Life, And The Rules We Play By

Our family loves board games.

Chess is a favourite, but monopoly and cluedo all score weekly slots at the table. What makes these games fun is understanding how they play out within their prescribed context -sure, we’re all playing to win, but it’s our respect of the rules that creates fairness and allows the game to continue.

These rules set the course for how our immediate future will unfold. Without rules games have no meaning. They become objects without a purpose.

There is another game we play; one that I, my family, and even you engage in -Let’s call it the game of life…

This game has been around so long, that we have stopped questioning its rules or even the constructs we manufacture to develop our playing style. Indeed we are now learning that this game has unsustainable gaming principles, the likes of which belong to instruction manuals that boast names like socialism, neo-liberalism and capitalism.

The manual for the latter sets out our current gaming framework like this: work + growth + consumption = modern western society.

For generations modern capitalism has been our game of choice, offering supportive adjuncts like social security or health care (which I believe are crucial). For a long time these have been the rules we’ve played by.

Problem is, these rules are beginning to burn a hole into our game board. If this continues, we risk ending the game before we have a chance to re-establish and reset the rules that allow it to continue.

Changing rules can be terrifying and seem unreasonable. One minute you’re playing under a set of conditions that you think are fair and right, then a moment later they’ve shifted.

But what if that change is necessary.

And what if it comes with the added bonus of offering hope. Sure, we need to rethink how the instruction manual will look: will it be a blend between advances in technology and a simplifying of what we do currently, or will it be something altogether different?

What is coming into focus, however, is the need to change the way we live in so many facets of our lives; be it the way we consume, the way we dispose, build, farm, produce, transport, work…

Some of these changes will be minor but some will require bold action that we must each individually own. The future is not about letting the current game run its course but shaping new and exciting rules to sustainability through cooperation and inclusion, including talking about these issues with our kids.

By doing this we show a willingness to tackle challenges together which in turn builds resilience.

After all, it seems that playing for a favourable roll of the dice is just no longer part of the game plan anymore.

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