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Bernard L. De Koven
Bernard L. De Koven

Even Competition is Cooperative

And the goal of all games is not to win, but to be invited to play

I published an article about a year-and-a-half ago that was titled All Games Are Cooperative.

Today, I am sharing a brief (less than three-minute) clip from a deeply insightful (more than two-hour) lecture by University of Toronto psychologist Jordan B. Peterson called "Maps of Meaning: Lecture 2: Marionettes & Individuals." In the clip, Dr. Peterson says pretty much the same thing about games being competitive and cooperative, only he says it much more expansively, in a much more expansive context.

He leads into this segment of his talk by exploring how we grow, from passionate, ego-driven little tyrants into social creatures (the hyperlink connected to the title of his talk above will take you to the full lecture). Games, for Dr Peterson, are the tools by which we learn what it means to become a member of society. What I found especially intriguing was his view of games, not as single, isolated events, but as a vast, complex continuum - "the set of all games."

But it his conclusion at the end of the clip that I most want to share with you.

Wait for it.

I repeat for yet further dramatic emphasis:

"And the victory that you attain across the set of all games isn't winning all the games:
it's being invited to play."

About the Author
Bernard L. De Koven

Bernard De Koven is the author of The Well-Played Game. He writes on theories of fun and playfulness and how they affect personal, interpersonal, community and institutional health.