WINNERS VS LOSERS

In all areas of life there looms the competitive force which declares that for there to be winners, there must be losers. The idea that everyone can win seems missing. Even in sports, no game is allowed to end in a tie.

The 1970s produced a number of simulation games which immediately became popular with high school and college students. The name of one game was “Win As Much As You Can.” Players were divided into several teams. Each team elected a representative who would meet with other team representatives in a sort of summit where each would cast a vote for the decision his team authorized.

After the designated number of rounds, scores were totaled and the winning team announced. At the end of the game the players were stunned to discover that the only way they could win the most was to help the other teams win as well.

What causes us to think that for us to be a winner someone has to be a loser? How might we work toward the goal of everyone becoming winners?

A clergyman who was accosted by a parishioner, accusing him of not believing in hell, asked the woman, “Madam, how many people would have to go to hell for you to be satisfied?”

The great Energy of the Universe is a benevolent energy that wills the good, the true, and the beautiful for all. May we attune ourselves to the music of that energy.

Games We Play

Eric Berne, in his 1964 Games People Play, showed us a side of ourselves we perhaps had not seen.  His list of ‘games’ touched such a chord that thereafter and even now we can hear someone label an attitude of another as a game of ‘Ain’t it Awful’ or ‘Blemish.’

Berne showed how impossible it is to stop someone’s game, no matter how many approaches we take.  And even labeling others’ games may also be a projection of our own.

It is unfortunate that we seem to spend so much time playing personality games that either no one can win or  in order for one to win someone has to lose.  What we all really want are satisfactory relationships with each other.  What we really want is not another episode of ‘Mine’s Better Than Yours’ or ‘Yes, But…’ but rather a game-free environment where we can laugh and joke and exchange creative ideas.  Or at least that’s what something deep inside us wants.

Sometimes I find if I exaggerate the awfulness or suggest a preposterous solution or switch to the awfulness of something that is really quite delightful, I can change the direction of a conversation.  Often it is not easy.  I think perhaps we’ve forgotten how to give each other pleasure and meaning in conversation.  And perhaps this comes from our inability to give ourselves authentic pleasure.

Berne talks about our deep desire for intimacy in relationships, not in sexual terms but rather in terms of our deepest self–the self that wants to be whole, that wants to embrace all of life in order to extract the most meaning, that wants to ponder and explore.  I am convinced that the energy of the universe is concentrated on that win-win desire for everyone.