Life can best be understood by likening it to a game. Since we are exterior to a great number of games we can regard them with a detached eye. If we were exterior to life instead of being involved and immersed in the living of it, it would look to us much like games look to us from our present vantage point.
Despite the amount of suffering, pain, misery, sorrow and travail which can exist in life, the reason for existence is the same reason as one has to play a game — interest, contest, activity and possession. The truth of this assertion is established by an observation of the elements of games and then applying these elements to life itself. When we do this we find nothing left wanting in the panorama of life.
By game we mean contest of person against person, or team against team. When we say games we mean such games as baseball, polo, chess or any other such pastime. It may at one time have struck you as peculiar that men would risk bodily injury in the field of play just for the sake of “amusement.” So it might strike you as peculiar that people would go on living or would enter into the “game of life” at the risk of all the sorrow, travail, and pain just to have something to do. Evidently there is no greater curse than total idleness. Of course there is that condition where a person continues to play a game in which he is no longer interested.
If you will but look about the room and check off items in which you are not interested, you will discover something remarkable. In a short time you will find that there is nothing in the room in which you are not interested. You are interested in everything. However, disinterest itself is one of the mechanisms of play. In order to hide something it is only necessary to make everyone disinterested in the place where the item is hidden. Disinterest is not an immediate result of interest which has worn out. Disinterest is a commodity in itself. It is palpable, it exists.
By studying the elements (factors) of games (contests) we find ourselves in possession of the elements of life.
Life is a game. A game consists of freedom, barriers and purposes. This is a scientific fact, not merely an observation.
Freedom exists amongst barriers. A totality of barriers and a totality of freedom alike are no-game conditions. Each is similarly cruel. Each is similarly purposeless.
Great revolutionary movements fail. They promise unlimited freedom. That is the road to failure. Only stupid visionaries chant of endless freedom. Only the afraid and ignorant speak of and insist upon unlimited barriers.
When the relation between freedom and barriers becomes too unbalanced, an unhappiness results.
“Freedom from” is alright only so long as there is a place to be free to. An endless freedom from is a perfect trap, a fear of all things.
Barriers are composed of inhibiting (limiting) ideas, space, energy, masses and time. Freedom in its entirety would be a total absence of these things — but it would also be a freedom without thought or action, an unhappy condition of total nothingness.
Fixed on too many barriers, man yearns to be free. But launched into total freedom he is purposeless and miserable.
There is freedom amongst barriers. If the barriers are known and the freedoms are known there can be life, living, happiness, a game.
The restrictions of a government, or a job, give an employee his freedom. Without known restrictions, an employee is a slave, doomed to the fears of uncertainty in all his actions.
Executives in business and government can fail in three ways and thus bring about a chaos in their department. They can:# Seem to give endless freedom.
Executive confidence, therefore, consists of imposing and enforcing an adequate balance between their people’s freedom and the unit’s barriers and in being precise and consistent about those freedoms and barriers. Such an executive, adding only in himself initiative and purpose, can have a department with initiative and purpose.
An employee buying and/or insisting upon freedom only will become a slave. Knowing the above facts he must insist upon a workable balance between freedom and barriers.
An examination of the dynamics above will demonstrate the possibility of a combination of teams. Two third dynamics can engage one another as teams. The first dynamic can ally itself with the fifth dynamic against, let us say, the sixth dynamic and so have a game. In other words, the dynamics are an outline of possible teams and interplays. As everyone is engaged in several games an examination of the dynamics will plot for him and clarify for him the various teams he is playing upon. If an individual can discover that he is only playing on the first dynamic and that he belongs to no other team, it is certain that this individual will lose, for he has before him seven remaining dynamics. And the first dynamic is seldom capable of besting by itself all the remaining dynamics. In Scientology we call this condition the “only one.” Here is self- determinism in the guise of selfish determinism and here is an individual who will most certainly be overwhelmed. To enjoy life one must be some part of life.
There is the principle in Scientology called pan-determinism. This could be loosely defined as determining the activities of two or more sides in a game simultaneously. For instance, a person playing chess is being self-determined and is playing chess against an opponent. A person who is pan-determined on the subject of chess could play both sides of the board. One is pan-determined about any game to which he is senior. He is self-determined only in any game to which he is junior. For instance, a general of an army is pan-determined concerning an argument between two privates or even two companies of his command. He is pan-determined in this case, but when he confronts another army led by another general, he becomes self-determined. The game in this wise could be said to be larger than himself. The game becomes even larger than this when the general seeks to play the parts of all the political heads which should be above him. This is the main reason why dictatorship doesn’t work. It is all but impossible for one man to be pan-determined about the entire system of games which comprise a nation. He starts taking sides and then to that degree becomes much less than the government which he is seeking to run.
It has been stylish in past ages to insist only upon freedom. The French Revolution furnishes an excellent example for this. In the late part of the 18th century, the nobles of France became so self-determined against the remainder of the country and were so incapable of taking the parts of the populace that the nobles were destroyed. Immediately the populace itself sought to take over the government and, being trained and being intensely antipathetic to any and all restraints, their war cry became “Freedom.” They had no further restrictions or barriers. The rules of government were thrown aside. Theft and brigandage took the place of economics. The populace, therefore, found itself in a deeper trap and discovered itself to be involved with a dictatorship which was far more restrictive than anything they had experienced before the Revolution.
Although man continually uses “Freedom” for his war cry he only succeeds in establishing further entrapment for himself. The reason for this is a very simple one. A game consists of freedom and barriers and purposes. When man drops the idea of restrictions or barriers he loses at once control over barriers. He becomes selfdetermined about barriers and not pan-determined, thus he cannot control the barriers. The barriers left uncontrolled then and there trap him.
The dwindling spiral of the apparency create-survive-destroy comes about directly that man shuns barriers. If he considers all restrictions and barriers his enemies he is of course refusing to control them in any way and thus he starts his own dwindling spiral. A race which is educated to think in terms of freedom only is very easily entrapped. No one in the nation will take responsibility for restrictions, therefore restrictions apparently become less and less. As these restrictions lessen so lessens the freedom of the individual. One cannot be free from a wall unless there is a wall. Lacking any restrictions life becomes purposeless, random, chaotic.
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A good manager must be capable of taking responsibility for restrictions, in that freedom, to exist, must have barriers. A failure to take initiative on the subject of restrictions or barriers causes these things to arise all by themselves and exist without consent or direction.
There are various states of mind which bring about happiness. That state of mind which insists only upon freedom can bring about nothing but unhappiness. It would be better to develop a thought pattern which looked for new ways to be entrapped and things to be trapped in than to suffer the eventual total entrapment of dwelling upon freedom only. A man who is willing to accept restrictions and barriers and is not afraid of them is free. A man who fights restrictions and barriers will always be trapped.
As it can be seen in any game, purposes become counter-posed. There is the matter of purpose-counter-purpose in almost any game played in a field with two teams. One team has the idea of reaching the goal of the other, and the other has the idea of reaching the goal of the first. Their purposes are at war and this warring of purposes makes a game.
The war of purposes gives us what we call problems. A problem has the anatomy of purposes. A problem consists of two or more purposes opposed. It does not matter what problem you face or have faced, the basic anatomy of that problem is purpose- counter-purpose.
In actual testing in Scientology it has been discovered that a person begins to suffer from problems when he does not have enough of them. There is the old saw (maxim) that if you want a thing done give it to a busy man to do. Similarly, if you want a happy associate make sure that he is a man who can have lots of problems.
From this we get the oddity of a high incidence of neurosis in the families of the rich. These people have very little to do and have very few problems. The basic problems of food, clothing and shelter are already solved for them. We would suppose, then, if it were true that an individual’s happiness depended only upon his freedom, these people would be happy. However, they are not happy. What brings about their unhappiness? It is the lack of problems. Although successful processing in Scientology would depend upon taking all three elements of games into consideration — and indeed that is the secret of bettering people: taking freedom, barriers and purposes into consideration and balancing them — it could be said that you could make a man well simply by sitting down with him and asking him to invent problems, one after the other. The invention of synthetic problems would be found to free his mind and make him more able. Of course, there is another factor involved in this in that it is he who is inventing the problems and therefore he is becoming pan-determined about problems rather than being in one place with all problems opposed to him.
An unhappy man is one who is considering continually how to become free. One sees this in the clerk who is continually trying to avoid work. Although he has a great deal of leisure time he is not enjoying any part of it. He is trying to avoid contact with masses and energies and spaces. He eventually becomes trapped in some sort of a lethargy. If this man could merely change his mind and start “worrying” about how he could get more work to do, his happiness level would increase markedly. One who is plotting continually how to get out of things will be miserable. One who is plotting how to get into things has a much better chance of becoming happy.
There is, of course, the matter of being forced to play games in which one has no interest — a war into which one is drafted is an excellent example of this. One is not interested in the purposes of the war and yet one finds himself fighting it. Thus there must be an additional element and this element is “the power of choice.”
One could say, then, that life is a game and that the ability to play a game consists of tolerance for freedom and barriers and an insight into purposes, with the power of choice over participation.
These four elements — freedom, barriers, purposes and power of choice — are the guiding elements of life. There are only two factors above these and both of them are related to these. The first is the ability to create with of course its negative, the ability to uncreate, and the second is the ability to make a postulate (to consider, to say a thing and have it be true). This, then, is the broad picture of life, and in bringing life into focus and in making it less confusing these elements are used for the analysis.
(Continued in PAB 85 on page 428.)