Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Game Board

Rules Activity governed by a specific set of rules is a game. This is no to imply that all of our activities are just trivial and frivolous; rather, the word is used with its widest possible connotation: our social activities are games in the sense that they depend upon rules which in turn always rest upon certain distinctions. Draw a distinction between the all-saving God and the all-sin-full man, and this will lead to a rule that man can be saved only by getting in touch with God; this is the Religion Game. Draw a distinction between valuable success and humiliating failure, and this will lead to a rule that to be valuable one must avoid failure; this is the Competition Game. In a word distinctions lead to rules which in turn form games.

The point of all of this will be glaringly obvious if we now ask a simple question: what happens if we draw inappropriate distinctions? Straightforwardly, an inappropriate distinction can lead to contradictory or paradoxical rules which in turn can lead to self-defeating and frustrating games. And a society built on such self-defeating games is an ideal breeding ground for neuroses and psychoses. That is, the distinction, rules, and games of a society can themselves be concealed contradictions and paradoxes, so that trying to act upon them places the double-bind on us all, for this type of game has rules that insure that we will never win the game!


Ken Wilbur in his 1977 book, Spectrum of Consciousness is explaining that our beliefs create the game board of life. The distinctions we form within our beliefs create the rules we live by. If our distinctions are inappropriate, the rules can be distorted, but we still believe them to be true. Our distinctions and the perceptions that form from our beliefs dominate our reality. We would not follow a certain religion if we perceived it to be fake, but the distinction of it being a religion might convince us it is not fake. We get caught in the paradox of conflicting associations that fill our belief structure.

In the game of life, we expand from each distinction and learn from each perception. We tune into our core beliefs and understand the paradox of not understanding. Our beliefs are compounded by objective influences as well as subjective suggestions. We move through the game board and pass through each moment to feel the value of physical distinctions, and the rules that create a game we always win even when we don’t realize we are winning.

No comments: