Re: virus: The game of life

John ''I Take Large Steps'' Williams (
Sat, 12 Jul 1997 07:20:33 -0400

[Bear with me; I seem to have misplaced responses to my questions; I
remember what they said, I just can't quote directly.]

I'm in a hurry; this has been condensed and may be difficult for anyone but
me to follow. Please comment and I'll respond Sunday evening/Monday

So far, it appears we've concluded the following about the "games" of life.
Correct me on these if I'm wrong; as usual, I'm restating the arguments so
insure I understand them, not to straw-man them.

1) "Games" can be considered as "directed human activity." The forms in
which they are defined are similar to literary themes ("the game of Human
against Human", "the game of Human against Nature"), although more
specifically they can be defined as the persuing of a *particular*
activity, goal, or philosophy: "the Game of Capitalism." "The Game of

2) These "games" can not be avoided.

3) People ought to choose these games intellegently.

4) Whether a game is good or bad is left up to the person playing.

I asked these questions so I could see where people were coming from, not
so I could attack. :-)

I'd like to add to this. I posit that there are many games, played on many
levels. I'll break them into three:

1) Personal games, played by individuals
2) Community games, played by groups of individuals
3) Existance games, played by groups of communities

Now, as for the "normative" stuff:

Eric, I think you're right to a certain extent that what is "good" for you
determines what games are good/bad. I think, however, that you also need to
consider good/bad on something else, in addition to an individual's
preference/memespace. First: does this negatively impact individual
survival? (If it does, is it worth it?) Also: does this negatively impact
survival of the community? (If it does, is it worth it?) And: Does this
negatively impact existance?

Note that this makes the "game of nuclear armageddon" "bad."

Then, one must ask whether this game interferes negatively in other games
of self, community, and existence.

How one answers these questions both determines and betrays what games the
answerer is already playing. (Likewise, how you interpret other's games
betrays your own. You cannot say something about something without saying
something about yourself.)

Although "are any games good and bad" is a normative question, I don't
think it's an inappropriate one, especially here. Games include many maxims
on what has value, what has no value, and what has negative value. These
are memes, and they are the playground of memes.

Secondly, though normative, there are some games which are widely held to
be "bad" because they are believed to have negative impact on games of
community and games of existence. Here are examples. Sorting is left as an

* the game of genocide
* the game of exploitation of people
* the game of raping small children
* the game of knocking people's heads in
* the game of grabbing territory by force
* the game of blowing people up

Can you think of situations where these games *are* appropriate? For many
of these, I can...

-- John "The game of leaving in 20 minutes" Williams

[1]Not the *actual* game of _Aquisition_, which is a board game.
John Williams            ICQ Address: 1213689
                 "See my loafers?  Former gophers!"
     Various Artists: Raising the Tide of Mediocrity for Two Years