A Good Future is an infinite game…
“There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play”.
This is how James Carse begins his book “Finite and Infinite Games”, in which he traces beautiful parallels between life and play. These first few lines make it clear that either in life or games – and why not, the game of life -, two paths present themselves clearly.
The first is that of the finite games. Those are built for winners, which automatically imply there must be losers. Here, there is competition, segregation and, eventually, an ending. On the other hand, however, sits the infinite game. Here we see no losers or winners. Everyone gets to play and, if well played, it never stops – it only gets better.
The beauty of this metaphor is that it takes us to a very familiar place – the one of games and play – to understand how the future can be imagined. When we wonder about what a good future could look like, there are endless, countless alternatives and pictures to paint answers to that question. Few things, however, compose the foundation of these many paths.
The power of the collective
It is extremely hard, if not impossible, to imagine a fair and beautiful future for many when we are willing to let just a few voices resonate when it comes to futures thinking. Much has been discussed in the past few years about diversity, inclusion and the power of various backgrounds composing teams, families and communities, and that is not out of the blue. If we are willing to act towards a planet of regeneration, abundance and equality, we must be willing to include as many colours, styles, religions, genders, nationalities into the mix of future thinkers and builders.
No, it has nothing to do with the metaverse. At least, not at first.
No one can disagree that education is the number one key for a bright future. It can change lives, change stories and has been changing the world for ages. But it needs to be much more adaptive than it currently is.
Meta-education is about constantly revisiting the learning system by which we live in, focusing on raising great questioners instead of people who are great at repeating memorised answers. The more we are willing to question our methods, certainties and processes, the more we are going to understand how to apply new techs to old problems and old knowledge to new challenges.
Nature and its principles
We cannot, in any way, talk about a prosper future without starting from one very simple fact – nature is much older, wiser and stronger than humankind. When the first Homo sapiens gave their first steps, nature had already been here for billions of years, and will keep existing long after we are eventually gone. In the current world we act as if it was meant to be subdued to our desires, but, as Francis Bacon said “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed”. It has the ability to let nothing go to waste, to provide for every being with balance, to adapt and to be patient. These aspects compose a set of principles from which we surely should base ourselves while moving forward.
These are just some of the various concepts that could guide our envisioning of a good future. In fact, taking them into consideration is a great first step to place this wonderful future just around the corner. But in order for it to happen, we must be willing to question the status quo and roll up our sleeves to bring it to life.
As Carse states in the end of his book, “Infinite players are not serious actors in any story, but the joyful poets of a story that continues to originate what they cannot finish.”
What are poets, if not artists who act upon imagination? Let us, too, be poets who play this infinite game. It will give us the pleasure not of seeing the finish line, but of building a wonderful world for the next players to keep on playing a game that only gets better over time.