‘Nerve’ is, (for now at least, thank goodness) a fictitious phone app game from the dark web. There are two ways to participate – as a watcher or player. The first decides and sees the latter live out increasingly outrageous dares in real life. If they succeed, the monetary reward increases. It is easy to imagine how addictive it can become for adrenaline junkies – as both watchers and players. While this might sound fun at first, it is also easy to imagine how things can soon get out of hand.
While time-limited dares ‘urge’ players to decisively step out of their comfort zones, they are also tempted to enter danger zones for instant fame and quick fortune. With dares being simple at first, players’ confidence build up, as the dares become more risky – even to the extent of being criminal, leading to the breaking of major precepts. With bailing out equal to losing all the money, players struggle between giving in to deluded greed versus wise relinquishment before it is too late.
With the game kept alive by cheering watchers and sporting players alike, all become guilty, potential accomplices in crime, and in the life or death of players and those their dares might affect. The gamemaster might be seen to have the ultimate responsibility, but is this administrator the true puppetmaster, who plays both watchers and players? The truth is, all involved are puppeted by their own greed and delusion, and have the power to snap out of the game if mindful of the consequences. Are you a watcher or player in real life? Do you have the nerve – to do what is right?