Mitch SMith


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The first of May - what is this?

On the First of may, all the Morris dancers will assemble on the highest hill in the district and "dance up the Sun".

Their tradition is that if this is not done, the Sun will not rise.

Each and every one of them know this is fantacy, and yet they do it in ernest.
And it enriches them by virtue of their fantastic gift.

Here is the tune. It has progressed from here into a lot of pop music.

Here is the event of dancing-up the Sun:

Here are some darker roots:

It happens all over the world somewhere near you if you care to go look.

What is this?
Is this a game for fun, or is it the game of being?
What is this?

  • May 3 2012: my concern with the gaming world is that the games that are offered will only conform to the thrill seeking ...the problem solving and conflict resolution will only be short term imediate reward systems...everyone can benefit from more complex and diverse communications hopefully brought by an articial intelegence(hopefully with an upgraded dr.watson/siri operating platform)...something that has the patience to work with anyone with any type of problem...verbal abuse,gang violence,drugs,communication issues,lack of intrest in school(mostly by not seeing it's true value),improving the family dynamic,sexual disfunction,shame,peer pressure,etc. the list goes on and on ....all of these things i have seen over the years that have affected friends and family...all of these things that i wish i had answers games have captured young peoples intrests, hopefully the desiginers will broaden say sure many games are built around "the disney value system" where everyone always comes out on top...but in real life maybe not so much do we tailor a program to meet a specific persons needs...the program will have to be dynamic and not static...thus a built in A.I.
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      May 12 2012: Totally agree with you on all points Michael,

      It is not the results - it is the path that builds effective belief systems.

      Too much of he gaming industry is built on artificial dopamine - this is not equal to intelligence.

      Dopamine is the work drug - many young people are captured in it and it becomes antithetical to their personal interests. In effect it prevents them from delivering their value to the world.

      Games shoud move to rewards of the path rather than rewards of the score. Score rewards are extrinsic and have no value to humans as a species - rather, it is by empathy that we are strong in the real world.

      Sure, push yourself for achievement - but why?

      If the result is not at the service of those you love in the real world, you have wasted your time.

      This is where Brenda Braithwaite has given us a hint.

      The gaming world is massively male dominated - we need a lot more programmers making games for girls - and men who are not testosterone addicts.

      THere is convincing evidence that pregnant females who are competitively involved will produce autistic or psyhopathic sons.

      THe gaiming industry, as it stands will end up culling our species way beyond what is needed - this is a crisis, because most of our political representatives are psychopaths. Psychopaths serve no one except themselves.

      So watch out for AI - Damasio has gotten pretty good idea - he has shown how neural systams overcome the exclusive-or problem first described by Minsky in his math on neural topology - it is empathy that resolves this problem - games online right now don't seem to understand this - they serve to separate us, not join us .. even the team games fail at this.

      AI has to become real AI for NPC players - they will then become virtual "gurus" .. this is not impossible, it is inevitable .. so long as we can last long enogh .. it's looking pretty line-ball. If we fail thios time around, it will take millenia to get back to this opportunity again.
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    May 1 2012: We've kind of got the seasons wrong down here.
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      May 2 2012: Yep. We are "phase shifted". That has opportunities as well as challenges.
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      May 1 2012: Sláinte Chris!

      The Maypole is so much more than sex. It is a place that the fertility gods come down to kiss us, with no more than their eternal love for us.

      Here in the south, the Beltaine is the Samhain, and the Samhain is teh Beltaine. Sunwards is widershins here, the cone is the vortex and the vortex teh cone. I spend a lot of time teaching my fellows silently in twists. No one hears it, no one sees it, but all feel it. THis is the absolute expression we call prayer.
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      May 1 2012: Criss, please look ot my game post below. I am on the cusp of leaving the game .. and just doing it. I will need help.
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      May 1 2012: Let me tell you a beautiful story:

      In the 6 months I served as leader of teh Outlanderz tribe, I had established an extreme outpost member who joined us in the early days to belong to a tribe that had meaning.

      She was about 7 days beyond any help that we could send her, SO I advised her to join the strongest tribe near her. She refused - She would not ever leave us.

      Over teh weks, I became more and more involved with local strategics, but every day I checked in on her - and by her own resource she had beaten off all who attacked her. And bit by bit, as my tribe gained fame as the most potent force on the map, no one would touch her. So far away .. so out of reach from anything we could do.

      And so, she became strong .. and she started teasing and goading those around her - and pushing them to their absolute limit. And all were in fear of the Outlanderz, and our arm had grown long - through treaties and aliegences, we had come to dominate the game.

      And so, she decided to come join our heartland and set out on a very risky migration - it took her 7 days to come occupy some real estate that my general-heros had provided for her.

      And the whole trib efollowed her migration journey, all of us holding our breath and hoping she'd make it through dangerous waters.

      And then on teh 7th day she came home into our heartland - and every one in the tribe shouted for joy!!!!
      This was the happiest day of us - in many lives in our tribe who had not experianced such communal achievement!! What a happy day!!!

      She later moved from her home in Greece to the USA and married one of my most trusted generals. In the real world.

      Her name, in translation was - "Clever fox"

      I am so proud of her. and yet .. I am so proud of everyone - we can all do this.

      Outlanderz was populated by people from all different cultures, all walks of life and all ages.

      Between us, we pwned . And the word pwn came from us. Because we had no time for spell-checking. We just knew .. and did.
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      May 1 2012: Let me tell you a darker story.

      My Clever-Fox friend wrote me bout the plight of Greece as the Euro was crushing them in debt.

      So I spent about 2 weeks designing a new currency for her and her Greek friends to supplant the Euro and re-establicsh their national worth beyond the artificial values of teh world that had drained them.

      It would start on a single urban block containing a bakery, a butcher and a comms shppe.
      All money going in and out of that city block in Athens would have to pass a currency-exchange barrier.

      And, bit by bit, the currency would subsume the whole of Europe - one block at a time.

      But I stopped designing this currency the instant that I saw that I, as the original issuer of the currency of value would gain absolute power of who entered and who left the realm of the curency.

      I would, in effect, have the power of life and death over the whole of Europe.

      And that would destroy me and anyone who came in touch with me.

      At theat moment, I understood the dilema of bankers.

      It is up to us to rescue them.

      THey are in gret pain - and they cannot save themselves.

      Let us invite them all back home over dangerous waters .. let us have the community joy on the landing of each and every one.

      This is the great challenge of our time.

      It is forgiveness.

      I have commenced performing small mirracles.

      Come to me and help. I cannot do this alone.
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          May 2 2012: Stay in touch.

          Find natural extensions that overcome destructive conventions.
          Share them.
          Help find ways for people to stop playing games and start living.
          The rest of it sounds trite, but is still quite cogent:
          Practice compassion, increase empathy, align your work to your love, pray for others (whether you believe in god or not - it really doesn't matter).
          Most of all - share your small mirracles.
          That way, a network forms-up, and we might get a chance to do some significant healing of those who know nothing but their isolated self.

          I told the story of how I converted a war-game community into a successful unit by means of voluntary contribution and teh elimination of competition within the tribe.

          The over-riding principle was to overcome feelings of resentment for those who contributed less. THis was the hardest bit, but once achieved, it ignited a true functioning community.

          I suppose it is the principle of shifting comparisons away from each other and towards our life itself. I made a very strong distinction between the "freeloader" and the parasite. Turns out, there weren't enough freeloaders to hurt the community .. and they gradually came to contribute.
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          May 2 2012: OK - your question proves that all the power of nature is in empathetic pairs.

          The convergence.

          Here's how we do it:

          I pray for you, you pray for me.

          We each find more partners to pray for.

          We can connect each other directly if it seems right, but that is not necessary.

          What is necessary is that we empower those we connect with to conect - through prayer.

          And WTF is prayer?

          It is this simple:

          When you think of someone, just imagine a pulse of positive energy going to that person.

          You will be prompted to think of them as you are reminded - you need no list or ritual.

          You just do it.

          In a very short time, we will establish a network of empathetic pairs that will flood the Earth.

          It is exponential.

          THis empathy? What is it?

          It is what words say is "love" .. and it cannot be beaten, because it is convergence - no lie can survive such an environment.

          ANd this is how we bring the lost ones home.

          Let's do it.
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          May 2 2012: ALRIGHT!

          Here is the unstoppable power of volluntary empathetic pairs!

          When I was doing the war game tribe thing, I had a few psychopaths in my trib ewho were deliberately vexing vulnerable members of my allies.

          So I invented the "death match" where, by through my power, I enforced that the victor and victim would conduct a fight to the death.

          Through that I was invoking the "art of war" principle that the victim would exert at many more times of power than the victor - and would defeat him.

          This was not the case. The Victor was freed to exact all kinds of dimensions of pain that the victim could not imagine. This was a grave mistalke on my part.

          Because it is not about "smart" it is about love.

          WHat I SHOULD have done was find another psychopath and pitch them against each other - their zeal and arrogance could never resist, and they would fight to the death of the last man.. And then, I should have had my tribe eat the survivor as a ritual act of renewal. At that point he would be too weakenned to resist and would die in a whimper that would not corrupt my leadership.

          Let me tell you a thing about leadership:

          You cannot be seen to take unilateral action against any member of your tribe. ..
          Why not?

          Because each and every member of the tribe will begin to see you as a potential threat, and the trust in your leadership will be diminnished with each and every act you take to enforce your right of leadership beyond the consensus of the tribe.

          GO away and think hard on this .. and then you will understand what it is to be a leader of humans.

          ALl leaders I see in the world today think that they have leadership through military force.

          They could not be more wrong.

          And you and I who are not despotic leaders have their balls in our hands.

          I just wanted you to know that ;)
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    May 1 2012: Here's another observation:

    A few years ago I played an online game called "Tribal Wars".

    Tribal wars was almost devoid of graphics or virtual realities - it was all not more than a bunch of spreadsheets that evolved in real time.

    One had to join a tribe and sieze real-estate by millitary force. Each bit of real estate produced resources that could be converted into military power.

    So I started a tribe. We were late to the game and found ourselves geographically on the fringe with the dissadvantage that we had nto had time to consolidate military might. SO I named the tribe "Outlanderz" and set about organising into a highly inter-dependant tribe based on the Bedouin culture.

    At first I gave the tribe cohesion by the mystique of being outsiders. This was the uniting principle that allowed us to explore the advantage of the contempt shown us by the established "core" tribes - we leveraged their arrogance and operated beneath their "radar" until we had sufficient military strenght to challoenge them.

    PArt of our strategy was to establish some players as volluntary "development banks" .. they were supplied resources via a volluntary tax and re-distributed resources to our fronteer establishments - such that our fronteer was more powerful than the borders they were pushing against.

    Part of the maintenance of cohesion was that I weeded-out members who demonstrated parasitic behaviour - all the psychopaths and sociopaths were strategically, and systematically, marginalised from the tribe. In that way, the tribe was made up of teh tribe - no involution or self destruction was tollerated.
    We very quickly established superior geographical and disciplinary unity.
    EVery member of the tribe flourished, and each contributed to our goals, in whatever small way they could. Some could only log in a small time and do small things, others became captured by the honour of their contribution and became heros beyond my wildest expectations.

    What a shame it was just a game.
  • Apr 30 2012: i think someone else has also run into the ethical problem involving video games...everything in video games is about "winning" usually involving someone else's death ...what if video games had such an intelligent A.I. (Dr.Watson/Siri) that i could understand what the person was saying to it and repond with real life scenerios? i.e: in the middle of grand theft auto (of course we have to talor the message if we want all of them to hear it) the player character was confronted with your type of ethical problem with a mulitiple choice option that affects the out come of the game...perhaps mix a little sweet with sour to help ground tommorow's youth in the reality of consequences...seeings how they are our future leaders...
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      Apr 30 2012: Yes.
      My son is austistic, the state school systems were causing him deep trauma, so we removed him to home schooling and he has come to know his social world through online gaming.
      The current state of most online games contains serious flaws in world view. They are almost exclusively based on win/lose scenarios. In such competitive environments, the players all become monsters who harm each other in virtual space - and their total disregard for the feelings of others leads to emotional damage.
      I have helped my son navigate this landscape, and he has helped me understand the fault-lines in modern thinking via the competitive game world.
      The traditional game forms of Morris and Mumming represent a diferent continuum - one that is not based on the rules of competition, but on the laws of nature and the seasons - merely extended through forms of dance, music and role-playing. AS such, thre are no artificial rules - it is observation and extension.
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    Apr 30 2012: There's been a strong interest in the preservaton and re-enactment of traditional events for a long time. Morris is also a social activity, being performed at a range of different events throughout the year. Some people are attracted by the performance aspects, either public performance or the fact that it is dance. There are even political undertones for some people. Some like the opportunity to suspend disbelief in re-enacting something with links to mythology. Others like the idea of adapting and evolving tradition. And the best sides include a lot of people who are keen to be very good at what they do.

    It's a multi-faceted activity which means different things to different people. And it usually involves beer!
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      Apr 30 2012: Yes, lots of beer.
      But the tradition goes deeper.
      The forms are preserved over millenia.
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    Apr 30 2012: May day seems have different significance in different culture .....

    I know May Day also means establishment of 8 hour work day for workers as well........though who fought for that are branded as anarchists mostly
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      Apr 30 2012: Thankyou for that link Salim.
      Here is a related topic:
      Indeed, anarchy is the only answer to the players of games who take it upon themselves to move others about like tokens on a board.
      And again:
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        May 2 2012: You are welcome Mitch and also thanks for your links.....
        Well that's how we landed into our current state of civilization .......
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          May 2 2012: YEs.

          I was raised as a staunch unionist and Luddite .. and Mason. How the hell do these things fit?


          In the Early days of the Jews there were no kings.

          Kings are rule makers - they say they are god but they are not.

          All rules made by kings are lies - they have no basis in nature.

          Nature is made up of empathetic pairs.

          The kings seek to destroy all empathy to make space for their lies.

          THey are "game makers" in a game made for them, and them alone to win - thus they can commit all dimensions of pain and perversion upon us.

          There IS NO KING!

          The IS only ANARCHY.

          Between the rules of teh kings lies infinite anarchy.


          TO be al,ive is to be a criminal at teh king's table.

          And he cannot catch us, because, by his rule he is confined, and we are not.

          War on "terrorism" is the definition of the ultimate weakness. In this Bush and his guys allowed us to dip in and erase the lot of them.

          BUsh destroyed the rule makers for all time.

          His backers and his own father hate him for this - but the deed is done.

          Babylon is fallen.

          (Obama/Osama is not enough to re-invert the truth - no matter how many times Obama kills Osama - it was all over long ago)
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    Apr 30 2012: I think "fun" defined in terms of "games", is anything that allows social interaction at a physical or mental level. Like playing castle & dragons with a fort made of pillows to playing imaginary tag with your imaginary friend. This could be weird if you thought about adults, but maybe kids are the common ones and we adults are uncommon? =P
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    Apr 30 2012: Hi Mitch,

    They seem like they are both having fun and using the "games" as an extension of their being.

    I recall in the "darker roots" video, they talk about how some regions stop praticing mummers and a few years later it is resurrected. I bet that is why they called it mummers! *drum*drum*cymbal*

    On a serious note, it shows how the tradition is still carried on throughout the changing of times, which means that some traditions are universal. That Universiality makes the game of being, but also fun because without the "Fun Factor" no one would continue it. The tradition most likely is educational or marks a symbolic monumental shift in their history of the regions affected by mummers, and other games like monopoly.

    Wow, Monopoly really personifies the American lifestyle(aside from the game "LIFE") because if you think about it, it shows how much we value our money, which is so important our kids need to learn it. Buying stuff comes at a young age, but learned through a board game where you felt like a "loser" of the game, and learned from it at the same time.
    Ironic isn't it?! =P

    I will try to think deeper, but interesting subject. =)

    Thanks for reading my thoughts.
    Hope to read yours. =)
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      Apr 30 2012: Hmm Monopoly.
      Did you see the talk about the link between dopamine and gambling?
      Could it be that our modern world represents nothing more than a global adiction to dopamine?
      All this rushing about, doing enormous amounts of work and producing these miraculous things.
      Is it at the expense of true well being? Is it our addiction to dopamine being harnessed by heartless game-players?
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      May 2 2012: Just thinking on the word "fun":

      IT is actually 2 words - Achievement and Belonging.
      As you evolve the words,
      Achievement is subordinate to belonging beacuse belonging sets the measure of achievement - by relative "worth" or value to the group.

      So then, there would be 2 vectors of engagement with a game:
      1. From the belonging reference to a group outside the game. In this the value is set by being a champion by acts in the arena. This is the extrinsic game. The Olympics is a good example.
      2. From the belonging reference to the group inside the game. In this, the value is set by the group within the game by mutual success. This is the intrinsic game. Morris dancing is a good example.
      Football is not a good example of the intrinsic, because it is mixed with the extrinsic principles set by the external group defined by teh fans.

      The instant the extrinsic factor impinges on a game, it becomes win/lose and is, ultimately destructive.
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        May 4 2012: So, you are a strong believer in the system where everyone is a winner or win/win situations?
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          May 4 2012: It is an ideal that I believe is essential.

          As with all ideals, it is a guide, not a destination.

          At times of limited resource, the community must, ultimately, form up into win/lose structures. But I'd argue that the resource limit should first be tested for win/win outcomes.
          Once a win/lose situation is defined by the environment, then it would be advantagous to know how to play a win/lose game. But I think that the emphasis of such preparation is antithetical to our basic nature.
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        May 4 2012: It is so true Mitch,

        We don't konw how to prepare properly for such situations or, in some cases, such disasters.

        What to do, What to do......that really bothers me. =(

        I think failure or "fears" of things shadow our judgement?
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          May 4 2012: I think it was demonstrated that a false positive is more valuable than a false negative - in Darwinian terms.
          THis is in all animals. But it creates a paradox for the social animal.
          If it is concsciously understood by the community, then a lot of noise could be reduced from our perception - and bring fear down to manageable proportions.
          One thing I learned from my first fistfight was that I adapted very rapidly.
          Training and technique can lead to reduced conflict - so long as it is preparation aimed at reducing conflict. The master Ninja can fight, but never has to. To practice a martial art (extrinsic game) for the purpose of conflict is not a true martial art.
          However, such preparations do not solve the underlying flaws that produce needless fear and violence.
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    Apr 30 2012: Hey Mitch,

    What is the difference between a game for fun and game of being?
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      Apr 30 2012: WEll . that's what I'm asking .. I don't truly know.
      But, what I do know is that a lot of people get value from life by treating it all as a game. THey get craploads of money doing that, but it is yet to be demonstrated that they get any life.

      These links - including teh talk by Brenda, seem to point elsewhere in the "game" continuum.

      And that's where I need others to hep me understand.

      Like .. just on the face of it, my world-view says that games are for children learnign how to survive life .. but I want to fully understand how the playing of "games" really knits with us from birth to death .. and from that, understand the line that represents the division between use, and abuse. And from that share a wisdom with those I love.
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      Apr 30 2012: I know this - the feathers are for the fool.

      The fool is the wild-card .. the running with the stags.

      He is the only card that moves.

      I suspect that one plays in good or in bad intention.

      And I suspect that few know the difference.
      Least of all me.
      Hence my post.