Practice Transforming the World, Non-Violently

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August 17, 2006

Shhhhh . . . listen . . . can you hear it?

There is a strange and wonderful symbiosis occurring, and it's heading our way! The population explosion, the Internet, computers--all of these are combining in strange ways to power the creation of peace.

Julian Simon argued well that humanity creates wealth and that more people on this planet equates with a wealthier world. The argument is that wealth is choice, and the more minds there are living and reacting with the world, the more ideas, options, avenues, products, solutions that there will be from which to choose.

Behold: is a really cool place for nerds and nerd wannabees (me) to hang out. I am fascinated by ideas, and this site brings together the discussions and conferences, and interviews-with-the-makers of the future. Poking through these files, listening to various listings, two files caught my attention like the Allman Brothers Band burning up the stage under a hot Atlanta sun.

First, the conference: Pop!Tech 2005. Next: the session on the evolution of gaming technology and design. The theme that really catches my attention here is the idea that games are getting to the level of evolution and sophistication where you now not only have to discover the rules of the game as you go along, but that you can also create some of the dynamics yourself so that you must, just like in real life, figure it out as you go--but also, as a player on the stage of life, you create your world even as you inhabit and negotiate it. These games are literally able to grow better brains in their users. Wow. Games as tools of mental development.

Old games: There are rules. We read or hear the rules and then attempt to become proficient in using these rules more skillfully than our opponents. So much more tidy than real life, where what the rules were last year are not what they are today, and just when we think we've got it figured out as to where we stand with the rule-set today, the Supreme Court comes along and says that no-knock searches are okay, and warrants can be written by the cop at the scene and, just for jollies, you can be held in secret with no charges, no access to a lawyer, and no idea when or if you'll ever see the light of day and your beloveds again. See what I mean? Life doesn't really follow the rules. Sometimes a piece changes color in the middle of a move and slides into an underground wormhole to reappear as Darth Vader just when you thought it was your next door neighbor the good cop--whose daughter has been taking care of your infants while you went out for a movie . . . .

As an example there was Slobodan Milosevic. We pretty much knew he was Darth Vader, but how to take back control from the likes of him without becoming just like him? The place was Serbia , and Ivan Marovic was there, lived there, was under the thumb there, was a revolutionary there--a founding member of Otpor, the student political group. An engineering student, he helped to motivate other students in non-violent actions, which eventually led to the downfall of Milosevic. It was a time of experimentation with methods and techniques. (from Factbytes): 'Otpor is leaderless and anti-hierarchical, a key to having successfully avoided the dragnet of Milosevic's secret police, and, as the kids put it, a natural response to a lifetime of leadership cult.' Fade out . . .

. . . Fade In

Now, time having passed, we find that Marovic has taken his passion and the lessons he learned in the crucible of tyranny and joined with BreakAway Games to create a new game called "A Force More Powerful" where players can practice the tactics of non-violent defeat of tyranny. Players control variables so that all sorts of conditions and actors can be examined to not only see which will be the more effective, but simultaneously building experience, confidence, and reinforcing the patterns of success on the virtual stage. Reinforcing those patterns which will be more likely to lead to success when needed in real word encounters.

Think of what this means: trial and error without actual mace and bullets and handcuffs. Learn how to be successful dealing with different scenarios, different psychological opponents. Understand when you can press your advantage and when to demur. Practice these things until they become second nature. NOW you are ready to go out into the real world, educate, better prepared, emotions in control because you now have more understanding and confidence in the dynamics which are likely to play out. You've been here before!

But Wait! as they say on late night TV, there's more!

The game is designed so that you may share settings with others via a website. Share your successful ideas with others around the world, learn from their mistakes. Mentor others in non-violent regime change.

I find this so terribly exciting. $20 plus shipping. And continuing development on this game is in the works. And you were maybe thinking that the future was looking bleak, weren't you? Hah!.

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