Playing The Game Of Living
(S.O.S. from

Da Music Machine

If you landed directly on this page, you may want to start at the beginning.

What Is A Non-cooperative Game?

In solving our problem, most people are taking one or both of the following paths. Both paths have something in common --

the non-cooperative aspect of The Game Of Living

What is a non-cooperative game? A non-cooperative game is a game in which all "the players" are not cooperating with each other to reach the same goal. Not only that, but the players do not always behave exactly the same. Their responses vary.

Almost all the players in The Game Of Living agree that it is "better for all" when the game is non-cooperative (to an extent.)

That is to say, that the adaptation necessary for an entire species to flourish may require the competitive nature of the non-cooperative game. Even if it were possible to get 100% cooperation, it would not be a good thing. Friendly competition in trying to achieve the same goal is a good thing for all. For instance, splitting into teams to see who can find a cure for cancer first. (In the United States this is accomplished through a free market economy... companies compete in areas such as medicine and technology.)

Everybody holding hands and singing in harmony could actually kill our species in the long run. "Getting all players to cooperate" or "getting all players to understand they are on the same team" are not acceptable answers.

The two most traveled paths toward a solution:

1) Making the Best of a Good Situation

Find the best mix of players for cooperating in a non-cooperative game. Small teams of players working to solve parts of the bigger problem. Even on these smaller teams, it helps when the players are still slightly non-cooperative. For instance, us.

We have players from varied fields that argue about the next play. Then, we move! Followed by new arguments on the results of the move... and the best way to proceed. Then, we make the next move! Reevaluate with fresh arguments on the results of the last move... and the best way to proceed. Then, we make the next move! (In the study of organizational behavior and performance they call this a positive feature known as the Assembly Effect or a "synergy" effect... just as individuals on an assembly line can produce more cars than they could individually. The same holds true for committees, groups and organizations.)

when the end result is greater than the sum of the individual parts.
-- Econome

2) Making the Best of a Bad Situation
Elimination vs. stabilization of players who cross-the-line
(a.k.a. getting' rid of the few bad apples.)

Although the non-cooperative nature of The Game Of Living is agreed to be a good thing... it is also agreed by most players that there are limits to the extent of an individual player's non-cooperative nature. There are several violations that are unacceptable and for which no valid argument can be found. The three most severe (and, for which intervention of the other players is required):

Thou shalt not:
1) abuse children

     (the murder or rape of children would likely top the list)

2) murder
3) rape

How do the other players deal with those who violate the commandments... elimination or stabilization of that player? And, at what overall cost?

Another way to look at it would be to take the Corinthians 12:14 analogy one step further. (See a multimedia and musical metaphor here.)

What if Stomach has cancer? (Pretend cancer is like a bad player.) Should you just ignore the cancer until it is too late. Or, how do you rid the body of the cancer without killing yourself? How do you prevent the cancer from spreading? Could you be preventive in developing other cancers? etc.

Any attempt to get "all the players to cooperate" will be a futile waste of time.

The most likely course to winning the game will involve methods that prevent or limit the loss of individual players... while exploiting the "synergy effect" of the remaining group.

Friendly competition is a good way to make progress. It gives players alternatives that allow for "responses that are in accordance with each other" in a non-cooperative game.

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