From International Viewpoints (IVy) Issue 9 - November 1992
Can Games be Processed Directly?
By Frank Gordon, USA
(From Frank Gordon's Terra Incognita. A Collection of Scientological
Essays, manuscript edition 1988)
In "Scn: A new Slant on Life", games are discussed in the chapter,
"The Reason Why", and the answer is to have a game. Thus: "Life is a
game. A game consists of freedom, barriers and purposes". p. 38.
Given the central importance of life as a game, one looks for
processes which address this directly. The only clear-cut one appears
in "Dianetics 55" on p. 158 as a One-Shot clear process:
"Having established the fact that an auditing session is in progress,
and established some slight communication with the preclear, the
auditor says, 'Invent a game'. When the communication lag on this is
flat the auditor then uses the command, 'Mock up somebody else
inventing a game'".
" .. It is a workable process, it does function, it is fast, but .. it
has the frailty of the ability of the auditor. It has the frailty of
failing when a two-way communication is not maintained with the
I have not run this process on a pc, nor have I heard of anyone else
using it. I did, however, attempt to invent an actual game for sale,
similar to "Monopoly" called "Stock Market". This was shortly after I
had received a copy (#713) of "Dianetics 55", while working in Indiana
as a research biochemist.
Curiously, I initially ran into a very heavy apathy while trying to
invent this, but after I interested a fellow worker, a chemical
engineer, in helping me, we came up with a playable board game, but
did not pursue it further.
Ron noted in Tech Vol II, p. 417: "It is evidently true that no part
of games is processable and the entering into games is not necessarily
therapeutic except this idea of overwhelming things". "This process is
'What would you permit to overwhelm?' 'What would you permit to be
These were to be run alternately, and in an impersonal detached way.
At this point, it appeared that games could not be processed directly.
Processing games directly?
I've had some experiences which might provide an opening wedge into
processing games more directly. The first hint on this line came while
playing checkers with another independent. I told him that my goal was
to win. He replied, "Mine is to play well". This reflects the British
public school code of "good form". "It isn't whether you win or lose,
it's how you play the game", which forms a code of ethics and personal
Next, I noted that while playing checkers there were special times
when a new quality and depth came into the game.
Checkers can be just "pushing wood"; but occasionally it gets very
subtle and complex. Possibilities open up with certain positions, and
the situation becomes intensely interesting. A feeling of enhanced
vitality and absorbed attention appears. One term which captures the
feel of this is resonance.
"In chemistry -resonance- is the number of possible configurations
which a compound can assume. A compound gains stability (and
flexibility) in ratio to this resonance. An example would be the
benzene ring, (Also called benzene nucleus. There is a famous story
about benzene, C6Hc. Kekul could not figure out what structure it
could have until he dreamed of a serpent swallowing its tail, giving a
circular ring of carbon atoms.) where stability is enhanced by the
interchange of single and double bonds.
One may go from chemistry to radio in looking at resonance. If one
relates freedom of choice (or lack of limits) to self-determinism the
result is similar to curves for resonant circuits. Thus:
This illustrates an optimum balance of freedom and barriers. If I can
do -anything-, this is not interesting, and if I can do -nothing- this
is apathy. But if I can do some things easily and with a little
ingenuity, many others: this new factor emerges.
Resonance can be used as a term for this new factor, which implies a
richer connectedness and includes the presence of higher and lower
harmonics. These add depth and richness to a sound or event, as they
do to life. Thus a thetan gains stability and flexibility in ratio to
the number of possible realities and beingnesses that he knows are
Most important in games
In games, the important thing to the player is not that he might win
or lose, but positioning himself delicately on the edge of either
winning or losing: thus raising the quality of the game and becoming
alert, expectant, and energized. The game fills with richness and
meaning. He is not concerned so much with losing the game, but of
losing the -vitalness- of the game.
One might form a variant of Clausius' famous dictum: "Das entropie den
Welt streibt ein maximum zu". ("The entropy of the world strives
towards a maximum") and state: The basic impulse behind every game is
to make it as intense, rich, vital and beautiful as possible; to
establish a plexus of fascinating interplays, and to interweave and
interlock them into a flowing expression of completed beingness.
More briefly: the basic impulse behind every game is to attain and
maximize resonance. This resonance is the essential heart of the magic
of communication. When it is not present (flat rote acks for example),
the magic is gone.
Violence is an inability to play a particular game, not knowing what
the game is, or not knowing it's rules. In checkers one could upset
Absorbed pleasure in the game is the important thing. The goal is
secondary, as are winning and losing. These are justifications for
doing something that is fun. The more a game is made to look like
work, the more acceptable it is to others. Perhaps the ideal way to
live is to appear to be working very hard, but to be bursting with
repressed inner laughter.
Optimal Game Design would maximize interesting interplays and
possibilities that stretch and challenge one's abilities, increase
one's self-determinism, and gratify and exercise one's faculties.
From this standpoint: "clear" is a kind of absolute, an endpoint. One
could ask "Clear about what?" but it's an end of game. I've arrived! I
am now well-fixed, I've made it. Now I can lie down, curl up, and
But what about the continuing action of "clearing". Ahhh! This is
different, the game goes on. But how? By dully sitting still,
confronting the bank, with hands immobilized by clutching tin cans?
Or is it exploring where the most intriguing, fascinating, enthralling
-Aliveness- can be found? Something indicated! "There's gold in them
thar hills, pardner".
Actually, the CCH "game" isn't just to touch the walls (the apparent
goal), but to experience and handle the feel of good control feedback
loops, and to free up from past stuck cycles.
Many games are zero-sum: if one wins, the other loses. The best game
occurs when, whether one wins or loses, both players gain. This -
mutual gain- is the key element, if one is to make game theory work,
and it introduces a cooperative element.
Good games help the players to become more self-confident, competent,
self-determined, -and- cooperative. Thus auditing can be defined as
being -both- teammates, -and- "cooperative opponents", with just
enough opposition to wake up the pc's self-determinism.
On the affinity of life for "aliveness", Herbert Spencer's "Social
Statics", 1851, p.5, paperback, has this to say (Happiness =
"Happiness signifies a gratified state of the faculties. The
gratification of a faculty is produced by its exercise. To be
agreeable that exercise must be proportionate to the power of the
faculty; if it is insufficient discontent arises, and its excess
produces weariness. Hence, to have complete felicity is to have all
the faculties exerted in the ratio of their several developments; and
such an ideal arrangement of circumstances calculated to secure this
constitutes the standard of 'greatest happiness'."
As Spencer uses the term "happiness", it corresponds to Aliveness or -
elan vitale-. The optimum exercise of a faculty (the ability to do or
make) results in Aliveness. A game which promotes and encourages the
maximum attainable exercise of all of one's faculties or abilities is
the one which life seeks to play.
"Gratification" has been downgraded to mean: "indulgent immoral
pleasure". A better translation of the way Spencer uses it, would be
"the experiencing of moral pleasure".
There is an urge to be fully alive in a state of work-play. I
experienced this as a youth:
My brother Don and I were helping Dad pick squash, and we made a game
of it. I would pick them, toss them to Don on the truck, and it was
fun. Dad told us to stop, that I would have to trudge to the truck and
-carefully- hand them to Don. Fail-safe stuff. All the fun went out of
it. Now there was no rhythm, no -swing-, no rambunctiousness, no play.
It became dull.
Many positive aspects of games appear when one is unstuck from win or
lose: such as mutual gain, productivity, and the acquiring of skills.
I once skied down a difficult slope, and was poised on the -edge of
control-, exerting my attention and skill to the limit. One mistake
would have meant disaster. I've had similar feelings when sailing,
when a nice judgement is required as to just how far one can go
In both of the above there was this sense of vital and exultant life
which is what games are all about.
I could have broken my leg skiing, or almost drowned when sailing, and
then -run out- the injuries. But in back of any injury lies the
interrupted intention to exult. Parallel to -prior ARC-, and the
aesthetic, when this is recaptured, the failure seems to reduce in
importance and fall away.
When 14, I fell out of the top of a tall maple, and was nearly killed,
but somehow caught myself halfway down. I've had this run as an engram
several times, but it seemed to -hang on-. Then in a solo session I
ran my intense joy in the prior competence and control I had
experienced previously while climbing trees, with good BDs and a
relaxation on the subject.
The above preliminary observations indicate that it may be possible in
this way to -run- games directly.