Game Playing

Basically, there are three types of games people play:

Type 1: First are the 'real game' games - competitive board games, sports, et cetera. They come with a rule book, and they have a winner and losers. At the end, the winner is usually pleased with himself (although the reaction of the others to losing may tarnish this for him), and the losers are often unhappy (unless they are masochists or professional victims and enjoy their misery - but still ...). Often these games help us to develop mental acuity and/or physical skills, competitiveness, and greed.

Type 2: Second, there are covert games. One person invents the game and makes up all the rules. They get to change the rules at will and to move the goal posts around, so the other player is guaranteed to lose, unless they are very clever and manage to counter with an even more compelling game of their own. Sometimes the game may be to lose and make the other person seem to win when they didn't even want to compete. All of these games are invariably competitive, but part of the game may be to create an illusion of cooperation. Although these games have winners and losers, no one really wins and everyone loses because they all finish up more locked into an unpleasant fantasy about reality. And they like each other (and probably themselves) less at the end. Often these games help us to develop manipulativeness, increased defensiveness, and guilt.

Type 3: Third, there are learning games (like playing with the tarot or the Faeries' Oracle or runes). In these games there is cooperation instead of competition and everyone wins. Both players learn more about themselves. If the games are played well, there are usually some laughs along the way, and both of the players like each other (and probably themselves) better at the end. Often these games help us to develop compassion, insight, and a capacity for unconditional love.

Unfortunately, the maker left the rule book out of the box, so we can't play the Great Game of Life as a Type 1 - we are forced to choose between Type 2 and Type 3. Shouldn't we be entitled to a refund or some sort of compensation?

P.S. I managed to get this eye-watering lurid green color (at least, it is on my screen) by typing the color code in at random with my eyes closed. When some of the alphanumerics were outside code, I deleted them and typed in some more until I had the required number for the code. I suppose that this is another type of game, possibly under the heading of Perfectly Silly and Pointless Games. I am convinced that the playing of these games helps to preserve mental health and increases the possibility of discovering previously unknown phenomena. This may tell you more about how my mind works than about how the universe operates, but there it is. Enjoy.

Copyright © 1995 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.
This was first published in Otherworld Arts

Your comments will be read with interest.