Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
Laetus in Praesens Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos

1971

Proposal for the Development of a World Game

as a Long-term Educational Technique

- / -


Summary: This note describes a game which could be used to simulate a wide-range of world problems and their effect on world society The game is intended as ana educational tool, mainly for children and teenagers, although it is sufficiently sophisticated to be of interest to adults. It should stimulate the participants to think in terms of many complex and related factors and to encourage new solutions to world problems The game is designed so that participants compete with one another but must cooperate to safe-guard the overall system.


Introduction

Increasing use is being made of both simple and complex games to simulate real life decision-making in business, government, and military administrations, as well as in research on human and international relations. Games are used both for planning purposes and as a technique for training decision-makers in new conceptual techniques. Games such as Monopoly and Totopoly have long been favoured by children, teenagers and adults as pure entertainment. Such games embody certain concepts and require attitudes which may then reinforce existing attitudes employed in real life.

Proposal

It is proposed that a game should be developed which could be sold purely for entertainment. The concepts and problems embodied in the game and the attitudes required would however be selected to reflect the real life problems and attitudes of decision-makers of all types in attempting to move effectively towards a stable and dynamic world society. The game would therefore perform a very important long term educational function.

Examples of similar games

Existing games of this type are generally designed to deal with the decision-making of restricted groups. Most games favour decision-making by diplomats and statesmen in one form or another. The disadvantage of this is that unless game participants have roles in real life which give them the decision-making power of diplomats, the concepts learnt are of little value. The participants cannot apply the concepts to their own circumstances. In addition such games generally only consider factors which are of short term military or political importance, as in real life, and are not designed to handle long term trends which are essential to the stability of the world system.

A game is therefore required which enables participants to take decisions at both a limited local level (where most people operate) and at higher levels, including the international. This approach would establish the conceptual link between the individual and his possibilities and the world system which is currently considered to be hard to define and extremely impersonal. A wide variety of roles and activities is also necessary to reflect the real diversity of individual decision-makers.

Values of the game

A. As a vehicle for new concepts

1. Provides a working concept of the world system for the individual - gives an overview and a sense of unity and coherence - gives depth to the system by showing roles at local, national and international levels - shows variety of structural elements (business, government, private organizations; agreements; etc.) - shows variety of dynamic links between structural elements (meetings, projects, information systems, etc)

2. Demonstrates steps by which the individual may participate within the system - reduces the impersonality of administrative and authority structures - reflects importance and repercussions of individual participation.

3. Demonstrates the relationship between problem areas detected by different disciplines

4. Shows build up of problems in some areas to possible criticality - introduces a sense of urgency - introduces importance of forecasting and long term planning

5. Demonstrates through what channels and organizations the operation of the world system may be controlled and coordinated - shows how an unstable condition may be detected - shows where and when excessive activity, lack of activity, or misdirected activity on the part of the organizations needs to be corrected

B. As an aid to personal development

1. Introduces attitudes which permit the individual to see how he can develop within the world system, in terms of achieving a sense of personal fulfillment and satisfaction

2. Demonstrates the importance of personality stability and progressive integration in a high pressure society

3. Indicates where he may have to give way with others on particular issues, or actively participate, in order to maintain the stability of society

C. As a catalyst for social change

1. The convenient display of relationships and problem areas within society seen as a whole can lead to - expectation of equivalent displays in real life, leading to pressure for their development in the future - encouragement of the interest of students in the overall problems of world society and techniques for their solution which would lead in turn to the development of more sophisticated concepts, control and display techniques.

2. Manipulation of organizations, problems areas and relationships through symbols and mathematical techniques, will lead to acceptance of these techniques as tools for the future - counteracts the tendency to reject such techniques as unrealistic impersonal impositions on the human being - the limited value of such techniques when dealing with the individual, as incorporated into the game, will create an interest in developing more sophisticated tools

D. As an educational technique

1. Provides an effective means of short-circuiting the present lengthy procedure by which new concepts are conveyed through the educational system to the stage of actually being taught to children

2. Is efficient since it circumvents the teacher-pupil communication gap because participants in a game are highly motivated to succeed in acquiring and manipulating concepts necessary to success in the game

3. The game can be designed so that it can be extended by stages to increasing levels of complexity and sophistication -- depending on the level of interest of participants. It could in this way be used by a wide age range.

E. Cost

Apart from the cost of development, the game can be distributed through commercial channels and thus the project becomes self-financing. The game could prove to be a satisfactory educational tool for a number of. years without further modification.

Outline of game

1. The game participants. The game could be played by a number of participants (or teams), perhaps about 5 to 10, who would each have several actual and many potential roles.

2. Participant roles. Each participant could have several roles at the same time. These could be as a citizen, a member of an association, a consumer and an employee or producer, etc. He could also be a leader within any organization, create a new organisation or informal movement, or build up a select or mass communications system, etc.

3. Variety of organizations. In real life, individuals can act through local, regional national, and or international bodies. These may be either governmental, business, or private, non-profit organizations. Provision could be made for participant roles in all such organizations within the game.

4. Fields of interest and endeavour. Independently of their roles within organizations participants could explore fields of interest such as the scientific disciplines, music, religion, philosophy, etc. within the game,

5. Difference between participants. At the start of the game, each participant could be provided with different ability in each sector of his "personality equipment". Each participant would therefore be skilled (potentially) in some areas and less so in others, but would in any case be different from other participants in the specific nature of his handicap. For the purposes of the game, the allocation of ability would be such as to give each participant different, but equivalent, handicaps. Each participant can therefore undertake some roles and some fields of interest more easily than others.

6. Objective of participants. The objective of each participant would be to develop his personal abilities during the course of the game. He can do this by exploring fields of interest or by undertaking roles in organisations. In each case he must attempt to coordinate and control his environment including, perhaps, the roles of some of the other participants.

7. Restriction on development of participants. A participant has to take care when he concentrates on a united range of activity at the expense of other facets of his personality equipment. The game is structured so that excessive imbalance causes stress (equivalent to a health or other breakdown) which reduces his general ability.

8. Effects of participants on world system. The cumulative effect of participants' efforts to improve their individual conditions has a resultant effect on society as a whole. Within the game, this could be averaged, scaled down or delayed. If the resultant effect loads to imbalance within the world system, the facility with which given roles in society can be undertaken is changed, e.g. in an economic depression roles as producers may be difficult to obtain. Excessive imbalance would arise if a majority of participants concentrated for any length of time on a narrow range of activities. The game is structured so that excessive imbalance leads to a crisis which reduces the level of organisation and coordination of society and the general ability of all participants.

9. Object of the game. The object of the game would be to develop the general level of organization and coordination of the world system and to maintain its stability. The participants would therefore be competing in terms of ability within a system (within which one of the would 'win') but would be forced to exercise self-control and co-operate to curb any moves which would lead to excessive instability within the overall system. Any uncontrolled crisis would arbitrarily reduce the ability of individual participants.

10. Visualisation of world system. The level of organization and coordination of the overall system would be indicated on one central board which each participant could check as a guide to his own moves. Indicators would be moved on this board after each cycle of participant action. The design of this board would be very important as an educational visual aid.

11. Visualisation of participant condition. Each participant would also have a board reflecting his involvement in the world system through roles at different levels and in different fields of interest. A second part of the board, not seen by other participants, would indicate his degree of personal organization and coordination.

12. World problems. . Pressure would be placed upon participants as a group by introducing world problems. These would restrict freedom of action and increase the need for participants to concern themselves with the health of the world system. Problems could include acceleration of population growth, food shortage, reduction in space per individual, depletion of natural resources, etc.

13. World issues. Pressure would also be placed upon participants, modifying their freedom of action within the system by inclusion of issues such as human .rights, student revolution, natural conservation, etc.

14. Convergence of game. The game as a whole could be designed to increase in difficulty over time by progressively increasing the importance of world problems. Depending on the time participants want to spend on the game, it could be made to converge quickly or slowly to a period of crisis. During this period, the organizational structures built up by the participants during the course of their endeavours would be put to the text. The game would be a success if the participants succeed in bringing the world system through the stress of convergence (without a global crisis) and each achieve a measure of personal satisfaction which will be evaluated at the end of the game against ability to determine the winner.

Further details of the game

15. Participant control techniques. Participants can reduce pressures threatening the stability of the world system by co-operating on such questions as technological development, education, improvements in communications between different organizational structures within the system, etc. They can also experiment with different processes for electing the decision makers within particular organizational structures, e.g. multiple vote systems, dictatorships, one-man-one-vote systems', etc. Participants can evaluate their progress and the condition of the world system by checking such ratios as: development of discipline/application of knowledge obtained; development of national organization/development of international organization; etc. Analogous ratios could be used by participants to check their individual progress.

16. Over-reaction in participant control. Each technique used by participants to advance themselves and to stabilize the world system can lead to the creation of further problems if used to excess. Such problems might include overproduction, environmental pollution, mental illness, etc.

17. Importance of general development. Although participants have a wide range of roles, the game would be designed to simulate the presence of many other participants. In particular, the game would force participants to concern themselves with the 'voiceless masses'. Ensuring the satisfactory development . of these people would be an important factor in maintaining the long terra stability of the world system.

18. Stages in the development of the world system. As a result of the activity of participants, the overall system would become increasingly organized. Certain levels of stability, marking stages in the game, could therefore be achieved. At each higher level the stability of organizational structures created by participants is increased -- they last longer. 'This would be particularly important for the more fragile international and world -- wide structures, Higher levels of stability reduce the danger of crises.

19. Importance of personal development. The game would be designed to force participants to concern themselves with the neglected parts of their own personality. Ensuring their satisfactory development would be an important factor in maintaining the long term stability of the participant.

20. Stages in the development of the participant. As a result of the initiatives taken during the game the participant should have been able to develop and coordinate his personality equipment" Certain stages in this development can be marked off, which in the game make it easier for him to make certain moves and reduce his personal danger in world system crises.

21. Moves and calculation of results. Moves for each participant would be based on thrown dice. Two dice could be used. The participant could choose whether he wished to use all the "energy" simulated by the throw on increasing his participation in the world system or en development of knowledge or on his personal development. The effect of his throw would be scaled according to the facility for his personality of the line of action chosen. Scaling and other calculations could be performed manually on a simple device

22. Extension of game to increase sophistication. Units could be added to the game if participants wanted a more complex version taking into account more factors.

23. Text accompanying the game. The text would be used to give a unified, coherent verbal framework backing up the concepts used in the game.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

For further updates on this site, subscribe here