You Are Protected. No Problems Detected.

Recently, I had Internet security software installed on my phone. Ever since, each and every time I press the button to activate my home screen, I am greeted with the following message (next to the green icon):

What an interesting couple of lines to take in numerous times a day! Knowing the power of advertising (and suggestion), I can’t help but wonder if, through enough repeated exposure, these words might infiltrate my subconscious to the point where I truly and unequivocally believed them.

Imagine! All of this time, I’ve been operating under the presumption that I am prone to an endless variety of potential illnesses, injuries, infringements, slights, accidents, insults, heartbreaks, disasters, travesties, and tragedies, when, all along, it turns out I have always and actually been completely protected. And those things I’ve considered to be “problems” have also been illusory, a mere matter of my own misperceptions, misinterpretations, and misjudgments. After all, from the perspective of Absolute Objectivity/Ultimate Reality, no problems can be detected.

Maybe life is just a simulation, a sort of high-tech virtual reality game. We believe our afflictions are real, and that danger (with death being the most extreme form of this) must be avoided at all costs. So we spend our time dodging as many bullets as we can, and clinging to as much “security” as possible, to prolong the length of a game that has to (by virtue of its program) end at one point or another. We strive to acquire as many points as we can while we’re playing, even though it’s pretty apparent they won’t mean anything once the game is done. When our avatar bites the dust the game, in fact, ends, but we (aside from maybe a blister or two, and/or some wounded pride) are fine. We are “protected”.

But what would be the point of such a virtual reality game? And why must we suffer so, believing that all of the sorrows and strife within it are truly problematic, if they really are not?

Well, what kind of game (worth playing) would not have obstacles, limitations, difficulties, and challenges to overcome? How engaging could it possibly be? And if you, the player, completely understood how the game worked, and knew exactly what to do in any one of a nearly unlimited number of scenarios, how much fun would it be? If you knew that it wasn’t “real” (and therefore, didn’t “matter”), how seriously would you take it? Would you give it your best?

Maybe better to ask yourself: how do I, as a player, approach this game? Do I enjoy it only if I “win”? Can I have fun while I’m learning how to play, even if I initially suck at it? Can I enjoy the process of fumbling through it, of learning as I go, of having an experience for its own sake?

Maybe a game such as this has no purpose other than to choose your own adventures and to connect with other players and the virtual world itself. Maybe the only real point is to, in the course of the game’s multitudinous challenges, develop certain character traits: patience, determination, wonder, courage, compassion, grit, appreciativeness, resilience, acceptance, creativity, generosity, and trust, for instance. And to have fun. A game should be fun.

When the game is over, maybe you get to play again. Maybe not. But, since it’s a game, and one that doesn’t last long at all in the scheme of things, maybe none of its dangers or problems are significant (at least not by the standards of Ultimate Reality). Maybe, as compellingly real as these dangers and problems seem while you are playing, they were all just built into the game to make it engaging, challenging, thrilling, and an experience worth having.

Maybe, if you stepped outside of the game long enough and looked at the program, you would find a message encoded within that reassured you:

“You are protected. No problems detected.”

Originally published at on May 26, 2015.



Personal coach, plus: writer, podcast host, musician, philosopher, outdoors enthusiast, biped.

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Eric Teplitz

Personal coach, plus: writer, podcast host, musician, philosopher, outdoors enthusiast, biped.