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The Longest Now

Inside finite games looking out
Monday January 02nd 2006, 3:04 pm
Filed under: chain-gang

Inside a game, life and value and equivalence are quite different than
they are outside.   If one could turn one’s perceptions
inside out, and somehow look out of a local game, the value warping
would be visible as a certain colorful rainbow effect…

Consider a classroom, or a staged event, or a casino.  Or
something complex, such as a social group.  Value can be locked up
in any number of things…  People act differently about what they
want when they have access to a pantry of free food, or when they have
to pay for it on the spot; when they are freerolling, or when they’ve
paid some small amount for something; when they are being Instructed,
and when they are learning with an extra understanding of free choice.

Perhaps the most obvious examples are people who process large
quantiitiies of goods, money,
and people.  Captains, freight
shippers, stocktraders, gamblers, train conductors,
pilots…    Inside one such game, I possess a year of
tournament fees.  Inside another, partial ‘ownership’ of several
spectacular dwellings and constructs, and a local title.  In a
third, original-authorship of a widely-referenced and updated dataset;
in a fourth, position in a world-famous clan.  Attempting to
translate any one of these into any other, or to compare their values –
hundreds or thousands of hours, dollars, connections – across the
prismatic boundaries of their games…  would be difficult and
inaccurate at best; impossible or dangerous at worst.

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