More on Games

I have mentioned games several times in these posts

I wrote recently of “How to Play Like a Child.

And along with that, an article on “Suppressive Games.”

I don’t know if I’ve made it clear before that this is a subject in Scientology, and as such has some special terminology when referred to that way.

“Game Theory” is also a subject in the social sciences, used in economics and political science in particular, that uses a special mathematics to model how people interact in complex situations. I am not referring to this modeling system here.

“Game” can be used to describe almost any interaction where some goal is involved, and there is some question whether or not the goal can be achieved, because both freedoms and barriers exist in obtaining that goal.

The classic example of a game is a sports game. In sports, the primary barriers to success are provided by the opposing player or team. However, you can play a game alone where all the barriers are either internal or environmental. And more complex games can have multiple players or teams with differing goals and strategies.

Life is a Game

The most basic observation about games is that every living being plays them. One could almost say that the basic purpose of life is to play.

From a more esoteric or spiritual point of view, some explanation like this becomes necessary, as otherwise, one is likely to wonder why we are here and why all this “stuff” we are surrounded with was brought into existence. The only real answer seems to be: To have a game.

Once this fundamental is established, the next question becomes: What are the factors that determine choice of games and skill in play? These are the factors of life. It is not important here to enumerate all of them, but only to observe that people seem to have considerations about which games they can play, which games they want to play, and which games they would rather avoid. And that these considerations don’t always seem to make that much sense.

While it would be obvious why one would shy away from a game that one is physically unable to play or sees as too dangerous, why don’t I like card games? I have no particular rational explanation for my peculiar likes and dislikes regarding games.

Beyond that, some beings, often judged by others to be a little mad, seem to be involved in games that absorb all their attention yet result in no useful outcome. Such as the troubled person who screams arguments at the sky, seeming to be reenacting some dialog or drama that only they are privy to.

An observation and its ramifications

What has been observed about people is that “any game is better than none.” Thus, if one falls out of a game or is pushed out, one will find another one to play. If one’s ability or confidence or courage deteriorate over time – or suddenly – one will simply find or invent some other game where one feels reasonably competent as a player.

Because of these dynamics and this observation, we can find games that seem more or less rational or sane.

One common example looks at what happens in many office situations. In this case, we have been exposed to a TV show which explores this is many ways, some fanciful and humorous, and some more serious.

Ideally, a business or production group would work together, similar to a sports team, to do better than or even defeat other groups or teams. Thus one musical group might attempt to become more popular than some other musical group,. One business might attempt to become more profitable than some other business, or provide a higher quality product for the same price. These are considered “healthy” or “sane” games.

But what if some or all of the group members feel inadequate or defeated in their ability to play? Will they necessarily give up and leave? Sometimes. But they are just as likely to invent less sane games to play within the group. And if the group operates too permissively or with lax ethical standards, such games can become the norm and seen as just a part of life. Like hell they are!

What do the less sane games look like? Gossiping about each other. Trying to tear down the boss instead of supporting them. Goofing off or going slow at work. Striking for higher wages when production levels would not make that affordable. Finding fault with fellow workers out of envy or jealousy or to hide one’s own sloth. Finding reasons why one is not as good at working as others, such as being part of an “oppressed minority” or having a “mental illness.” The bottom line is: Less sane games tend to tear down or weaken fellow team mates. Such games are suicidal for the group, as they threaten its ability to survive. Thus a group that has gone crazy in this way can only “survive” if it is supported on a charity basis, out of proportion to what it is actually producing.

Look at psychiatry for example.

In relationships

I don’t know about you, but I see a relationship between a man and a woman (or other combinations of friends) as a small production group or team who should be working together to create something special that is pro-survival for all concerned.

Besides the most obvious job of working together to raise their children, the married couples I know (including my own parents) worked together to varying degrees, either at a business or similar enterprise where they both actively participated, or by dividing up tasks in order to get more done.

When a couple or family begin to work against each other, either for internal reasons, or as a response to some external influence, their ability to survive as a couple or family decreases and may eventually end in divorce if not worse. The road to ruin often includes apparently unresolvable conflicts, finding fault with each other, suspicions of cheating or other bad activities, addiction, etc. It can include various forms of mental and physical abuse. It can get pretty bad.

The dating game seems to be one in which the two parties are expected to be in conflict. Though this may be the way it’s “supposed to be,” I have never really played this game and it seems strange if not kooky to me. Just because I don’t know a woman well doesn’t mean I want to approach her as if we are doing battle. Thus, I tell them I am looking for people to “do things with.” But most don’t seem to be able to fathom this. It’s is almost as if they are saying, “then, you don’t want to date?” What?

The above discussion, then, was promulgated by my observation of how people seemed to be interacting in this activity or game called “dating.”

I was not prepared for the degree of antagonism and anxiety I have experienced relating to this subject. And my considered opinion is that many if not most of these people require some sort of rehabilitation of their ability to play together before they would really be able to have a healthy relationship again. Two people “in love” means they are working together towards a common goal, doesn’t it? And more broadly, doesn’t mankind need this sort of attitude if we are to survive as a species?

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