November — A Little PTSD In My Coffee

i-votedSo it’s no secret I’ve been having a hard time processing the 2016 presidential election. What I didn’t know was how many other people were having similar problems. Symptoms (mine, and symptoms gathered from others) include: disrupted sleep patterns, nightmares, problems with general digestion, specific problem with unusually high blood sugar or blood pressure numbers, pessimism, darker cynicism, generalized depression, absence of hope for the future, inability to talk about public policy and politics without panic or anxiety, extended periods of crying… you may recognize some or all of the list.

2 “ah-ha” moments in the last 2 days:
1. greed is predatory. that is, American capitalism has painted a very clear (and yet untrue) picture that for one person to have *more*, another person must have less. Greed says that in order for Person A to get more, it is okay to take from Person B — even if that *taking* means stealing from, lying to, tricking, bluffing, bullying, threatening, conning, tormenting, torturing, or killing Person B. Greed makes us into predators who do not kill-to-eat, or kill-to-survive — but who kill or do harm to others for the pleasure of acquiring more and more and more. For the clearest and most easily understood explanation of how this model is flawed, watch Ron Howard’s Oscar winning film “A Beautiful Mind.” It is specifically the notion that economics must be competitive and predatory that John Nash was arguing against.
It is greed (and not money or economics or capitalism) that is virulent and predatory. Greed is not an economic theory — but an amoral add-on.
2. politics is as addictive as gambling — and in much the same ways. The idea that you can’t win if you don’t play is very much like the idea that you can’t effect change if you aren’t actively involved in politics. Or the idea that the amount you participate in politics is directly related to your commitment to being a good citizen. –which turns out to be untrue. Like addicted gamblers, political junkies find it nearly impossible to resist the call to be angry, argumentative, defensive — and often ruthless — in their attacks on those who do not agree with their own personal ideology. It causes a myopic attention to current events. It demands absolute and obcesive focus. It leads to isolation and loss of outside interests. It requires an attention to narrow detail that obscures the larger (and often, the pleasures of) daily life.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer's remorse after this election....  she would have voted for Bernie.

even the dog was having nightmares and a big chunk of buyer’s remorse after this election…. she would have voted for Bernie.

I’ve never been vulnerable to addiction before, but I’m pretty sure this is it.
And just realizing this has helped a lot. (that, and deliberately walking away from any more than 10 minutes of political news per day, and choosing to only read headlines and abstracts of in-depth political news)

There was a 3rd “ah-ha!” — but it’s very specific to the Graves Model (a social and cultural evolutionary model) — so I’ll keep that one for myself. It takes a while to explain, and I’m sleepy….


Nomics Pt. 2.5: Games and Questions

Nomic games update — questions I need help answering

1.  first well-evidenced discovery:  Nomic games tend to be more appealing to Graves levels 6 and 7 than non-nomic games.  For L7, because the complexity combined with the transience of actual game components lets 7’s be 7’s — and do what they do best.  For L6, because it lets them stretch their “muscles” and build the chops necessary to make the shift to L7 at some point in the future.  It also lets them hold onto the “any rule/ruleset can get you to the end” that comes naturally to them.

2.  after 3-4 hrs of discussion with the local game store owner/game master, the utility of Magic The Gathering as a learning metaphor comes more into question.  Turns out, MTG was invented by a Ph.D. mathamatician — and the blue cards (L7) are actually meta to the rest of the game.  So much so that Mr. Shopkeeper says he personally will not play against a blue deck.  Why?  Because all things being equal, a blue deck will always win.  Sure — a superior player, a superior luck of the draw, or a superior assortment of cards from which to build a deck can make that “always” into a an “almost always” — but the statment holds.  I said, “okay — if I now know that blue will always win, and you know that blue will always win — why are all these people playing this game?”

He said, “That’s always been my question.”

So if there are 4 colors — levels 3, 4, 5, and 6 — who are evenly matched, and L7 is meta to all of those — that is, it is actually the nomic operator, and as such controls the rules, the turns, the structure of play, and even the “win” cards and moves — then why would any player choose to play anything but blue, or choose to play any other color against blue?

Stepping outside the game, this gives me 2 new questions:  in a world where L3 terrorism has already been seated at the table and is a major player, what deck(s)/color(s)/level(s) are the best to oppose them?   and, WHY, of course.

Yes, I am looking for input.  Here or in private messages.

And two last bits to chew on:  Magic has been in existence for 15 years.  For all of that time, blue-L7 has been the “deck that always wins” with the possible 3 exceptions of the “Red Wins” deck, the “Black Summer” deck, and the “Power-Nine” deck — all decks constructed using cards so powerful that they have been banned from tournement play. (In otherwords, the game-makers didn’t predict some of the uses players would come up with for those ultra-power cards — and so re-classified their use as cheating.)  Given that — and the comparable meta-position of L7 to lower levels, and Blue to other colors — Why would anybody choose to play in such a “fixed” game?

AND — is it possible that WINNING is the wrong goal?  What other possible goals are there?