Most people would profess ignorance of any “world game” which is sounding more like Hunger Games at the moment, let alone a “round two”. I also write about some World Game Museum, even more obscure.
But with some nudging and historical cues, about as many might begrudgingly allow that “yes, World Game was real enough” at the time Dr. Fuller shared it with his co-conspirators, back in the dawn of the Aquarian Age.
The backdrop, as of this writing in 2019:
One nation (France) is in turmoil against its own government, protesting lowering living standards, whereas, another nation, a certain federation of states (and territories) in the western hemisphere, is suffering a “nervous breakdown” and semi-paralysis.
I’ve been given a delay notice myself, relating to California’s operating system (OS) having dependencies of its own (Silicon Valley talk).
I’m using my being furloughed to catch up a little in IT World, always fast-moving.
For example, I’ve updated my Node installation to run create-react-app in the OSX shell. Next, I’ll be looking more deeply at ReasonML, the new syntax Facebook has given to Ocaml in order to make it a part of the web developers’ tool set.
I’m reading talk proposals for OSCON this year, and since I’m furloughed, I’m putting that time to good use.
My work as a Python instructor (Node is ES6, however Python and Facebook’s React work together) takes me back into more generic CS stuff (computer science), as “how to think like a computer scientist” was a major genre for lets say a high school readership.
I’d been a high school teacher myself, mostly math, at the beginning of the hypertext revolution (Ted Nelson et al, later CERN, see below). I was thinking about hypertext too, and how it would facilitate our “glass bead games” in the future. That future is now.
Lets remember “high school” refers to grade levels within a curriculum more than to any specific age group. However a cross-linking of these language games (mental levels versus physical ages) has somewhat clogged the mental arteries, impoverishing the mental throughput of a thinking segment, turning it more unthinking (what medical doctors might call necrosis or morbidity).
Because of this confusion of “high school” with age or generation, we forget that we could all use more high school level content (bordering on community college) and might make “a learning lifestyle” a paying prospect if we play our cards right as a species, blessed by solar fusion and a rich biosphere.
A lot of us are looking to blockchain technologies to facilitate this transition. High school (or call it college) could be our safety net, regardless of physical age. When you need to make a transition, you won’t have to risk losing so much. People who hate the line of work they’re in should not be forced to stay in it, for the benefit of those they serve.
Paralysis (or semi-paralysis) relates to “unthinking segments” ganging up (aggregating) in social media (e.g. television) and clogging various circuits, crowding out still thinking (active) segments. Competence is diminished. People worry about “lasting brain damage” in a metaphoric sense. Or should we be expecting this shutdown process to be therapeutic?
Perhaps the nervous system is failing in its ability to “do” or maybe we’re awakening to see our earlier beliefs were superstitious (cite P. D. Ouspensky). We haven’t been “doing” for a long time, if ever, or at least not in the way we had imagined. The result is a sense of autonomy both lost, and potentially gained.
We hear of lot of “tsk tsking” from doctors looking down on the sick bed, but have they a cure? The District was bogging down, deeply in debt even before the shutdown. We were right to question whether the condition was actually curable.
Some computer viruses attack their host in a similar manner. If the goal is to play parasite then it’s not smart to kill the host right away.
In computer science, we encourage thinking in terms of “types”, which the institution of “high school” tends to do also, though in that case we’re talking “stereotypes”.
The computer languages station “bouncers” as gatekeepers to keep the wrong types from entering whatever scopes of operation, or call them cliques. If you’re not “cool” in the right way, you’ll be barred from specific inner circles. So form your own?
Your cohort becomes a kind of cast, as kids [sic] especially invent themselves into their own futures. Role playing goes with the territory. We study theater (if we’re lucky) and act in plays. The Overseas School of Rome provided all of that for me, and I was still in middle school, becoming mentally mature for my age thanks to my classics-rich environment.
However, I do emphasize and sympathize with our cultural practice of devoting childhood and young adulthood to a more socialized and socializing lifestyle (called “school”).
That’s a socialism they’re then expected to grow out of, if surrounded by capitalist mom and pop shops who distrust anything socialist. Sure the kids will need social skills, before going into business for themselves, as CEOs of their startup ventures. But we don’t want them buying into this “equality” nonsense, if that means everyone is equally poor. “Celebrate winners” is a message we hear a lot as kids, and as adults also. But then socialism has that too.
During the early years, one’s mind is more plastic and future possibilities seem more wide open. Getting into this mindset is conducive to the learning process. “Become as a little child to enter heaven” is good hallmark advice. You have all the time in the world. You’re free to dive in.
Currently, the state (e.g. Oregon) provides daycare in a social contract between parents and the business community. That social contract says commuting to work every day is a better way to organize the economy, versus staying home with the kids and learning as a family. Refugees may not always see the sense in dividing up the family right when the going gets rough.
Career teachers supplement daycare with introductions to the various vocations for which students might train. The students, if French speaking, learn of their French heritage. Spanish is currently the most widespread human language. Public schools sometimes bring these language communities together, as do public libraries. My native language is English as filtered through many cultures.
The alternative practice, homeschooling, or learning from home, is maybe an option for some, given district provided options and relative self-sufficiency in terms of food and access to housing, for at least one of the parents or guardians. But not everyone is so privileged, not by a long shot. The more usual case is for students to “drop out” of the socialized system and to jump in as workers supporting some family business. Once they’re old enough.
In more urban or developed areas, access to housing may be taken away if this social contract, to put the kids in schools and go to work, is disobeyed. Both biological parents have little choice but to serve as breadwinners in many of the more developed neighborhoods. Bankers own much of the equity and expect mortgage payments. Dr. Fuller hoped to help us find a way out of this maze.
Clearly I’m sketching some broad brush stroke pictures, doing like anthropology. I’m including some autobiography as well.
I currently live in a developed neighborhood, though not a gated one. Our kids went to public high schools here in Portland, Oregon. I worked as a parent volunteer, between paid gigs as an instructor and programmer (an application developer, sometimes in overlap with medical science).
One of Oregon’s two federation level senators, Jeff Merkley, is these days saying his political party (self branding as Democrats) should advance a more defined vision of how the sovereign states might continue in peaceful coexistence, minus some specific wall (thousands of miles long) between two of them (the other one being Mexico). During the Reagan Era, some people worried about the United Nations rolling tanks up from Managua and trying to force residents to surrender their guns. That turned out to be science fiction, but the feeling we might need a wall remained.
A state of national emergency (martial law?) has been threatened (by the president), given the looming possibility of a cross-border invasion, if not Reagan’s then one like it. The state of continuing shutdown is a variant (a form of crisis management), but does not currently come with a curfew or new rules against public assembly.
The District has already given itself great powers since previous threats to its own security. Shutting itself down from within, is a game for insiders only. We’ve seen the dress rehearsals.
The District has conducted a big invasion itself recently, in Mesopotamia, and understands about the negative consequences to the homeland in question. “Don’t let Mexico do to us what we did to Iraq” may be the thinking in high places, especially among so-called “neocons” (a type of extremist, prone to credulity).
Making every state in both hemispheres a part of the same loose-knit federation or empire is apparently seen as an endgame by the neocons in the central government (“The District”) which aspires to recruit talented youth for its “NATO hunger games” (one name for them) around the world.
The NATO coalition is in Afghanistan, has been for years, providing District management expertise. Bombers come from all over with their deadly payloads.
This is one way to play world game, which one need not admire as necessarily the best. The District calls it a “war on terror” and does not consider “alternatives” to its war games a big priority.
Dr. Fuller’s game, on the other hand, was to make outward war obsolete in favor of this more hopeful genre. His goals overlapped those of Friends (“Quakers”) in many ways. I was born into 57th Street Meeting, my parents both being convinced Friends.
I joined the Fuller conspiracy (or call it World Game), in terms of promoting the global grid (now a Chinese undertaking), much more recently, after schooling at Princeton.
On my Amazon school software (I’m talking about my Kindle reader), I’m currently reading American Dreamer, by a Canadian, about the American Transcendentalist canon. Long quotes from Emerson.
Scott Eastham, the author, suggests R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe as a perfect introduction to Dr. Fuller’s thinking.
The playwright himself, Douglas W. Jacobs, was my guest in Portland here recently. We hadn’t met in person for ten years. He gifted me with a copy of his play in Polish.
Scott Eastham circles this gigantic structure in Mohawk Nation (part of the Iroquois federation, using the shoptalk of Benjamin Franklin’s day), as being part of Planet Bucky.
Then he casts Lewis Mumford as contra Planet Bucky, which he presumably regarded as too coldly Borg-like, too dystopian. I’d add Wendell Berry to Mumford’s crew.
Scott’s goal is to promote dialog between different schools of thought about the future (much as I’m doing here).
I’m currently prepping for Martian Math class, which is often back burner to my more mainstream Python (the computer language), which latter uses the more universal coordinate system canvas (UI) of Fermat and Descartes.
Actually, Martian Math is thoroughly vested in XYZ coordinates as well, using Quadrays for contrast, as an alien apparatus (“Martian”).
In Machine Learning (which MM embraces) we embrace conventional n-dimensional linear algebra, even while using a “4D caltrop” as a beacon within our UI / UX.
Martian Math uses science fiction to explore both possible and impossible worlds, with a focus on what might count as the ethno-mathematics in each one, insofar as the creatives behind these worlds have specified or hinted.
Think of Uru by Cyan Software as a good example of an alternative fictive culture, with its own PATH (humanities) and STEM (engineering).
In our day, CERN, a STEM enterprise, is in charge of cosmology insofar as opposing proton guns providing a font of energy entities (particles), each characterized by quantum numbers, give us a Theory of Everything (TOE).
These particles (fermions, bosons) teach us about Big Bang conditions, 13.7 billion years ago, and about the evolution of conventional matter & energy ever since. We’ve learned about the life cycle of stars.
The dark energy, in contrast, missing details in the current model, is the primary constituent of the CERN universe, with Periodic Table materials accounting for only about five percent of what must be out there, based on gravitational readings.
However, UFOs are supposedly made of periodic table elements, not dark matter, as the latter is undetectable by material instruments whereas the former are often visible to the naked eye, and certainly to recording devices.
Rather than wading in and trying to upset any apple carts in this STEM ecosystem, I’ve been working off to the side in PATH (the humanities) with my set of polyhedrons, ranking them in order of volume a lot of the time. This set is somewhat finite in number, even though in principle we know every grain of sand is different.
A simple set of polyhedrons provides grist for the mill to those learning programming languages, and to those wanting to crack some geometric code languages, likewise in the humanities.
These polyhedrons are nowadays considered public domain, owned in common by the people as “public intellectual properties” (PIPs). They are not the exclusive property of some tiny percent, an elite minority, entitled to deny access, charge royalties or licensing fees, or otherwise corner the market.
The public nature of this IP doesn’t mean people have no patents or copyrights in this vicinity. On the contrary, Bucky himself accrued many of both. I’m simply making the point that, in our legal code, we’ve socialized a few basic patterns and various molecules by deeming them “owned by no one in particular”.
Other systems of jurisprudence may encode even fewer rights to ownership, or grant non-humans greater claims. Science fiction may usefully focus on property rights when painting some ethnic group. Computer system design is likewise concerned with concepts of ownership and authentication, and the CS culture has given rise to many wrinkles, when it comes to IP, including but not limited to the GNU GPL versions (public licenses, copyleft).
The infrastructure in my particular school is about providing tools for “Planet CERN” or any other so-called planet (namespace, world), to take its place in some sky relative to other planets (as in a graph database), private or public or both.
Picture a network of nodes, such as airports, connecting around in all circumferential directions, akin to on Planet Earth (the literal planet, fourth from the Sun).
CERN is in both France and Switzerland and is “the homeland” of the World Wide Web (WWW), one of the internet protocols (HTTP and/or HTTP + TLS i.e. HTTPS).
What we do with internet protocol packets using TCP/IP: orchestrate them into high layer protocols such as SMTP, NNTP, FTP and so on.
When you use SSH (secure shell) to talk to one of your Heroku, Amazon, Yahoo!, Yandex or Google platforms, you’re using one of these same public-minded conventions, with encryption baked in.
By “homeland” I don’t mean that CERN claims ownership of WWW as, through a whole system of bureaucratic maneuvers, the protocols strive to achieve a socialized status, much coveted, as that keeps them from becoming “proprietary” or “private” or “closed” (the kiss of death in some spheres).
HTTP and the WWW that helps it live, with HTML5, ES6, CSS3 and so on atop it, expecting it, needing it, are community properties by this time.
The European Union has played a strong role.
What does any of this CERN web stuff have to do with World Game or Montreal (near Mohawk Nation) or any of that?
In Round Two we use the internet a lot more, that’s part of it.
When Bucky launched the first World Game events, we had no internet yet, no Google Earth. His Dymaxion Map covered the gym floor and people played big data visualization games, turning themselves into data scientists with machine learning skills.
However all this seemed very science fiction in the 1970s and 1980s.
Fuller, in the meantime, born in the 1800s, was still accommodating airplanes (he spent a lot of time riding them). He marveled at how his daughter took them for granted, as native (in the sense of indigenous) to the sky as birds.
In sum: Martian Math is a detachable gizmo in the ecosystem I tend, meaning I’m free to teach and learn Python skills without reference to that particular Github repository (repo).
On the other hand, the public I serve has an interest in Bucky Planet, and Martian Math, in terms of its science fiction especially, is up to sharing the road with the dark energy crowd (CERN et al). You’ll see me behind a podium here and there, likewise doing my slide shows.
I encourage my peers to keep our Planet Bucky safely wrapped in a blanket of cosmic fog in a remote corner of American Literature, in the neighborhood of Poe, Margaret Fuller, Emerson… rolling forward through the Pound Era.
Lets engage in world trade, but without losing our identity as a world tribe.
Given Bucky was the emissary of a positive futurism (debatably so, per Mumford) and became friendly with the Nehru government of India, the face of Uncle Sam’s “foreign policy” sometimes got confused with his.
The geodesic dome pavilion, a centerpiece of Expo 67 near Montreal, was planned in coordination with USIS, renamed USIA before closing.
Fuller himself wrote about the CIA (Capitalism’s Invisible Army) and was considered a cold warrior by many, including Lewis Mumford I would presume.
In the ultimate imperialism (a lingo), foreign and domestic policy converge as we become one big federation under God, taking up the whole planet. At that point, challenges to the central city’s power seem like domestic insurrections as the whole planet is under the same tyranny or totalitarian system.
“World domination” was supposedly the New World Order fantasy of many in the District, according to popular science fiction of the day. That meme (of “world domination”) was picked up in a whimsical fashion by the GNU inspired crowd, the dot commies. What took off around the world, and now dominates in many areas, was public tech, such as Python.
Walls run internally to “Python Planet” to mark off where people are allowed to go, or to keep cattle penned in, while alerting trespassers to their three strikes. As Dr. Fuller would point out: when you build a wall around a city, you’ve walled off two regions, a little inside and a big outside. Both are completely surrounded.
The proposed wall that Senator Merkley is criticizing as a waste of resources is not planned to encircle anything. It’s conceived as a set of segments. That’s another way of playing world game. The science fiction is on the believable side. That’s why the federation is suffering a breakdown, over an unshared vision of the future. Some of us may have no jobs to go back to in that realm.
I didn’t make up the rules in these games, having first joined as a world game player on Spaceship Earth in Chicago, in 1958. You’ll find more autobio in other Medium stories.