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Started by droqen, January 17, 2023, 08:16:42 AM

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Rather than competitive or cooperative games, games where the goal is to come to an agreement about something that is hard to agree on. Everyone has to come to a consensus -- if you can do that, then everybody wins.

P.S. Consensus decision-making is at the heart of consensus games, but the form described by Mutual Aid.

'We do not get to consent to the conditions we live under. . . . We are told we live in a system of "majority rule," yet . . . the decisions [our] leaders make do not benefit the majority of people. The opposite of this approach is to make decisions together, caring about every person's consent.' (Mutual Aid, p75-76)


A cooperative game is what happens after a consensus game. Choosing what game to play is a consensus game. Playing the game is not.

I like a consensus game because to play with consensus implies that we never assume consensus.

As DeKoven says in The Well-Played Game (paraphrasing because I don't have the book in front of me), we can't play with something we can't afford to lose. To play a consensus game implies, because it requires, that we can afford to disagree. We are playing to try and find consensus because we think we can do it together, but if we don't, it's not going to be the end of the world.

Consensus games.


Jack and I were talking a little bit about accepting an external image as an internal image, and it made me think about this idea of consensus games, again, as in some ways a bit of a risk. Is playing consensus games a way to build the habit of succumbing to the external image, or is it a way to play with it to prove (to myself?) that I'm not held in thrall?

To play with agreement is to play with opinion, to play with identity... To play a consensus game is to own the flexibility of one's identity, to risk it, to show that it is not so important. To play with anything may be a way of practicing lightness regarding it.


I watched a movie called Fall recently. There was some kind of quote from a rock climber character in it, 'If you fear death you might as well do what makes you feel alive.' It wasn't a very good quote in the first place and I'm only further butchering the thing, but the point is I think it's been said before by many people across many works. Oh, and in Point Break, a documentary about tennis. And that thing about bushido. And that thing about the mirror of erised.

Now, how the hell am I going to tie all these thoughts together?

To play with something is to practice lightness regarding it.

To play is to practice lightness.

To play is to practice freedom.


I still love consensus games. If anything this makes me love them more. A consensus game is an identity-risking game. It's a relationship-risking game. To believe in consensus is to believe in flexibility of relationships, of identities, and of ideas. If you're wrong about one, the others will suffer. You have to put yourself out there and trust everyone.

It is the complete opposite of a 'social deduction game', where you are tasked with deduction, while under the effect of a corrosive truth that someone is not worth trusting.

In a consensus game you are tasked with faith and problem-solving, which is or may only be possible under the effect of a -- perhaps even deluded -- belief that everyone is worth trusting, worth working to integrate, worth supporting at being themselves.

Consensus games can be dangerous. It's not just about consensus... It's not about making people agree, but about finding a way forward while respecting everyone's wishes, and requires us to ensure everyone is respecting their own wishes. Someone who hurts themselves to help the group is not helping the real consensus game.

Okay, new term?

Self-preserving consensus game.