Game of Life – The Rewards

game rewards
What are  the Rewards for Playing the Game of Life successfully?

In the preceding posts on the Rules and Play of the Game of Life, I explored how the rules of any game shape the playing of that game. Also, the play of a game determines the rewards possible. Seemingly simplistic, eh?

Actually the formula is Rules > Play > Reward , and changing any  of those three factors affects the others.

A fairly cool little game to play is to reverse the formula: Reward > Play > Rules . It runs something like this: “If I want reward X, I need to play Y, and that means Z is in effect…” A quick practical example: If I want ice cream, I need to pay some money, and that means I have to work. Simplistic, again, but I think you can see a few applications…

While I was researching ideas for this series of posts, I was playing the game Civilization IV. It’s an awesome simulation of the conditions and processes of civilization-building. It endeavors to model history, so, most of the normal play of the game involves politics, subjugation, and war.

I luckily discovered an option the designers provided called Always Peace.

Change the rules and you change the way you play the game and the rewards you can expect…

So, what rewards did I reap by playing Civilization in the mode that eliminated war and all its nasty offspring?

The first reward was realizing things I’d already learned intellectually in a hands-on, emotional way.

Next would be the awareness that building a prosperous civilization is very hard work even when war isn’t in the equation.

Then, the painful awareness of my citizens’ suffering from my mismanagement of the factors of growth.

And also the joy, even though it’s only  a game, when I’d managed things well and my people were fed and happy and productive.

There are many other rewards I gained but those four stand out like blazing stars in the dark of life’s struggles.

I need to mention another simulation game that has a multitude of practical applications—it was created as a training tool for nonviolent response to oppressive situations–A Force More Powerful.

So, here ends the tale of my playing life-imitating games. What about the Rewards gained from Playing the Real Game of Life?

Spiritual Quotes:

“The rewards of this life are the virtues and perfections which adorn the reality of man. For example, he was dark and becomes luminous, he was ignorant and becomes wise, he was neglectful and becomes vigilant, he was asleep and becomes awakened, he was dead and becomes living, he was blind and becomes a seer, he was deaf and becomes a hearer, he was earthly and becomes heavenly, he was material and becomes spiritual. Through these rewards he gains spiritual birth, and becomes a new creature.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith, p. 323

“As the usefulness and powers of the life (of a child) were not seen in that dark and narrow world (of the womb), but when it is brought into this vast world, all the use of its growth and development becometh manifest and obvious in it, so likewise, reward and punishment, paradise and hell, and the requital of deeds and actions done by it in the present life become manifest and evident when it is transferred to the world to come—which is far from this world! Had the life and growth of the child in the womb been confined to that condition, then the existence of the child in the womb would have proved utterly abortive and unintelligible; as would the life of this world, were its deeds, actions and their results not to appear in the world to come.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 644

“The sacrifices involved, the courage, faith, and perseverance…[a pioneering spiritual life] demands, are no doubt very great. Their value, however, can never be properly assessed at the present time, and the limitless reward which they who demonstrate them will receive can never be adequately depicted…. Such a reward, it should be noted, is not to be regarded as purely an abstract blessing confined to the future life, but also as a tangible benefit which such courage, faith and perseverance can alone confer in this material world.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, The Advent of Divine Justice, pp. 67-68

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Game of Life – Playing It

game of life_playing
How do you play the Game of Life?

What Rules have you adopted?

What Rewards do you expect?

In the last post in this series I explored ideas about how the rules adopted for a game define the way it’s played and the rewards it can offer.

This post is about how we play  the Game of Life.

In preparation for writing this series of posts I resurrected a game I’d played about a year ago; a simulation game that lets you learn the basics of how to build a civilization. I highly recommend this game, as a fun pastime and as a tool to sharpen your awareness of what actually goes into the long and arduous process of civilization-building. Check it out: Civilization IV.

As far as the effect the rules of a game have on how it’s played, I’ll offer this experience:

A year ago, I played Civilization IV for a number of months. Since it models the actual circumstances of many cultures and nations, over most of recorded history, as they attempt to establish their conception of “civilization”, it’s real heavy on the implementation of war and all of its necessities.

I “gamely” persisted in being a peaceful participant in these attempts at building “civilization”. I became, in spite of the game’s superb design and its fidelity to historical circumstance, extremely frustrated. All my attempts to introduce peaceful principles were engulfed by the war-centered Rules of the game…

When I resurrected the game, to research the principles underlying these posts on the Game of Life, I fortuitously discovered an option called “Always Peace”.

Eureka!!!

Now, I could play the game and avoid the grit and grime and death and destruction of war.

Some of the people on the forum that supports the game were puzzled by my desire to play with all the options of war eliminated. Someone even declared that it must be real boring.

Nope, not boring at all. In fact, with war eliminated, I could actually concentrate on what builds  a real Civilization. I could pay attention to the people  in my cities—their  wants and needs—, I could make profitable decisions about how much industry we needed, how much culture we needed, how to balance material and spiritual aspirations (Yes!  This game includes spirituality and it has profound effects on the material success of civilization-building.)

And, to broaden the whole concept of playing the Game of Life, please realize that people don’t have to actively embrace war to have inclinations of behavior that can and have  led to war: selfishness, prejudice, intolerance, religious extremism, egregious nationalism, racism, and materialism, to name just a few.

So, let’s entertain those opening questions again:

How do you  play the Game of Life?

What Rules have you  adopted?

What Rewards do you  expect?

Spiritual Quotes:

“Their own instincts, no less than the fury of conservative forces, the opposition of vested interests, and the objections of a corrupt and pleasure-seeking generation, must be reckoned with, resolutely resisted, and completely overcome. As their defensive measures for the impending struggle are organized and extended, storms of abuse and ridicule, and campaigns of condemnation and misrepresentation, may be unloosed against them. Their Faith, they may soon find, has been assaulted, their motives misconstrued, their aims defamed, their aspirations derided, their institutions scorned, their influence belittled, their authority undermined, and their Cause, at times, deserted by a few who will either be incapable of appreciating the nature of their ideals, or unwilling to bear the brunt of the mounting criticisms which such a contest is sure to involve.”
Messages to America: Selected Letters and Cablegrams Addressed to the Bahá’ís of North America, 1932-1946, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 144

“The fate-laden world ordeal is moving in steady, pre-ordained crescendo. The blaze of a seemingly uncontrollable fire is leaping, ravaging the last remaining great Power on the European continent. Shadows of God’s retributive act are fast gathering. As the arena of world convulsing contest broadens; as wounds it inflicts deepen; as issues it raises aggravate and multiply, so will the operation of the spiritual forces, destined to cast the burden of a travailing age, be accelerated.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, Messages to America, p. 48

Major Statement of how People’s Rights have been Subjugated with the prevailing Rules of the Game:

“By far the greatest tragedy resulting from this latest contest for world domination was the blight that it cast over the hopes with which formerly subject peoples had welcomed the opportunity they believed they had been given to build a new life of their own devising. The obstinate determination of some of the surviving colonial powers to suppress such hopes, though doomed to failure in the eyes of any objective observer, had left the urge for liberation in many countries with no recourse but to assume the character of revolutionary struggle. By 1960, such movements, which had already been a feature of the political landscape during the earlier decades of the century, were coming to represent the principal form of indigenous political activity in most subject nations.

“Since the driving force of colonialism itself was economic exploitation, it was perhaps inevitable that most movements of liberation assumed a broadly socialistic ideological cast. Within only a few short years, these circumstances had created a fertile ground for exploitation by the world’s superpowers. For the Soviet Union, the situation seemed to offer an opportunity to induce a shift in the existing alignment of nations by gaining a preponderating influence in what was by now beginning to be called the ‘Third World’. The response of the West—wherever development aid failed to retain the loyalties of recipient populations—was to resort to the encouragement and arming of a wide variety of authoritarian regimes.

“As outside forces manipulated new governments, attention was increasingly diverted from an objective consideration of developmental needs to ideological and political struggles that bore little or no relation to social or economic reality. The results were uniformly devastating. Economic bankruptcy, gross violations of human rights, the breakdown of civil administration and the rise of opportunistic elites who saw in the suffering of their countries only openings for self-enrichment—such was the heartbreaking fate that engulfed one after another of the new nations who, only short years before, had begun life with such great promise.”
Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 88

The next post looks at the Rewards of the Game of Life.

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Game of Life – The Rules

rules Let’s accept for the moment that Life can be viewed as a Game.

The rules of any game define its play and determine the rewards possible. Kids are real good at trying to change the rules mid-game to adjust the play and, hopefully, make the rewards favor their position (and, sometimes, they’ll want to change the rules just to see what happens—flexing their creativity).

Before I present some of Life’s Rules, I want to mention just a bit of game history:

There are two games that could claim the oldest tag: The Royal Game of Ur and Senet. Both were found in tombs since the respect afforded games back in the 2000-3000 B.C. era was so high—spiritually powerful in some estimations—the rulers were given a game to play while they roamed the realms of the afterlife, helping them cope with the dangers of the Journey.

Some links on game history:

Astral Castle

Royal Game of Ur

Senet

So, if Life can be viewed as a Game, what are the Rules?

It used to be said that Life doesn’t come with Instructions. Some rely on the old (and generally true) adage, “Mom knows best.”

It can be difficult to discern the Rules of the Game of Life. There are so many Players, each hoping the Rules they’ve been using will help them reach the Rewards they seek—so many different sets of Rules, so much disunity—that we witness in our Family’s history conflict after conflict, all based on particular rulers’ sets of Rules, all played to secure material rewards (even those that claim a spiritual purpose).

If you believe there’s a spiritual foundation to Life—if you think there are Principles that can help the Rider of Soul control the Horse of Body—you will eventually discover that Life is a Game that demands Sacrifice, Compassion, Courage, Honesty, and many other virtuous Rules.

We struggle to stay in the Game, we change the Rules when we feel we’re losing, we play with fervor when the Reward is within reach. Let’s hope we all can learn the Spiritual Rules of Life—learn them so well we don’t make others run from our Game, know the Rules so well we don’t abandon them when the Rewards seem far away and our poor physical Horse gets frustrated and tries to throw off the Soul-Rider…

Spiritual Quotes:

“O ye beloved ones! It is the moment of the ecstasy of the soul and consciousness and the season of running in the arena of sacrifice! Show ye kindness to all; be ye engaged in the refinement of the souls. Become ye as ignited lamps and adorn ye the orchard of being! These days are swiftly passing and this mortal life will remain fruitless and without result. Therefore, while there is yet time and the arrow is in the bow, enter ye the chase and strike ye the game. This game is the good-pleasure of God, and this chase is the merciful Providence; that is, living in accord with the divine instructions.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 573

“The young prophet from Nazareth was indeed asking of His auditors a great deal. He was asking them to give up usages and customs, ways of thought and habits of belief which had been honoured among them for centuries and which had become firmly entrenched in the hearts and the lives of all. He called upon them to trust themselves, soul, spirit, and body too, to the new teaching of one who offered them no recognised human credentials whatever. The crisis was indeed a test of spiritual faith and of moral courage. It was meant to be so. It was designed to separate the true-hearted from the insincere, those who genuinely believed in God from those who played a game of make-believe.
George Townshend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 118

The next post will explore how we actually play the Game of Life

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The Game of Life – Introduction

game of life intro

Is life a game?

From Wikipedia: “A game is a structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes also used as an educational tool. Games are generally distinct from work…and from art…However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work or art….”

I’ll be posting three more articles in this series:

Part One—the Rules of the Game of Life

Part Two—the Playing of the Game of Life

Part Three—the Rewards of the Game of Life

Should take me about two days per article since I’ll be playing doing research with a simulation game called Civilization IV as I write the series.

The connections among Life, Games, and Spirituality will unfold as we go along………

Spiritual Quotes:

“You are the game that death stalketh; stand and he seizeth you, fly and he followeth.”

“The stalwart is he who overcometh himself.”
Marzieh Gail, From the Sayings of ‘Ali, Dawn Over Mount Hira, p. 14

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