“James Carse, in his book Finite and Infinite Games, describes a world of finite games in which winners and losers, rules, boundaries, and time are all extremely important. In the world of finite games, titles acquisitions, and prestige are of paramount significance. Planning, strategy, and secrecy are all crucial. To become a master player in the world of finite games you have an audience who knows the rules and who will grant you a reputation. Being identified with losers in the finite game is frightening and dangerous. The finite game values bodies, things, and reputations. The ultimate loss is death.
In his book, Carse explains that the final result of the finite game is self-annihilation because the machines that we invent to assist in this finite game of winners and losers will destroy those who rely upon them. Technology, marketing, productivity are all terms to encourage players to buy more machines and one’s worth is dependent on how many machines players have and how well they operate them.
There is also the infinite game, which you can begin to play if you so choose. In this game there are no boundaries: the forces are infinite that allow the flowers to grow and those forces cannot be tamed or controlled. The purpose of the infinite game is to get more people to play, to laugh, dance and sing. Life itself is infinitely non-understandable. These forces were here before we were and will continue beyond the boundaries of death and time.
While the finite player must debate and learn the language/rules to operate all the machines, the infinite player speaks from the heart and knows that answers are beyond words and explanations. This is not to imply that players of the infinite game cannot also play finite games, it’s just that they don’t know how to take the finite games seriously.
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