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Here is a series of six blog posts that explore the significant potential of computer games and related media to develop humanity and advance the evolutionary process:

Friday, April 24, 2009

'Flow Engineering' using computer games

This is the first of a series of posts that sketch some ways in which computer game frameworks can be used to promote the positive development of humanity, both as individuals and collectively. The posts are intended to stimulate discussion and sharing about some of the key themes that will be explored in depth at the Meaningful Media Workshop.

This first post examines how computer games can be designed and structured to overcome a major impediment to the positive development of humanity.

Part of being human is having long term goals that we are unable to achieve easily (or sometimes at all). Often our difficulty is that we are not motivated to do all the things that are necessary to reach the goal.

For example, we don’t necessarily find satisfaction in the actions needed to lose weight, to get fit, to learn a musical instrument, to get a better career, or to develop our emotional, social, cognitive or spiritual intelligence. The fact that we find a long term goal extremely alluring does not automatically provide us with the motivation to take all the steps to achieve the goal. Unfortunately, human psychology is not organized that way (yet).

Computer games and related technologies can help overcome this significant impediment to human achievement.   More    

 
Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Meaningful Flow Engineering - some examples and possibilities

In my previous post, I looked at how computer games and related technologies can operate as ‘motivation engines’. They can be designed to provide us with motivational paths to meaningful, longer-term goals that we may be unable to achieve otherwise. The goals may include the acquisition of skills, knowledge, enhanced consciousness, etc. Appropriately structured and tuned, games can enable us to move effortlessly and enjoyably towards these goals in a state of Flow.

Games can do this by treating steps taken towards meaningful goals as progress in the game, by providing positive feedback for each step, and by matching the level of challenge with the level of the player. Games can also be structured to treat steps taken in ‘real life’ as actions that count within the game. In this way games can provide an overlay to ‘real life’ that motivates ‘real’ actions that serve ‘real world’ goals.

In this post I will provide some examples of games that are designed in ways that motivate achievement of serious goals.   More     

 
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Evolution: the greatest game of all

I concluded my previous post with a brief discussion of strategy-based simulation games.

These games motivate players to find out for themselves how complex situations respond to their actions, interventions and strategies. Complex circumstances that can be simulated by games include any aspect of everyday life (including social interactions, goal setting, and ethical and moral choices), environmental systems, societies, economic arrangements, and political and governmental systems. To succeed in the game, players interact with the simulation to learn the consequences of various choices and actions.

Strategy-based simulation games are particularly suited to exploring the emerging evolutionary worldview. This new worldview locates humanity in a much larger evolutionary process that has a meaningful role for us. It therefore is central in providing science-based answers to the ‘big questions’: What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going to? What should we do with our lives?

Evolutionary science is developing an understanding of the universe that makes sense of human existence. Far from being a meaningless accident in an indifferent universe, life appears to have a central role in its future.   More     

 
Monday, May 18, 2009

Computer games that awaken - Part 1

In previous posts I have discussed how computer games can be structured to make the acquisition of skills enjoyable and relatively effortless. In this post I will explore their potential to train the capacities that are generally associated with spiritual development.

More specifically, I will examine whether computer games can be designed to produce the same kinds of effects as meditation. Are computer games able to motivate and guide the kinds of practices that awaken human beings? Does the ability of computer games to overlay real life give them the potential to motivate the practices needed to awaken us in the midst of ordinary life?

These are critical issues for humanity at present. We are in great need of the capacities that are claimed to be produced by spiritual development and meditation. These include: access to ‘higher mind’ (including access to wisdom, intuition and other capacities that are essential for understanding and managing complex environmental, economic and social systems); the capacity to free oneself from the dictates of negative emotions and motivations (e.g. the ability to ‘turn the other cheek’ and ‘resist temptation’ at will); and the ability to experience life from a position of stillness and peace, without stress.   More  

 
Monday, May 25, 2009

Computer games that awaken - Part II

In Part 1, I discussed what ‘awakening’ involves and began to identify the key elements of practices that can train awakening and mindfulness. In this post I will continue this examination in order to see how computer game can be structured so that they produce the same effects as meditation and related practices.

As we have seen, meditation trains the capacity to dis-embed consciousness from thoughts, desires and emotions. It achieves this through practices in which the meditator repeatedly moves attention away from thoughts and desires. But something more is needed if this practice is to train the capacity to move into the present. As well as disengaging attention, the meditator needs to practice moving attention to something that leaves consciousness dis-embedded.   More    

 
Monday, June 1, 2009

Computer games that awaken - Part III

In Part II of this series of posts I examined how computer games could be structured so that playing the game would train players to:

  • dis-embed from thoughts, desires and perceptions, and come into the present;
  • develop the capacity to remain in the present in the face of distractions (including by being given positive feedback on returning to the present after becoming embedded again);
  • dis-embed and remain present in the full range of situations and contexts encountered during daily life, including in circumstances that evoke strong emotions;
  • use a technique that is highly transferable to ordinary life in order to stay non-attached and in the present (e.g. by dividing attention so that part of their attention rests continually on ‘inert’ bodily sensations); and
  • take advantage of dis-embedding by replacing habitual responses with actions that are wiser and more intelligent.

In this post I will look more closely at the potential of computer games to overcome a major difficulty encountered by the spiritual and contemplative traditions: their practices and approaches have been able to produce dis-embedding and awakening ‘on the meditation cushion’, during retreats and in monasteries, but have far less success in the midst of ordinary life.    More    

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Help to promote discussion of the evolutionary worldview

Feedback from those who read the Manifesto indicates that whether or not they are prepared to embrace the new evolutionary worldview immediately, they generally agree on one thing:  as a matter of urgency, the Manifesto should be widely circulated and subject to extensive discussion and serious consideration.

You can help to promote this debate and consideration by circulating copies of the Manifesto or links to this website as widely as possible.  For example, you could email links to people who might be interested, put links on web sites, in blogs, in comments on blogs and discussion groups, and so on.

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If you wish to receive occasional emails about key developments in the spread of the evolutionary worldview, send an email to announcelist@evolutionarymanifesto.com with 'subscribe' in the subject line.

Strategies for Advancing Evolution

What can intentional evolutionaries do to advance the evolutionary process?  A 24 page document 'Strategies for advancing evolution' is online here

The Meaning of Life

The paper I delivered as a keynote speaker at the first International Conference on the Evolution and Development of the Universe in Paris in October 2008 has been accepted for publication in the journal Foundations of Science.  The paper (The Meaning of Life in a Developing Universe) is here    

How Computer Games can Develop Consciousness

Six blog posts that explore the potential of computer games to develop humanity and to advance the evolutionary process are here
HomeAbout the Author | Contact | Manifesto.pdf | Strategies.pdf | Meaning of Life.pdf | Computer Games