Saturday, April 29, 2017

A Puzzle

I would rather work a puzzle than play a game and here’s why: 
  • puzzles lead to solutions and games end with a judgment; 
  • puzzles cultivate will and games exploit weakness; 
  • puzzles foster cooperation and games nurture rivalry; 
  • puzzles elevate, encourage, bring completion and satisfaction to everyone who participates while in games thrive castigation, discouragement, irresolution and dissatisfaction.
(disclaimer: CrossFit is the only exception to games because it's a lifestyle.)

The difference between puzzles and games may also be seen by considering what it means to “win.” G. K. Chesterton published in 1910, “There is no such thing as backing a winner. There is no such thing as fighting on the winning side. One fights to find out which is the winning side.” (In “Part One: The Homelessness of Man,” What’s Wrong with the World.) 

The Far Side by Gary Larson
Who is The Brave Man? Socrates wondered if this was the one who with assistance fights against fewer and weaker men from a stronger position . . . ?

What got me thinking about this was my exploration into why there exists such disunity among people. Why are we divided? Why does segregation happen? These things happen because of selfishness, simply, and disunity is the outcome. 

How can two sides work toward a solution if they compete? Solutions are unattainable! Think of what this means when people strive for unity but are in competition: they remain divided. Every attempt to come together is compromised as long as the gap of segregation remains unbridged. “Sure, we can come together, but we must do it my way.” This kind of thinking changes the way people relate to others and the outcome is almost always disastrous. 


You can’t eat (much less pick up) a pizza unless it's divided. The divisions are not any less “pizza,” and are still part of the whole. You can’t very well put a dollar bill into the parking meter, but need a small division of money. Contrast this against segregation (and here I am thinking “racial segregation”). How many races are there? And if there is more than one, wouldn’t it be appropriate to drop “human race” from our vocabulary? This kind of division works no more than slicing off a part of my pizza and calling it “bread sticks.”

Segregation is good when necessary. For example, employees of a corporation are just that: employees; but there are some meetings that only administrators or executives need attend and not clerks or janitors. I am happy NOT to sit on the President’s Cabinet, or the Dean’s Cabinet, for that matter; but when it comes to strategic thinking on a matter that crosses my desk, you bet I’ll be there!

Here’s the point: humans are hostile because we are fallen creatures. This excuses nothing and affects everything. My former next door neighbors would not talk to me because they broke into my house—they damaged our relationship and support others who do the same. 

We do the same thing when we lie, for example. We don’t live with the best interest of someone else in mind. Instead, we make it a game so we come out looking good in the end. The best interest of someone else should be our own, a puzzle for us to solve together.

(re-post from July 2011)

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