Intro

There is only one game.

People like to sort everything into neat little categories governed by tidy simple formulas, even separated by language that appears nowhere else. Math is different from English. Politics is different from Economics. Older is different from Younger. As much as people claim to believe in equality, they clearly at least believe in a “Separate But” version, if not a full-on hierarchy. They believe it exists, they just also happen to believe it should not exist. Is/Ought: the clarification that needs to be made thanks to elementary school teachers everywhere setting up the false dichotomy between “Fact and “Opinion”. We will focus on the former because the latter is relatively irrelevant. Probably also absolutely irrelevant, but I can’t care enough to show that.

When the PA system sounds the buzzer, it’s time to “switch gears”; when the robes are donned it’s time to switch cars. Like history textbooks, people readily attribute “phases” to their lives, and like how we’re told there are three distinct branches of government, people will recognize “positions” between themselves and others. And when that clutch grabs onto the next number, you must be ready to take on an entirely new task. Math and English are entirely different you see, because they use different parts of the brain, and really, just look at what you’re writing, the quadratic equation is obviously not even remotely close to the Schaeffer method. You can’t just say the integral of knowledge with respect to time is wisdom, are you dumb? How could you possibly think that acting how you do in a bar can be acceptable in front of the guy at the career fair? No, they’re clearly different, and you need to keep in mind (believe) that they are different. New situations call for new strategies. “I’ve forgotten everything from math just now” Good. “I’ve forgotten everything from math last year” Very good. “I’ve forgotten everything I’ve learned in my life up to this point” Fabulous.

Or wait, that doesn’t sound right now does it. At least, not that last one.

It is easily recognized that just because I play with different units does not mean that I play a different game. If I play with the same units in a different way, It also does not mean I am playing a different game. Even playing a different game could, in a sense, not mean that you are playing a different game: just as stories have archetypes and can be boiled down to “A stranger came to town”, games are all essentially the same and have skills which translate across one another. You’re going to have to be able to hold a pencil regardless if you’re in math or english class; you’re going to have to be able to speak the same language as the other person regardless if it’s your drunk friend or the guy at the career fair. Some things will be more translatable, others may only have a couple of nuances that aren’t well-understood but seem to be similar nonetheless. “But they’re not the same thing” But ‘not the same’ does not mean ‘everything is different’.

Let’s say we call two things different. If you think of it as absolutely new you will build all your understanding from scratch, and if something you built reminds you of something else, then either you question whether it is different at all or you question what you built (because it’s absolutely new). Either one of these things, you are not spending your time actually on making a better understanding. Now let’s say we call them the same thing. More likely than not they differ in several fairly significant ways, but because the goal is to win the game you want to understand how to win as fast as possible. If you think of the current game as similar to previous games, you will attempt to import skills and make adjustments because that is faster than beginning a wandering with nothing.

With videogames, card games, and board games, this is relatively easy. Dicerolling, mouse accuracy, card handling are all motor skills. We accept them as similar because it’s physically there.

With other games, all of this goes out the window.

Like disregarding everything your parents ever told you about strangers because this stranger offered toys rather than candy and it was a coupe rather than a van.

So we become babies again, hanging onto every word because it’s a wide wide world out there, and obviously this person is good because they’re here talking to me and answering my questions. The teachers have to want me to be educated, the administrators have to want to keep me safe, the strangers in the coupe has to actually have toys they want to give me. Clearly. It’s the only thing I know about this situation, it’s new and something I’ve never seen before. The only thing I can do is do what they say. They even tell me they have my best interests in mind: if they know more about the world than me, and they say they do, who am I to doubt them? They have to be good people.

Because if they weren’t, I’d lose all the time.

Because if they weren’t, then the world would be a scary place.

Eren… I’d told you to wait for me downstairs!! What have you done… DO YOU EVEN REALIZE WHAT YOU DID?

MERELY PUT DOWN SOME RABID DOGS! SOMETIMES THEY JUST HAPPEN TO LOOK LIKE PEOPLE!

Shingeki no Kyoujin

If you can think, remember. If you can remember, learn.

There is only one game.

All else is halation.

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