Ming the Mechanic:
Infinite Games

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Infinite Games2004-06-11 12:03
5 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Via FutureHi, Kevin Kelly mentions James Carse's "Finite and Infinite Games":
The wisdom held in this brief book now informs most of what I do in life. Its key distinction--that there are two types of games, finite and infinite--resolves my uncertainties about what to do next. Easy: always choose infinite games. The message is appealing because it is deeply cybernetic, yet it's also genuinely mystical. I get an "aha" every time I return to it.
It is also one of my most favorite books. At least the first part. The book's message has been very important to me. My notes from the book are here. Here's a bit of the wisdom in it:
A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.
*
Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.
*
To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.
*
The death of an infinite player is dramatic. It does not mean that the game comes to an end with death; on the contrary, infinite players offer their death as a way of continuing the play. For that reason they do not play for their own life; they live for their own play.
*
I can be powerful only by not playing, by showing that the game is over.
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Infinite players do not oppose the actions of others, but initiate actions of their own in such a way that others will play by initiating their own.
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Evil is the termination of infinite play.
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No one can play a game alone.
*
There is but one infinite game.



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5 comments

12 Jun 2004 @ 13:38 by Jon Husband @24.87.29.68 : Finite vs. infinite
Excellent post - thanks. Easy choice - infinite. It opens up so many more possibilities, and keeps us from the desire of winning, thus leaving us much more open to learning. IMO.  


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