing everything on the way and running away from ghosts. Contemplating about being a hungry ghost stuck in bardo, Pac-Man came to mind once again.
Pac-Man is an iconic, simple, yet existentially layered game. Pac-Man is the main character, a yellow circle, quarter of whom is a hungry mouth mostly eating dots, with the exception of some rare occasions to diversify her diet, bringing disruption in the order of things. To add some challenge to Pac-Man’s existence, she is constantly chased by four ghosts which try to catch her and stop her mindless consumption.
Sometimes Pac-Man gets to take a magic pill which gives her the power to reverse the order of things, chase ghosts instead of being afraid. These sublime moments of complete freedom are only happening for a short period of time, though. Everything always goes back to normal. Compared to the ghosts, Pac-Man has much more clear, one-sided personality with a clear purpose. She must eat and avoid ghosts. Hungry for life while taking care about her survival. Ghosts, on the other side, are more complex creatures - they have four different personalities and different behaviours. Their behaviour is unpredictable and sneaky, unless we study how they move, develop our Pac-Man intellect and become an active part of the system.
The ghosts’ personalities are: Shadow - the energetic chaser, Speedy - who takes you by surprise, Bashful - the reserved and shy one and Pokey, who pretends to be not interested. There are also different behaviour that ghosts can have - they chase, scatter and are frightened. When I was refreshing my memory of the game, I felt greater connection to the ghosts, they seemed more honest and relatable creatures. I definitely felt myself as a Pac-Man, being trapped in a system, consuming, filling up my belly. The inevitability of the predetermined role and restriction of free movement suffocates me, but these feelings also move me to look for the ghosts and get in touch with them. The ghosts facilitate rebirth and the possibility to get out of the trap, the vicious circle of the preconditioned maze. With every death, a hope for different life arises. In the Pac-Man game there is no happy ending, the ever-hungry yellow circle with a giant mouth is reborn in the same life misery. Live to eat and run away from the ghosts. I am fantasising about a different scenario, though - allowing the ghosts to eat me for real, so I never have to go back to the maze filled with tasteless coins.