The Game Description Perspective Transformation Stories Susan & John Story


Game Origin

The following is an excerpt from Surviving: The Best Game on Earth (Norie Huddle, Schocken Books, 1984). In the conclusion of this book of interviews, Norie tells the story of how she got the idea for The Best Game on Earth.

Looking back at the long road I have come in writing this book and digesting all of the insights and ideas people have so generously offered me, I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel in front of me. Each person who shared with me thoughtfully and honestly has enriched my life and vision. Rather than my work being tiring and debilitating, I am increasingly refreshed by the growing vision I\'ve been piecing together and by the knowledge that in our essence we do all hunger for the same things. It is my conviction that we can vastly accelerate the pace of the transformation as more of us begin to ask the "impertinent questions" and as we more consciously contribute our skills and resources wherever we find ourselves.

Wherever our new path leads us, the act of walking together must be filled with love and celebration, for only that will inspire us to continue and to make the breakthroughs we need in every area of human consciousness and endeavor. Indeed as the following story about my Soviet friend Yuri Antipov illustrates, I believe that integrity, love and celebration will be the most effective way to reach and "disarm," in a more profound sense, the Soviet Union. After all, as Christ told us, we should love our enemies: it is only when our enemies have truly become our friends and we have discovered we share a common vision that we can vanquish the specter of fear that separates us from one another. As Tony Buzan put it, "This doesn\'t mean there won\'t be any more problems, but it will be far more enjoyable solving them."

When I first met Yuri, a group of five of us (four Americans and Yuri) spent several hours one evening in New York City talking about ourselves and our countries and beliefs. This was my first opportunity to talk in any depth with a Soviet citizen. Toward the end of the evening I leaned forward and said with intensity, "Look, you have your dialectical materialism: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Today your country has some good qualities and some things that don\'t work very well; the same is true for my country. What we need to do is to look together honestly at how we can make both of our countries and all of the countries of the world work better. We need to select the best from all that the world has to offer."

"You know, Norie," he said, withdrawing slightly, "you believe in your way so much that it makes me more powerful than me. I am a little bit afraid of you." " "Don\'t be afraid of me, please, " I said anxiously. "You are my brother, Yuri, and those aren\'t just words. We really do have to work together, otherwise I\'m very afraid we won\'t survive."

"You are right. You are right. We must talk. We must talk more," he said. Shortly thereafter our first meeting ended.

Several moths later, as Alison and I were starting on our long journey around America, some friends organized a farewell party in New York City. Yuri was invited. He arrived somewhat late, arms folded tightly over his chest and a frown on his face. He didn\'t respond to my enthusiastic greeting.

"What\'s the matter, Yuri?" I asked. "Did you have a bad day at the office?"

He ignored my question and burst out, "The problem is that nobody is real. Everybody is phony. They are all wearing masks to cover up who they really are."

My immediate response was utter grief, and I burst into tears. "That\'s not true. I\'m real, and you\'re real when you\'re not saying dumb things like that—And everyone here is real." One of my friends handed me a handkerchief, jerked his head in my direction, and said to Yuri, "She\'s real, all right."

Yuri was immediately apologetic. "I\'m sorry, Norie, I\'m sorry—I didn\'t mean to hurt your feelings. But you must understand how difficult it is to be a Soviet citizen living in your country. Everybody hates me just because I am from the Soviet Union."

"I don\'t hate you," I wiped my eyes with the handkerchief and blew my nose, feeling a bit awkward for the tears. "Nobody here hates you. You are our brother. As I told you, we\'ve got to work together."

We patched things up, drank a toast to friendship, and had a wonderful party, telling jokes about our countries and ourselves, and generally breaking through to a new dimension of mutual appreciation. Toward the end of the evening, Yuri suddenly leaned back on the couch and started laughing at some inner joke.

"Okay, brother, what\'s so funny?" I demanded, smiling. His laughter was infectious. "Share it!"

"You know, Norie," he was still laughing and struggling to express his words, "it would be such a pity if we destroyed each other: we\'re so nice!"

And that was when I realized that creating this sort of communion, in each moment seeking to be absolutely real with each other and committed to each other\'s well-being, is truly the Best Game on Earth. This genuine sharing is the only thing that will keep us from destroying each other and ourselves. Yuri is right: in our fundamental being, we are nice. And when we are not, it seems to be because the customs and institutions which shape us have suppressed and distorted our natural tendency toward wholeness and aliveness. Although we have been adjusting our institutional structures in accordance with gradual changes in our customs and understanding, we have reached a moment when we need to stop and take fresh stock of who we are, where we are going, and how we will get there. In doing this, each one of us has a unique set of experiences, perceptions and abilities—gifts we can choose to contribute toward making our nation and the world more secure, harmonious and beautiful.

The people whose voices you have heard through these pages represent only a tiny fraction of what is available to us in the collective wisdom of the people—in the United States and throughout the world. Today, the telecommunications revolution has "conveniently" brought us television, computers, telephones, and a host of other tools to assist us in linking up with one another into a vast network of unified consciousness—a planetary nervous system." We can begin, on a national and a global scare, to redefine and link up both our images of ourselves and our world, as well as of our goals, our visions, and our ideas for how to achieve these. Everything we need is in place or being created; what most of us have lacked is the broad outline of the vision.

It is this great gathering, this coming together in a spirit of global communion and cooperation to create the new rules and new game plan that I have chosen to call the "Best Game on Earth." Only a life-game with the overarching goal of supporting each of us to bring forth our wholeness and well-being will be powerful and enjoyable enough to keep us from destroying each other and ourselves: in an oppressive, illusion-filled world, death looks attractive to that part of our being which longs for peace. The only kind of "life-game" which can lift us beyond our "collective death wish" is one whose goal is to create a new world in which we can genuinely realize our desire for peace and for our mutual fulfillment.

This process requires the efforts of all of us—idealists and cynics, radicals and conservatives and the apolitical, rich and poor—motivated to "leave the trail better than we found it." As we share our visions, passions, experiences and insights and our love with one another, we can weave the multicolored threads to create a new cloth. This in turn will bring inspiration and renewal to the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the dispirited for, as Richard Falk points out, "The most important statement we can make in creating a new world order is what we each do with our own lives. This has a contagious effect."

In the Best Game on Earth, all of us—all nations, races, religions, ages, and systems of belief—are valuable players. Each of us can make a critical difference in shaping our collective future. And my own experience has taught me that the more whole-heartedly we participate and give, the more we receive and the more joyful The Game becomes. Thus,

Whatever you can do or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

-- Goethe

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