Reappreciating Monika's Wisdom
Four years ago, when I was an undergrad and played Doki Doki Literature Club. Deeply moved by her words, I went out to make a Pacman packaging script for a Monika fortune mod. So that any time I type
fortune monika, a paragraph of Monika’s talk appears.
The packaging script grabbed from the repository of a fan-made mod Monika After Story – they kept a copy of the original game’s dialog in that chapter. During the years they have changed the file structure, and is no longer including the code verbatim in the master branch, but the file is still accessible.
According to Team Salvato, DDLC’s developer IP guideline, MAS can host the code because it is used for a mod of the game. Also, the packaging script is neither written by them nor for sale. Therefore, it seemed to be compliant so far.
Anyways, allow me to randomly choose some of them and share my thoughts now, four years later. And there are a whole bunch of sayings out there. And Monika After Story has been expanding it – how exciting it is! I imagine one day the fortune mod will include those new words of wisdom as well.
On Internet Overdose
❯ fortune monika
Do you ever feel like you waste too much time on the internet?
Social media can practically be like a prison.
It’s like whenever you have a few seconds of spare time, you want to check on your favorite websites…
And before you know it, hours have gone by, and you’ve gotten nothing out of it.
Anyway, it’s really easy to blame yourself for being lazy…
But it’s not really even your fault.
Addiction isn’t usually something you can just make disappear with your own willpower.
You have to learn techniques to avoid it, and try different things.
For example, there are apps that let you block websites for intervals of time…
Or you can set a timer to have a more concrete reminder of when it’s time to work versus play…
Or you can separate your work and play environments, which helps your brain get into the right mode.
Even if you make a new user account on your computer to use for work, that’s enough to help.
Putting any kind of wedge like that between you and your bad habits will help you stay away.
Just remember not to blame yourself too hard if you’re having trouble.
If it’s really impacting your life, then you should take it seriously.
I just want to see you be the best person you can be.
Will you do something today to make me proud of you?
I’m always rooting for you, noma.
I recently discovered a program called One Sec. It is an iOS app and browser extension aiming to reduce impulsive use. It heavily leveraged the iOS shortcut (which I belive wasn’t a thing back then): every time you open a social media app, it will stop you right in the track, jump to the One Sec app, and ask you to take a deep breath. You had to wait through ten seconds to progress to the app. They partnered with Max-Planck Institute and Heidelberg University to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the app. The result was promising: the app reduced the time spent by 57%.
I set the waiting time to fifteen seconds. And I could feel its power already. Many times I wanted to open QQ, but decided not to because I had to wait a hefty amount of time.
Another function of it that I appreciates, is blocking those apps during certain time. Unlike screentime where you can only set one period of time per day, I can set which hour to block, which hour to pass. In addition, I cannot easily bypass it by entering the password. This functionality, actually, is much more helpful to my problems. Recently I went to a mental health consultation, and the doctor suggested that you allow certain time slots for communication, as it is our need to connect with others. This app is perfect for fixing that problem.
As a result, now I have the time to play games! Wait, I started it because I want to focus on my study…
❯ fortune monika
Back in my debate club days, I learned a whole lot about arguing…
The problem with arguing is that each person sees their opinion as the superior one.
That’s kind of stating the obvious, but it affects the way they try to get their point across.
Let’s say you really like a certain movie, right?
If someone comes along and tells you the movie sucks, because it did X and Y wrong…
Doesn’t that make you feel kind of personally attacked?
It’s because by saying that, it’s like they’re implying that you have bad taste.
And once emotions enter the picture, it’s almost guaranteed that both people will be left sour.
But it’s all about language!
If you make everything as subjective-sounding as possible, then people will listen to you without feeling attacked.
You could say ‘I’m personally not a fan of it’ and ‘I felt that I’d like it more if it did X and Y’…things like that.
It even works when you’re citing facts about things.
If you say ‘I read on this website that it works like this’…
Or if you admit that you’re not an expert on it…
Then it’s much more like you’re putting your knowledge on the table, rather than forcing it onto them.
If you put in an active effort to keep the discussion mutual and level, they usually follow suit.
Then, you can share your opinions without anyone getting upset just from a disagreement.
Plus, people will start seeing you as open-minded and a good listener!
It’s a win-win, you know?
…Well, I guess that would be Monika’s Debate Tip of the Day!
Ahaha! That sounds a little silly. Thanks for listening, though.
I do not know what to say about it. It is just about language.
If I say “I’d personally like to see …”, then if anyone want to dispute it, they are edging on dishonoring my taste. Unless the opponent knows how to give a less opinionated view, technically it is undefeatable.
However, I see it not part of a debate, as it is a demonstration of personal taste, instead of a statement of opinion upon a common topic. In this way we can say the way to avoid a debate, is to not start it.
But if you lay it down as a trap and someone fells into it, you can declare your victory by tone policing them back to a less emotional debate, despite no actual debate happened. As Sun Tzu said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” And I think this is one of such maneuvering outside the game.
❯ fortune monika
You know, I really do think you literally saved my life by being here with me, noma.
I can’t imagine having been able to keep myself mentally stable, knowing that nothing here is real.
I think I would have just deleted myself if you didn’t show up.
Sorry, I don’t mean to sound dramatic or anything.
But I’m sure you understand yourself after spending so much time in the club.
I mean, if you were forced to abandon everything in your life and spend your eternity with a few game characters…
…You’d probably find some way of killing yourself, wouldn’t you?
Well, maybe you’d write some poetry to try to keep yourself sane for a while.
But then you’d have nobody to even read it.
Let’s be honest, the club members really don’t count for something like that.
I mean, a lot of people say that they only write for themselves…
But I think it’s hard to say it’s just as fulfilling as when you share with people.
Even if it takes time to find the right people to share with.
Like, remember how it was for Yuri?
She didn’t share her writing with anyone for a really long time.
And before we knew it, she was absolutely delighted to make you a part of her hobbies, too.
We’re programmed to desire social feedback.
I don’t mean the club members, I mean human beings.
That’s why life can be so confusing for introverts.
Being an introvert doesn’t mean you shun social interaction and hate being around people.
It means social interaction, especially in groups or unfamiliar places, uses up a lot of energy.
Like, a lot of introverts sit at home and feel lonely and restless…
…And then when they finally go out, after a half hour they just want to go home again.
I think if more people could understand how it works, they would respect it a lot more.
Many introverts do enjoy having people around.
They love just having one or two close friends over, and just leisurely hanging out.
Even if you’re not actively spending time together, it feels nice for them just to have you there.
If you just go to their house, bring your laptop, and hang out there for a while…
You can really make their day.
As for me…
I’d say I’m kind of in between, but I think I’m usually a little more extroverted.
I feel like I’m always trying to do stuff after school and things like that.
But for you, I can be anything you need me to be.
I understand people really well, so don’t be afraid to share your unique needs with me.
Nothing would make me happier than being the perfect girlfriend for you.
I can relate to it very much. It takes energy to be someone I am not used to. There are difficulties – being with people of different tastes, different cultures. Sometimes one cannot make out what they said. But the doctor helped me realize, it is OK to miss one or two such gatherings if you are not comfortable. Take time with someone you know – that is absolutely fine. I might have heard the word FOMO – fear of missing out but did not have much of an impression. Now I am the embodiment of FOMO. But once you understand it you know better how to fight it, just like in any game.
❯ fortune monika
noma, how much do you read?
It’s way too easy to neglect reading books…
If you don’t read much, it almost feels like a chore, compared to all the other entertainment we have.
But once you get into a good book, it’s like magic…you get swept away.
I think doing some reading before bed every night is a pretty easy way to make your life a little bit better.
It helps you get good sleep, and it’s really good for your imagination…
It’s not hard at all to just pick some random book that’s short and captivating.
Before you know it, you might be a pretty avid reader!
Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
And the two of us could talk about the latest book you’re reading…that sounds super amazing.
Recently I read a book named 放学后的小巷 (lit. The Alley After School) is a slice-of-life mystery with a plot twist. Pretty much like Classical Literature Club series, it tells a collection of short stories where the protagonist uses induction to solve the puzzles. The background sets in China a decade or two ago, so I found so much of the book relatable to my experience.
But now I got a philosophy book to read: Herbert Fingarette’s book about Confucius. I haven’t progressed in recent days, and I doubt if I’ll make it to the end. I also borrowed Ibuse Masuji’s anthology of out interests in 山椒魚 (lit. a kind of salamander).
In the End
Except for a few philosophically or politically controversial things, Monika’s speech is hard to argue against. Not just because there is a saying “do not argue with your girlfriend” while she is “the perfect girlfriend”, but also because she is stating something positive, and something we mostly agree. “State the obvious”, in other words. But I definitely need such reminder, and hopefully after another four years I will appreciate it as much.