On Rules and Games

by Josh

You know those people that never seem to want to play by the rules?
“Aaah the rules suck, why can’t we just  XYZ!?!?”
But then, what is there to a game, if the rules can be bent?

A game of total freedom ceases to be a game and is just carnage and/or nothing, driven by greed, fear and laziness.

In studying law, I come upon all the rules that are (ideally) made up, to ensure a maximum amount of freedom for everyone, without restraining the freedom of others.

I think it is not the ultimate amount of freedom we should be seeking, but rather making intelligent, creative, and future oriented choices about choosing rules for our own lives, that forward the conversations and the games we play.

And we play games all the time. Be it getting an assignment done in time and up to par, or staying fit, or making music, or raising kids.
They are all basically games with certain, unbending rules to them and you can hate them or love them, but those are the rules.

We just tend to forget that they are games.

Being all grown up and serious now, we don’t treat them as games anymore but as serious matters and we get all tense and significant about it.

Playing games, as I’ve heard über-cool game researcher Dr. Jane McGonigal say recently, is basically self-inflicted suffering.
She uses Golf as an example. All you want is, basically, to put a ball into a hole in the ground. But not only do you use a silly stick to do it, you also go really really far away from that tiny tiny hole and there is sand and ponds and… You get the point.

Writing this article is a game and definitely a creative form of suffering, because I never know what to write, how to structure it or whether it’s gonna be of any use to anyone vs. being another useless hipster-soul-striptease.

It is not the ultimate amount of freedom, but rather choosing, what kind of gameful restrictions you want to put on yourself.

Another thing I’ve heard in a Landmark course is that you are always winning the games that you are playing.
The thing is to figure out what these games are.

So there is a whole bunch of rules that, in a way, restrict my freedom.
But then, on the other hand; what good is freedom, if I don’t put it to use? Freedom is there to be made use of.

So here is a bunch of rules (of course not all) that I currently live by:

Meditate for at least 20 minutes every day
Have a cold shower until I adapt to the temperature after every warm shower
write an article once a week
write a journal every night before bed with at least three things I’m grateful for that day.
touch it, complete it
do some sort of sports every day
Track all important aspects of my games in a daily spreadsheet

What rules do you live by? What games do you play?
What games do you win at, but would rather not?
(be a player)