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Depth In Simplicity -- Insights From Coin Tossing

Updated: Apr 17

During my time as a child, there was a mini-game in one of my favorite video games -- a coin toss game, and the music theme that accompanied that game was called "Depth in Simplicity". One might think to themselves, What depth is there in such a simple game, such as a coin toss; Obviously, in order to win a coin toss game, you need luck, which is the most simple element when it comes to playing games, simply because it's the one thing that is beyond your control.

However, as I played it more and more, I realized that in order to win a coin toss game, there are some tactics involved, at least in the mini-game I was playing. Hit the timing right, and you'll overcome your foe. Master the art of timing, and you'll win some good gambling money from him. And indeed, it gradually became my second-favorite minigame in that video game, simply because of the timing involved. It is a matter of patience and striking when the time is right. Miss a second or two and you'll lose both to your opponent -- and your hard-earned money (there was no real-money involved).

This simple coin toss game has taught me the wonders of simplicity, and that simplicity, too, is something that can be mastered. Let us not confuse it with primitivity, however, as the latter is about a lack of depth, while in simplicity there could indeed be some depth. A "primitive" coin toss player will not, or will hardly, understand the ways such games can be exploited. They will not understand the timing, the patience, and might even quit fairly quickly, should they lose more than they should.

And gradually, perhaps unconsciously, I built my life around the simplicity of my childhood, to the point that the only difference between the adult me and the child me, is the fact that I have my own money and that I am a philosopher/writer. I've listened to my noisy neighbors throughout the times I moved apartments, and I've experienced their suffering as if it were my own. I've looked at bored students at school and their frustrated teachers, and gradually realized that this world is too complex for its own good!

We have a saying in Hebrew: "With more possessions come more worries," and indeed, as I've lived in the external world against my will, I've seen how futile all the stress and all the frustration seem to be, in a world that is practically built on complexities. We also say that "children are happiness" in our native tongue, but for the most part, I've mostly seen them and their parents crying and yelling at each other.

And it was only in my simple solitude that I experienced a certain feeling that was unmatched throughout all my experiences in the external world -- the one I used to call "solitarus", or a general love for existence, gained by being in solitude for the long term.

And then came Quora and the comments of those who were furious at me for speaking out my thoughts -- they are yet another example of people who make themselves miserable over the uncontrollable. To this day, I fail to understand those who consciously choose to be angry, to be triggered, to be hateful and stressed, and not choose the path of harmony and serenity, which is far more rewarding.

When I played the coin toss game on my old console, I also realized this: The importance of keeping your head cool. Be too passionate, and you will miss the time when your side of the coin will eventually land! It is a game that encourages you to be cool, yet steady, to the point that it becomes second nature. Only those who are relaxed and concentrated will get the side of the coin of their choosing.

Although it matters that the opponent does, it matters little as you can't do anything to prevent his own result. Even if he is a good player, at least you can try to get a tie and not lose your money. Therefore, why worry about your opponent, when the best you can do is not lose?

So, not only does this simple game teach you to be cool and concentrated, it also teaches you to aim to be positive, because the more negative you feel, the more likely it is that you will lose your money to your superior opponent.

In the larger game, the name of your opponent is Igor, and he is one of the many unnecessary characters in the game that you must recruit in order to get the good ending of that game. His main function is to open the coin-toss minigame in your base, which thus led me to write this article. So, thank you, Igor; your coins taught me a lot, even if you believed you had little use in my army (which you did initially).

"Mr. Tom? Well, I think he could come by to relax more often. It seems to me that he is ever so tired."

Igor, from Suikoden IV

Who said fun must involve frustration and stress? We're playing games to have a good time, aren't we? And if a game makes us suffer more than enjoy it, why play it? The same applies to anything in life as well; life doesn't have to be that complicated, and even in simplicity, one may find depth.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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