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A Game to be Won or a Game to be Played


What are we trying to do here? I don’t mean specifically here, I mean humanity. What is the human endeavour? What are we trying to do here? I presume what we’re trying to do is ensure that the largest number of humans across time can live well. I presume that that is the human endeavour: for us to create the kinds of societies that will enable as many people alive today to live a good life, and for as many future generations of people as possible to also be able to live a good life. Is this not what we are trying to do here?

Are we doing that? It doesn’t appear that we are. It doesn’t appear that we are, as a species, trying to create the conditions in which the largest sustainable number of people can live reasonably well. Nor do we seem interested in ensuring that conditions will be favourable to good human living once we pass on and die. Are these not our goals? And if they are not, then what are our goals? As a society, as a species. Do we not identify as a species? Do we not identify as a society? Do we care about group goals?

You can categorize games into finite and infinite games. Finite games are games for which the goal is victory over an opponent, infinite games are games for which the goal is to keep the game going as long as possible. I’m concerned that we have come to misinterpret the infinite game of human presence on Earth as a finite game of individual success. Success over what? Over whom? Is life a game to be won or a game to be played?