Crafted Reading - The Infinite Game¶
An all-encompassing discussion of games: spanning from game rules to human relations, personas, war and religion. James Carse helps us find deeper meaning in the games we play, and challenges our notions of what games truly are.
The rules of an infinite game must change in the course of play. The rules are changed when the players of an infinite game agree that the play is imperiled by a finite outcome—that is, by the victory of some players and the defeat of others. The rules of an infinite game are changed to prevent anyone from winning the game and to bring as many persons as possible into the play.
Blockchains and open-source projects flourish because of processes like the EIP, ensuring the infinite game of building the open internet stays in motion. As the hype fluctuates between Defi and NFTs, Ethereum's core devs soldier on.
A finite game occurs within a world... We are players in search of a world as often as we are world in search of players, and sometimes we are both at once. Some worlds pass quickly into existence, and quickly out of it. Some sustain themselves for longer periods, but no world lasts forever... There is an indefinite number of worlds.
While finite "number go up" games are prominent in Web 3, there are arguably more valuable infinite games going on behind the scenes. One of these is Coil's Web Monetization / Interledger API, a promising open-source effort to lessen our reliance on the attention economy.
For our last breakout activity, we'll share the gift of knowledge with our Kernel peers.
Kernel fellows should pair up and discuss with each other what our plans are for after Kernel, and what finite game that we are playing that we want to win. These finite games are usually the same as our key success metrics, such as reach a daily active user count of X, or reach total value locked for our token of Y.
Our partner will then try and identify a corresponding infinite game that we could be playing after our initial finite game ends. Take turns doing this, and we may find that we are playing similar games. Afterwards, try to make plans to keep in touch with each other, and to lend support to each other as Kernel fellows.
A Word of Thanks¶
Thank you for going on the Kernel Gaming Track adventure!
As we shuffle out the corridors of Airmeet and prepare ourselves for the next chapter, I share this gift of words from James Baldwin. May you find as much truth, value and meaning from it as I have.
For nothing is fixed,
forever, forever, forever,
it is not fixed;
the earth is always shifting,
the light is always changing,
the sea does not cease to grind down rock.
Generations do not cease to be born,
and we are responsible to them
because we are the only witnesses they have.
The sea rises, the light fails,
lovers cling to each other,
and children cling to us.
The moment we cease to hold each other,
the moment we break faith with one another,
the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
-- James Baldwin