The last days in Montreal were extremely cold, and my last day (yesterday) was even snowing!
Important note: I wrote this post in Winter of 2019, but I forgot to publish it as I believe I wrote this while on the flight back to Phoenix from Montreal. Publishing it now, as I discovered it in a word file tucked away in a folder on my computer!
When I met with a friend to hangout, we were
originally planning on walking around, but instead we decided to walk through a
casino- free cover, free coat check, etc. just to see what it’s like.
This was actually a very shocking and eye-opening
experience and has made me question a lot of what I think to be true in my own
Here is the walk in the casino…
The casino was HUGE. It was filled with slot machine
games, where you pull a lever down a press a button and hope to get 3 in a row
or something like that. There weren’t many poker tables.
These slot machine games were quite flashy, with
colors all over the place. Some of them had names of popular movies or games. I
didn’t realize they gamified it so much, making it seem as if you actually are
contributing in some way.
I think the casino was huge and filled with endless
turns and lights to confuse you so that it would become harder to leave. There
were several layers, rooms, etc. When we finally wanted to leave there was no
The people who played the slot machine games were
primarily the elderly, along with some middle-age and even youthful-looking people;
however the primary demographic was older people. The middle-age & younger
slot machine players were not dressed well.
The experience was horrifying not because of the
morality of casinos or the fact that these games exist.
It was horrifying because of the people who played.
The vibe of the place was… dark. I could feel the pull on me of “what if you
win and you can win millions, and then that’ll be it!” It almost felt like being in this artificially
exciting area was productive!
I would often stare and watch people as they played
the slot machines. They threw away hundreds and thousands of dollars with each
pull of the lever. Their faces looked blank, as they stared at the screen.
Occasionally I caught myself staring at the screen
also. I think they’re designed to put you in a “derp state,” kind of like TV,
except even worse than TV because you’re actively (or passively?) giving up
thousands of dollars.
The faces of those glued to the machines horrified
me most of all. It showed me what I didn’t want in life, which is so important
in determining what you DO want.
Was it so that these elderly couples had NOTHING to
do all day but gamble away their life’s savings? There’s no way that everyone
in the casino was rich and playing for entertainment’s sake. I caught the vibe
that people were trapped in a vicious cycle, playing the game over and over
hoping to be “the one who wins.”
Perhaps they even believe that if they play long
enough, and give in enough money, that eventually they will win! The occasional
small wins don’t help because it reinforces the possibility- a lie which is
being sold to everyone in the casino.
Every face glued on the slot machine was blanker
than the typical pedestrian on the street. Look into people’s eyes as you walk
about in public, and you will see that some people have a “glow” whereas others
have become dull and bored with life.
The people in this casino were “more far gone,” if
you will. I don’t really know how to explain it with words, as I’m still
processing the emotions. You’d have to walk into a casino to understand- just
don’t get tempted by the lights & noises and signs everywhere reminding you
that YOU could be the one to “win.”
After the horrors of the slot machines, I went over
to the poker areas. The poker tables had faces much more alive (albeit not by
much), though I still got a bit of a hostile, negative vibe. I think people
were concerned me & my friend were spies for someone else, so everyone gave
extremely aggressive stares when we observed.
The blackjack tables were the best, perhaps because
it involved actual conscious thought AND people were competing against the
casino, NOT each other. I saw only 2 people with faces that appeared alive,
however they also won 5 blackjack games in a row.
Still the vast majority of players were “durrrrr,”
derped out, and mindlessly playing and playing.
I just… don’t understand, why? Why not go play black
jack or poker with some chips with your buddies? In the minimum $20 black jack
table, I was surprised to watch people bet $20 OVER AND OVER like it was
You might argue that people can do what they want,
and I’d agree, but you won’t understand until you’ve watched people but
hundreds (and thousands) on the table just to lose it in the course of minutes.
The customers at this casino were, forgive me for
saying this, perhaps not so conscious of even what was going on- dare I say
monkey-like? This may be why you play with chips instead of cash- to prevent
you from realizing just how much money you’re losing.
Everything in the casino was designed to keep you
there. The music was good, but I think that the tempo was slowed down, which
means the song plays just a bit slower than normal which has been
scientifically proven to make people walk & do things slower. I used to be
a musician so I’m a bit more attuned to this.
I felt bad for the people at the casino. For
whatever reason, they were giving away countless dollars for nothing, and it
didn’t even look like they were enjoying it. If you truly love casinos, great;
but I don’t think these people are even aware of what’s happening. Either that
or they have nothing better to do with their life.
Money, Where, Why???
At some game table, I watched an old man put
shocking amounts of money on the board over and over. He won some, lost some,
and I think he was breaking even or maybe losing a tiny amount.
I had figured out what each chip represents in terms
of cash, and I was astonished he was so easily putting this on the board and
losing the money without blinking an eye. Was this man rich, and just enjoying
it, or was he gambling away his life’s savings? I think not rich; otherwise I
doubt you’d be foolish enough to play a game you can’t win.
Each chip was about $25 (I think, or $50) which
means that 2 chips was $50. He was regularly putting in 1-2 chips per game.
Each game is 1-2 minutes.
Let’s say this man was educated, and so we could
guess he made in his life about $50 per hour while working. This means that he
was regularly putting on the table about an hour of his life.
That is also is what is so shocking: if you convert
the monetary value to time, you realize that people are putting down on the
board ENTIRE WORK-WEEKS worth of TIME!
I’m certain many of these old people gambling were
just using their life’s savings to play in the casino, so not only did they
waste their life in the 9-5 grind, they also THREW AWAY the entire work week in
the casino in the course of a couple hours.
How could you justify throwing away so much money,
when it took you so long and so hard just to get it in the first place???
Away Your Life for Money
I think that people like him just saved up their
whole life to retire, and then realized they had nothing to do all day and so
gamble it away in hopes of winning more money.
These people have unfortunately become so
disconnected from reality they think that “Money” actually matters… it doesn’t.
Freedom does- and money is one aspect of freedom. For example, I am sure most
people in the casino have a higher net worth than me, but I’m also the only
person to have gone on a world travel adventure (excluding that one other
I see on Reddit a lot and other places this mentality
of “save money until retirement.” The problem is people get so obsessed with
“money” they don’t know what they want to do with it when they finally retire.
Do you want to sky dive, adventure, etc.?
The more you wait to make your dreams a reality, the
harder it is to go chase them, and the more disconnected you become from it. I
always wanted to visit & explore Asia and the longer I went without
focusing on it the more it ate away at me.
Even now I have my doubts about whether I should go
straight to Asia or return to Bulgaria to enjoy company with friends as I’m
still heartbroken, but I’m getting tired of making excuses not to go to Asia,
which is why I might just go even if it makes better logic sense to hit Europe
The casino players have traded their life for money,
and so it’s the last thing they have, at least I think. Either that or everyone
is in debt. One way or another, something is going on but the look on their
faces as they mindlessly “durrrr” away their time and money is a wakeup call.
I was watching one young middle-age man on a slot
machine in shock: he must’ve been in his early 30’s, and yet there he was, on
the slot machine, mindlessly pulling the lever and pushing a button over and over
to keep gambling away money.
Retired people about to die giving up their money in
a casino is maybe understandable, but I absolutely can’t understand how anyone
in their early 30’s would want to waste so much money on a game they know deep
down they can’t win.
Suddenly, a thought arose: THIS IS ME!!!
How is derping on Reddit, or seeking achievement
through video games, or browsing YouTube ANY DIFFERENT than the lost souls in
The only difference between my vices and theirs is
that they are giving up time AND money, whereas I’m just giving up time. Of
course video games do cost something, but in 2018 I think I only spent
$100-$200 in the entire year on video games.
However, it still makes me just as much a mindless
derp to waste my time on those things as it does those who waste their life in
a casino. They think they’re winning money, whereas I feel like I’m actually
doing something- as if clearing another outpost in Far Cry 4 or winning an
intense match on CS:GO actually matters.
And sometimes, I get REALLY into it. I’ve been
matched with teams in CS:GO that have been very positive and uplifting, but
we’ve also been matched with a very competitive enemy. We have had games where
we are down 5 or more and then come back just barely, and it feels amazing.
I’ve also had games with toxic teammates, who made
me feel like shit, and enemies who hacked and games that were overall just
boring or annoying. It’s kind of up to luck, JUST LIKE CASINOS.
I’m not saying everyone should give up video games,
or that they’re even evil, because there are obviously degrees to which you
should allow yourself a “derp” state. Consciously scheduling in 1 hour every
other day to play some video games is probably okay. Also, it’s quite fun when
you make it a social event with friends. Playing alone for extended periods of
time is where things get dangerous, which is what I used to do when I was a
Reddit though? That’s an absolute vice. There’s hardly
useful information, it’s LUCK based on whether you get positive responses or
not, and same thing: it puts you into a mindless, endless derp state.
Now Reddit does have some positive qualities, such
as the ability to ask for relationship advice or seek general advice on
specific things that Google might not easily be there for you.
& Life Reflection
Walking through the casino made me really reflect on
humanity, life, where I want to go, and where I’m at currently.
We can judge the casino players all we want, but
wasting time makes you no more the wiser- you just lose a little less money.
I think that there are “degrees of derp,” with
casino addicts being some of the worst derps and Reddit users a very minor
derp. In the end though, you’re still wasting precious time in a state which
isn’t exactly fulfilling, which isn’t productive, and which doesn’t net you
anything positive (usually).
Most internet tools are now used completely
mindlessly. For example I’d never remove Facebook because the groups, messages,
and friends list are so vital, but I also don’t derp on the feed.
The whole experience was a wakeup call to analyze
myself and see where I’m a derp because the last thing I want for my life is to
look back on missed dreams, or worse derp down to the point of a casino player.
I really need to cut Reddit, YouTube, and video
games. Having done so in the past, I can say that it’s hard because with the
extra free time you suddenly don’t know what to do with your life.
You actually have to TRY to socialize, you actually
have to confront your short-comings, you actually have to see yourself as you
are… and it’s a ton easier to stay in that sweet, sweet comfort zone away from
all that thinking.
are still apes
We think we are so evolved, and do experiments on
apes where they see flashing lights and buttons and press things and we act
like we’re so advanced.
Are we really? We are still fundamentally apes. We
just have a little extra frosting on top.
We waste our time on the internet, we enter derp
states on TV, we gamble away our money, and we have silly political fights that
go absolutely nowhere.
One day future generations, assuming they can
successfully evolve past this state, will look back upon us with disgust, just
as we look at apes with a slight aura of superiority and disgust. “Look at
these stupid humans,” they will exclaim!
“We can teach them how to play a slot machine LOL,”
they will laugh. Or perhaps they’ll hand a captured human a modern phone and
giggle as the human forgets all aspects of reality in favor of the magical
Sure, we’re a bit more evolved. Don’t be egoistic
though. We are still very primal. Our brains have yet to catch up to this
fascinating new world, and until it does, there will be countless mind trips to
pull you into derp states, suck your time, energy, and wealth.
I don’t know how possible it is to stay awake, but I
know I’d like to try. I already have noticed a slight decrease in attention
span & focus ability in myself over the past couple years, and that’s
REALLY scary. I went from 18 to 20, so it’s not like I “aged.”
In fact, I almost wonder if attention spans can
remain the same (or improve) as you get older but because we stop studying and
growing (and you know technology) our attention spans get worse… I’ve met some
very brilliant old people, however they’re incredibly rare. Most would rather
derp into bitterness and old age.
How can you prevent the derp states?