WHETTING AN APPETITE

From: k

h writes:

Friends and Players:
I think that another aspect of what k is saying or at least implying--
That we now have reliable mapping of those areas, in other words, that our maps now accurately portray many parts of reality and are thus no longer disposable metaphors merely but representations of truth.

This puts science on a different footing from other worldviews, including mythic systems and religions, and I think this distinction is an important one, often overlooked in the name of relativity of worldviews.

Very much so. Relativism is a both sharp and heavy double-edged implement, and one that's domain of applicability needs to be examined carefully.

Whether the food before you is raw or cooked may depend on the time and place at, and the agent by whom it is served; the result of a repeatable experiment designed to test a falsifiable hypothesis does not.

When, from time to time, I've read books and articles in the soft (you can tell it's not a science when it has *science* in the name) subjects I've found myself very frustrated by the multiplicity of theories presented, and the failure to distinguish between them on the basis of evidence.

There seems to be an absolute relativism that I think can be very harmful: to treat an organic illness with an untested and unproven protocol is charlatanry, to so treat psychological illness is to throw off the limitations of hide-bound thinking, apparently. Which is more valuable to you, your mind or your body?

Aesthetics seems to be different, of course. The (relatively) uneducated person's view that such-and-such a piece, or style, of art is rubbish is *not* admitted as an equally valid worldview (but that's another rant).

I feel that all this has some relevance to attempts to play a GBG, tho', and especially one that seeks to combine art and science. I've noticed that postings to this list, and also some games I've seen tend to be heavy on quotation.

Now consider a scientific text: it's unusual for a result to attributed to a particular worker, in fact for this to happen requires that the result is fundamental, of huge importance, and that the individual be universally recognised as a giant in the (usually, several) fields. In physics it's the Noethers, Curies, Einsteins, Newtons, who's names get into the books, and only after their work has been very carefully scrutinised over a long period. This points out the crucial difference between hard and soft subjects.

Most results just get amalgamated into physics (in this example), so a GBG move incorporating some physics is just going to be a statement of some fact or other, and worse still, its connections with other facts need only be looked up!

I doubt many of us would find such a game very appetizing.

To find new and original connections with bits of physics is, well, that's *physics*, and neither I nor any but a few professional physicists are entitled (by virtue of skill, knowledge and training) to perform that activity.

It's the hallmark of truly great scientists (and engineers) that they are able to reason correctly by analogy; but proof by analogy is fraud, and they must always go back and fill in the details later. GBG players are not in a position to do this.

Personally, I get very annoyed, reduced to incoherent rage in fact, when I see analogic reasoning alone getting applied to terms like space, energy, dimension, especially when words like higher, through, over, beyond, extra get brought to the party. This simply is not valid (and I'm going to have to go have a little lie down now).

In contrast, within the humanist fields it *is* enough, in a sense, to just have an idea; to combine ideas according to personal, analogic connections is enough by itself. Not so elsewhere. In this way the GBG seems to go directly to the root of the divide between the two cultures.

Hesse tells us that the great Game embodies the same eternal idea which underlies
every *rapprochement* between the exact and the more liberal disciplines, every effort toward reconciliation between science and art or science and religion.

In this spirit, it seems to me, we as players should welcome *both* the clarifications of fact offered by the sciences, and the clarifications of psyche offered by the poets...

Perhaps so, but we should also not ignore the deep qualitative differences between them.

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