Thursday, December 31, 2009

Clarifying Game Discourse

Confusion concerning Game, especially by various critics of Game, is something that has been surprisingly pervasive and shows little sign of disappearing soon. Stretching from the The Great Game Debate of August to the current week, there has always been confusion about exactly what Game is, exactly what personal motives various Gamers have, and about what sort of worldview is presented by Game. Because of the semantic confusion alone, strawmen arguments are rampant. In this post from Dave in Hawaii a couple of days ago, he addresses some major misconceptions concerning his personal stance on Game and relationships. Also, this post from Obsidian is a response to Lady Raine's opposition to certain alleged aspects of Game, which is more of an ad hominem attack against certain sorts of people rather than a rational attack on Game itself (which she does not understand). As Chuck rightly noted back in August:

The problem at hand, like most discourses on issues with less-than-obvious mechanisms, is that we have failed to lay out the terms of argument. It seems that both sides are arguing with a different definition of words like "Game", "neg", "alpha", and "beta."
As anyone familar with linguistic analysis knows, before any sufficiently complex subject can be critiqued or intellectual debated, it must first be clearly demarcated and defined so that there is no resulting confusion concerning the extent of the statements being made concerning the given topic. This is especially true in the arena of Game, since much apparent disagreement has arisen simply because of widely divergent ideas of what Game is. While there are legitimate concerns that some hold both towards Game and its practitioners, more frequently I see people talking past each other due to a lack of common ground related solely to insufficiently clear terminology. Consequently, I believe it is utterly necessary to set forth a fixed list of terms and clearly define exactly what each term means. Some of these terms are widely used and understood, while there are a couple new terms that I have created for added clarity in future discourse.

In future posts, I want to take at look at the three fundamental Game mindsets that exist, the inherent ethical nature of Game, the ethics of various Gamers, and what I believe to be the best usage of Game. But, in order to lay the foundation for those posts, I believe that laying a firm semantic foundation as a framework for the discussion is absolutely vital. As such, here is my Game Lexicon.


  1. Are you going to include an analysis of exactly who is defining these phrases and ethics? In other words, who are the dominant voices in the cultural discourse?

    Without an analysis of who is most popular, a catalog of variety is less than useful, it is misleading. In other words, showing that there are 12 major schools is misleading, if you don't point out that the top 2 schools account for 80% of the total.

    Analyze the worldview of Big Three Gamers, then ask yourself if that is what you want to support. Or just make a tally chart of how many Gamer posts are positive vs negative, creative vs destructive, uplifting vs tearing down.

    As a theortical question, if you found that the overall Game-inspired worldview was negative and nihilistic, would you still use your blog to advertise it?

  2. @Justin: It certainly will be necessary to include some analysis of the various dominant voices in the community. Each person has a slightly different take on various aspects of Game, and many people apply Game in various different ways. However, despite the fact that there are several major mindsets towards Game, and many different worldviews represented by Gamers/Gamists, fundamentally there is a large amount of consensus over the modern state of affairs.

    A properly informed individual must understand both the nature of the propositions advocated and the sort of individuals making such propositions. If there are truths that our society has forgotten, then we would be foolish to turn a deaf ear to those truths. Similarly, if we blindly follow those who speak some truth, even when they engage in destructive and unethical behavior, we also act foolishly.

    What is crucial is an understanding of what truths are presented, a recognition of the errors and lies that are disseminated along with the truth, and a proper character-centric evaluation of whom is worthy of emulation and whom is sowing further seeds of cultural destruction.

    Justin, though you oppose a lot of the terminology used by the Game Community, and those you strongly oppose the worldviews and ethics of several of the major Game proponents, I believe that you still do agree with some of what they teach. The difference is, you call those things that you agree with "ancient man truths," while others call them "inner game." In the end, the semantics used to discuss Game should be viewed as secondarily important, and the content that is being expressed is of primary importance.

    Fundamentally, the questions we need to address are: What is Game? What do people use Game for? Which uses of Game are righteous? Which uses of Game are deceptive and destructive? Which Gamers use Game righteously? Which Gamers use Game for selfish ends, and further harm society?

    We must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and neglect important truths simply because of the character flaws of those teaching them... especially given that some virtuous people are saying similar things.

  3. What would you think if you read a young Christian man who was undergoing the following investigation:

    "What is the Occult? What do people use the Occult for? Which uses of the Occult are righteous? Which uses of the Occult are deceptive and destructive? Which Occult adepts use the Occult righteously? Which Occult adepts use the Occult for selfish ends, and further harm society?"

    Would you agree that, while all the popular Occult practicioners are evil, it is possible for a Christian to use the Occult for positive ends?

  4. Additionally, if I may ask, how would you evaluate the following statement:

    "you call those things that you agree with "the Holy Spirit," while others call them "demonic possession." In the end, the semantics used to discuss Religion should be viewed as secondarily important, and the content that is being expressed is of primary importance."

    Is it really just a semantic difference if someone is devoted to the Holy Spirit or demonic possession? Do you see what I am getting at?

    I would humbly suggest that sometimes things are called by different names for very important reasons.

    What if a young Christian man said of Satanism: "We must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater and neglect important truths simply because of the character flaws of those teaching them... especially given that some virtuous Christians are saying similar things."

  5. @Justin: First of all, I think there is nothing intrinsically wrong with doing a little research on the Occult. Though the Occult is dangerous and demonic, sterile knowledge about it is harmless, and perhaps even wise.

    Even Jesus Christ said, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Jesus Christ desires us to be informed, to be shrewd, and to rightly judge the spirit of everything. Naivete is not a virtue. Shrewness is commended by Jesus multiple times in the Gospels.

    Beyond that, your analogy breaks down because in your analogy you use the example of the Occult and of Satanism, which are intrinsically evil, as opposed to being intrinsicially amoral. That is a significant difference. A better analogy would be asking, "What is killing? For what reasons do people kill? What sorts of killing are righteous and what sorts are evil?" In fact, I've written on that very topic. Killing is morally neutral, while murder is intrinsically evil. There is a real, non-semantic difference between the two.

    Similarly, there is a real, non-semantic different between that which stems from the Holy Spirit and that which stems from demons. The two are not synonymous, and no seriously minded person would suggest that they are.

    If Game Theory is, as I have defined it in my Game Lexicon, then it stands to reason that each of those observations and theories are either true or not, useful or not and ethical or not. Therefore, while there may be certain aspects of Game Theory that you oppose, the burden of proof is on you, if you wish to argue that Game is intrinsically morally evil.

    If you wish to argue for such a case, I would be happy to discuss it further with you, and perhaps we can write a few blogs back and forth on the subject. Alternately, you can wait to see what else I write, concerning the three fundamental Game mindsets, the sorts of Gamers who operate according to such mindsets, and the ethics of utilizing Game. I want to take a close look at the real dangers of Game and the unethical aspects thereof, and I certainly do not fully espouse all that Game Theory and Gamers advocate. However, in my opinion, Game does offer some much-needed social observations and provide some practical ways to relearn and apply "ancient man truths."

  6. Being shrewd, a la J.C., means knowing the dangers of the evil world. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are not investigating quietly or in a spirit of discernment, to know the dangers of Game. You are a full-on Game advocate, advertiser, and apologist.

    Unfortunately, you are incorrect about both Satanism and the Occult, neither is inherently evil. In fact, both are openly and clearly amoral, just as you use the term, presented as a toolkit for the advanced man to use as he sees fit (in the context of a worldview which has dispensed with the traditional rules of morality).

    Of course Game is amoral, as it rests on no moral foundation, but is largely an outgrowth of the fallacious mythology of evolutionary psychology.

    So... when you are standing before your maker, exactly what do you think will be his reply when you say: "Well, Lord, I was only spreading an amoral system, not an immoral system..."

    Do you really think that becoming a prophet for an amoral worldview is what you are called to do?

  7. @Justin: Though I may possibly be considering becoming a Game advocate, advertiser or apologist, I am not yet aware of being any of those things. As far as I am aware, I have not yet stated my official stance on Game, or whether it's use is ethical. Have you read something I have written, wherein I specifically condone Game as a whole, or all Gamers, without exception? If so, please let me know...

    Concerning Satanism and the Occult, I must heartily disagree with you. Regardless of how they are presented, both Satanism (explicitly marketed as "symbolism, veneration or admiration of Satan") and the Occult are directly related to demonic activity, and therefore, are wholly morally evil. Regardless of what pretty words certain people may use to market them, they are not considered amoral by anyone involved in them or truly familiar with them.

    Secondly, while some Gamers do hold a worldview rooted in evolutionary psychology, this is not something intrinsic to Game itself, and according to my definition of Game, it is implicitly excluded from being considered part of Game.

    My goal in both my life and my writings is to critically evaluate the world, society and the lifestyles of individual people, and to firmly advocate the teachings of Jesus Christ. I seek to live my life in a God-glorifying manner, and I seek to see men become strong, Godly men who are bold leaders. I seek to see women become virtuous, compassionate, loving and inwardly beautiful in accordance with the teachings of Scripture. That is my one primary goal in life. Anything else that I write or do is subject to that goal.

    Am I becoming a prophet for an amoral (or immoral) worldview? I don't believe so. Unless you can quote somewhere where I have specifically advocated thinking or doing something amoral or immoral, then I would contest that you do not understand what I write and you do not understand my worldview. It seems that you have jumped to conclusions based on a couple of things I've written, and do not comprehend the entirety of my position, simply because I have not written extensively concerning my official stance on Game.

  8. Just to clarify, I am not jumping to conclusions based on a small sample size. I am examining the evidence of your blog itself. Look at your list of recommended blogs, for example. Look at how often you use the term Game itself and how often you have devoted links and entire blog posts to issues raised in the Game-sphere. In all these things, you are advertizing Game.

    Re-read the link you posted to Obsidian, and how he defines Game. In fact, make a list of all the Game advocates you examine, and how many of them are explicitly and openly proponents of evo-psych.

    I respect what you are attempting, to formulate solid rules for good masculine behavior in the contemporary confused and hostile world. Why don't you call it what you mean, such as Christian manliness or something.

    I am suggesting that by attempting to formulate a "good" definition of Game, you are attempting to graft a healthy branch on a poison vine. Why not build up something else instead, that is not based on such a destructive theoretical and practical foundation as Game?

  9. Operation Mafia is a massive multiplayer online mafia text based game. You are a mafia who starts with nothing your goal are to become a ruthless mafia. To achieve this you will have to complete difficult mafia operations as you go up.