It’s a Game – Here’s the Rules

I drew you something.

For years I worked with and for humans who exist in an extremely specialized and inaccessible ecosystem. These humans are big-corporate executives. They have their own rules and their own habitats. They play a specific game, and you are not invited.

At the top of this are the CEOs. There are things about this group that are true in many instances (not all but so many. So many.) So I drew up some of the things they have in common. I’m sure I could add more, but here’s a start.

These people control vast areas of our lives. They make decisions, they influence policy, they finance candidates. And yeah, they are candidates.

You should know how they function and the game they play. Because you and me, we put them there.

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This is not a critique or a value statement. This is literally how this works and how this particular species maintains its position.

This game, this ecosystem, gets its start very early. On the playground. On the sports teams. It grows from our reverence for dominant behavior that we instill in boys from the get-go. The people who level up to CEO are the natural extreme.

Now, I’ve no problem with people getting rich off their business. Very very rich. Go for it.

But this, this is different. This is a game that has taken on its own life and rules or lack thereof. It lives off of our weaknesses. Our deference to authority and wealth, our prejudices, our consumption, our aversion to complexity. The people who achieve these positions have played the game and played the role (having been cast from the only group considered the right demographics to be considered in the first place) and that’s how they got there.

This is what we are seeing in Silicon Valley and why it has gotten less equitable and less progressive over time. The game being played is about dominance, it has its rules, and many people in that region are playing it and consider this to be how you achieve success in venture-funded land.

The Venn diagram of corporate and government is close to being a circle, meaning this game is making public policy. The players of this game are not qualified to make public policy. They are too busy playing their insular game to have any relevance to how the rest of society functions. The skills required to win this game do not translate.

So US politics in 2017 is a result, not an anomaly, and to me it is zero percent surprising. The players and winners of this game believe they are entitled to every grain of authority and privilege – every trophy – in existence and will not ever stop.

The only way the game loses its power is through public action on a large scale. Because massive numbers of people have to band together to counteract the pull of one of the players’ bank accounts or club memberships or golf foursomes. It takes scale to get one piece on the game board.

We either let the power and wealth continue to concentrate, and let this game take over every aspect of our lives, or we take it back. That’s our choice.

But whatever we do, we have to do in large and visible numbers. That’s the one game piece that these players – this species – cannot ultimately control – which is why they try so very very hard to do just that. That’s what mass media are for. You’re the crop, the media are the harvesters.

P.S. I left something off – hostility towards expertise. Expertise lies outside of this game, it is a thing acquired using different rules. Therefore it must be minimized or used only to reinforce the central power structure.