What I meant by “game”

A filter statement, if there ever was one

Original post: https://josephmatheny.substack.com/p/what-i-meant-by-game

The above excerpt is from a book I’m currently reading and enjoying, This Is the Strangest Life I’ve Ever Known: A Psychological Portrait of Jim Morrison by Ana Leorne. I was impressed by this quote because it aligns with something I am working through as I write Ong’s Hat: Compleat.

When it became clear in 2000/2001 that people clearly did not understand what I was trying to do with the Ong’s Hat “sacred game” (or living book as I often called it back then), I broke the fourth wall momentarily. I pointed out that there was and always had been an explanation on the CD ROM, which served as the center point for the game at the time. If you want to see it, download the ISO, use something like WinRAR or any ISO extractor, and open the Secret.pdf in the /eXtras folder.

Rather than calming the waters, my admission stirred some people up even more. It ultimately resulted in me canceling the game due to unbridled hostility on the forum over their inability to grasp a simple concept, such as not all play implies winners and losers. Sometimes, it can be about playing for the simple joy of playing. (Read your Homo Ludens).

The misunderstanding persists to this day, with people not being able to understand what an infinite game is and persisting in acting out the only thing they know: zero-sum games. The problem, as I see it now, is that I was speaking a language that some people do not understand. To most people, a game means something trivial or a cause to seek domination, nothing more, definitely not as something sacred.

It astounds me how incapable and unwilling so many people are to grasp a concept that seems so simple. Play for the joy of playing. More about that in Compleat in 2024.

As you can see from the quote above, Jim Morrison got it, and thankfully, I know some of you here get it. I know because you’ve written and expressed it, or we’ve spoken, and it came across. That’s why you are here. So, this is a note to thank you if you’re one of those people, and I wish you all the best in the coming year.

As a side note, in 2013, I spent a week living in Jim’s old room at the Alta Cienega motel and was surprised and amused to see the graffiti below among all the scrawls and scratches on the walls and furniture in the room.

2024 will be full of new things, some of which we might enjoy.