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The Lucilius Parables, Volume I


December 6th, 2018

If some new sport akin to basketball or football were invented, there would automatically be some tiny percentage of the population that would be incredibly well suited to the game and thereby making them very good at it without the development of too much skill.  Another way of illuminating this is by asking the question: “would LeBron James be as good at basketball if he were 4foot8?” 



Most likely… not.


Much of human life can be rephrased and viewed as a kind of game.  There is the corporate game of climbing that slippery pole of bureaucracy, which apparently feels more like a ladder for those with particular forms of psychopathy.


There is the game of Academia which is predicated mostly on publications and the reputation of those publications.  The world of academia has some similarities to the corporate world when it comes to the closed gates and inefficiencies that seem to be inherent in most bureaucracies. 


Then there is the game of chasing the Jones.  This is an infinite game that is impossible to win, simply because it’s always possible to make just a little bit more money, and there will always be new and more expensive ways to display that wealth.  This is a bad infinite game because it is fueled by external measurement: i.e. what the Jones’ have.


But not all infinite games are bad.  Physical fitness is a positive example of an infinite game.  You can always work on some aspect of your fitness.  Always.  Or take for example the all too prescient example of writing everyday.  This is an infinite game merely for the fact that it is possible to write everyday without ever running out of things to write about.  But the fuel for this engine has an internal source as opposed to an external one.  This is an infinite game that adds satisfaction to life as opposed to constantly down regulating it’s own effects as making money does with chasing the Jones’. 


The habit of writing everyday is also a game of one, which is perhaps even more important.  No one else can compete in such a game which creates a field of play that is both unlimited and commanded by the one who plays.   Such a field of possibility is actually quite scary to most people.  Like sitting alone with one’s thoughts in silence for 10 minutes, or staring at a blank canvas and trying to think of something to paint.  Many people shutter at such a prospect.


And yet, sadly enough, both of these circumstances would be welcome opportunities for children who are beyond the constant need to have their mother around.


It’s perhaps a valid argument that we’ve coddled our own minds back into a toddler state, seeking constant reassurance, constant pleasure, and fearing the wide open spaces of possibility that are a function of personal responsibility. 


Perhaps so few people are willing to play a game of one because they fear the possibility of losing.


But just like jewels guarded by dragons


or freedom waiting beyond the wall


or even a sense of satisfaction waiting locked up in our own head,


We have to duel with the dragon or climb the wall, or face our own fears in order to get the goods.


Regardless of which game we are playing, we can be sure we are playing one.


The question is, does this game benefit you?


Or is it just using you?


Is it perhaps time to make your own board…


make your own rules….


and play.

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Podcast Ep. 235: Game of One

Tinkered Thinking

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