5. Learning to Play Games and Understanding How The World Actually Works

Hello and greetings everyone. I’m back after a long break away from this blog. I’m starting off with this post.

Note: This was previously posted on my LinkedIn. I’ll upload another post in a short while to complement this post as this post was already written a while back.

Update: Here’s the link to the addendum of this post if you haven’t read it yet. I’ve added some additional thoughts to my original post.

https://wanderingthinkers.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/a5-learning-to-play-games-and-understanding-how-the-world-actually-works/

Since I was young, I’ve enjoyed reading on my own and I find that it is a waste if I cannot share what I have learned. One thing I’ve learned in life is to be unapologetic and completely honest about one’s self, aspirations and dreams, for no one else in the world would willingly dream and create them to life save we ourselves. Only we ourselves can understand ourselves and give meaning to our dreams that no one else will truly understand but can only see with eyes that see not. Only we ourselves care of what could have been.

Thus, for myself.. I still harbour aspirations of running a blog where people will one day gleam understanding and knowledge while it provides a form of passive income for me.

Till that day arrives, I’ll have to make do.

To that, I’d thought I’d write this first post on LinkedIn to gather my thoughts and to give people some insights that are often more often than not obvious in plain sight yet just as well hidden from our realization. Of what I have written, most of it are from ideas that I have read or just thought of on the go. I do not have answers, merely questions that I hope will provoke you to think and question the world around you.

With that, let’s begin..

Learning to Play Games (Part I)

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then, you have to play better than anyone else.

~ Unknown*

I’d like to think of life as a huge game made up of sub-games. Each game has its own distinct nature, each with its own rules, ways of playing, strategies and ways to win.

To be successful in a specific game..

  • We must learn the objective of the game, its rules, its strategies and how to win that particular game.
  • Then, with that our acquired understanding, we must learn to play it better.
  • As we play, we must understand the nature of the game, the point of playing it and the nature of victory.
  • An additional point is understanding meta-gaming

Firstly, understanding the objectives, rules, strategies and means to win a particular game is simple enough. However, it is the nature or essence of the game that seldom gets questioned. The closest analogy I can think of is.. what is the nature of humanity? It’s similar if you think about it.

Secondly, we must learn to play it better. That’s obvious enough. We must practice playing the game.

Thirdly, we must ask ourselves.. what is the point of a game or what lessons does it teach? These are either simple to comprehend or require subtle understanding. Next, what does it mean to win the game or the nature of the victory itself? Sometimes, by truly understanding the game, the true measure of attaining victory can be understood.

Let’s think of war as a game. A war is a military conflict between two nations or more. Objectively, wars can be won by leadership, skilled troops, better logistics, brilliant strategy, firepower, morale, mobility, communication and by understanding your enemy etc. In that, wars can be fought and won by players (nations). From there, the winners and losers can assess what they have gained / lost such as land, resources, people and political power etc.

However it is not that simple. War is one of the most horrific and unthinkable acts that human civilization could ever act upon. Consequences include the loss of human life, despair or suffering towards the survivors, untold destruction and the expenditure of war assets that could be used for a greater good etc. So, the question is.. is it truly worth it to fight to win a war? Thus, the true measure of victory us not by actually winning a war but by not even starting a war in the first place.

Fourthly, is by understanding meta-gaming. According to Wikipedia’s entry, it is defined as “any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed rule-set, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game” or “refers to the game universe outside of the game itself” where “the use of out-of-game information or resources” can “affect one’s in-game decisions.”

For instance, one can collude with another player in the game of Risk to overtake another player though there are no such rules. Another example is by using psychological warfare or techniques on another player by taunting, intimidation and shaming to place another player in a position of not being fully in control of their thoughts. One more tactic is when and where do you play the board-game that gives you an advantage over other players. Regardless of strategy used, meta-gaming is an advance and essential part of game-playing.

Learning to Play Games (Part II)

While there are many games that use similar strategies, there are other games that are so very different, that by playing one game based on the stratagem of another game would lead to failure and defeat.

Thus, we have to realize that we cannot play a specific game using the ways of another different game. That’s what most people get wrong in life.

Next, sometimes to win in a game, one must do the unorthodox by not playing the game (such as war), use unconventional strategies based on the context of the game being played, situation or even the players themselves and even discarding the rules entirely to play it your own way.

Furthermore, one must understand the types of games existing. There are two basic types: Static and dynamic games.

Static games are whereby their objectives, inherent nature, rules, ways of playing, strategies and means to win remain the same. Examples include board games, sports, video games and more. Meanwhile, dynamic games are when their objectives, inherent nature, rules, ways of playing, strategies and means to win change. This includes areas such as business, politics and economy etc.

Understanding How The World Actually Works

“How we think the world works and how the world actually works is entirely different.”

~ Unknown**

This section is perhaps derived from learning to play games in that, often times, we fail to comprehend it and in-turn fail in the game of life.

This includes areas such as friendships, relationships, career, politics, achieving happiness and self-actualization etc.

By learning to see how things actually work instead of how we think they should work, we would finally understand the essence of the world and people. This in turn will inform the principles underlying our approaches in life, thus allowing us to better play the various sub-games and attaining that which we seek, whether by winning or losing or even if we choose to play the games in the first place.

“Common decency and civil behaviour are just a thin veneer over the animal at the core of mankind that gets out whenever it has the chance.”

~ Kyril Sindermann (False Gods, Graham Mcneill)

I cite this quote above. For a long time, I would think my fellow people and to an extent humanity itself, better than animals. However, as time passes by with more experience gained, I now better understand that humanity is but an animal too. Perhaps introspective, intelligent and capable but still an animal deep inside.

I cite the idea of the Triune Brain whereby the human brain is made from the three layers of structures. The innermost is the Reptilian complex, the next is the Paleomammalian complex and the outermost consist of the Neomammalian complex. While the Neomammalian complex is fairly new, the other two complexes are evolutionary old and govern how we humans behave and act. In that sense, what may not make sense from a rational point of view was however integral towards the survival of humanity as a species. Hence, the behaviours enacted by humanity while are unproductive are nevertheless vital to keeping us humans unconsciously alive. Additionally, things that do not make sense to me personally, such as social behaviours were inculcated unconsciously by modern human’s ancestors through their social behaviours.

So, all my life, I have always thought better of humanity and now I know better that is not the case. People do incredibly stupid, insane, emotional and irrational things much of the time because like it or not, somehow these acts or the instincts behind those acts were what kept humanity alive. A good example is why some people support Donald Trump even withstanding that what he has said is a reflection of his mind, which is poor indeed. In that sense, people will do acts that make little sense because of our evolutionary nature.

Therefore, in light of what I’ve said, humanity risks losing control and understanding over the modern world which humanity has collectively created and shaped over the centuries. Humanity is not collectively evolving fast and adequately enough to deal with the challenges of the modern world. Time can tell what the future will bring.

To simply put, we must understand how the world actually works or risk failing in living a good life that is worth living. By consciously understanding what works, we will have all the more to gain rather than not consciously being aware and doing things without reflecting on them.

Thus, this marks the end of my post and I hope whoever reads it may gain something an iota of insight from reading it. Thank you.

Update

Here’s the recently posted addendum to this post as I had some additional thoughts on my post after some thinking:

https://wanderingthinkers.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/a5-learning-to-play-games-and-understanding-how-the-world-actually-works/

Notes

*Note I:

This quote was popularly attributed to Albert Einstein. However, based on a more thorough search through the Internet, it was discovered that Einstein did not say this quote at all and the actual origin of who coined this quote still remains a mystery.

**Note II:

To my knowledge, I remember reading this from somewhere on the Internet though I remember it was not an actual quote. However, I found it important enough to turn it into a quote of sorts.

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