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Last post Author Topic: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.  (Read 23996 times)

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2011, 03:42:09 PM »
umm... just out of curiosity, why the buttons?

Quote
but it seems that you have not yet been able to provide sufficiently coherent definition or fact to be able to establish whether the term "curation" and its derivatives are anything more than undefined hyped-up BS buzzwords that an implied 97% of scientists bloggers believe to be true.(A logical fallacy - an appeal to the consensus.)

At some point, proof I think is left towards progress.

I think I've exhausted so many words and details, details that were ignored in favor of a simple sentence or a cursory overlapping glance, that it's kind of like trying to tell a person that the internet CAN exist even if it hasn't existed.

For me the proof is in the pudding though that, at least for this topic, you're not asking to be convinced while at the same time assuming I was trying to convince you rather than have a dialogue and hence adopting a stance where you act as if I was trying to simply convince you. It's really disappointing but I just can't ignore it when you start throwing things like The Emperor still has no clothes as if I was a messenger of the Emperor. As if I somehow want to convince everyone that everyone should just accept and buy into the hype of buzz words even though your reply says:

Curation: ...rather than buzzwords

The earlier dialogue was certainly enlightening and I have no regrets conversing with you but these last few posts just come off as if you're talking down to me. Old manner of replying that went into details become less and less so. Cursory judgements become more and more justified as valid replies. Points become less and less discussed in favor of points such as "you still have not convinced me" shaded in paragraphs. It would seem that your interest (not your patience) have ran it's due of course and you are simply replying for the sake of replying.

Quote
I have already had one person in the DCF comment that I am "...the man who writes the longest and most convoluted posts in the entire forum". I think this was from the same person as used a logical fallacy without realising it and, when I mentioned it, seemed to think it was a matter of opinion as to whether it was a fallacy.(!)

No, no. This title clearly belongs to me. You have one, I have several both in real life and in the internet. You often provide links. I often provide mere opinions and observations. Only providing links when I encounter them to supplement my opinion.

I apologize though if I don't see the relevance of this and your statement about Scoop.it. You already admitted that you gave a cursory review.

I only have one other thing to add: By gods man be more vicious! My posts rail on you for being a bit harsh not because you are a bit harsh but because it doesn't  seem like that of someone who is harsh at all on curation. Your last few posts reads that of someone who is a bit harsh on thin air, not on curation. That's the point. Be more harsh man! More links. Getting impatient? Throw all yer links and opinions at me. Don't hold back. I don't care what you or someone else thinks. I will read and respond to your posts to the best of my capabilities and if I can't, I will still read it. I don't guarantee it but so far I have read all your posts in this thread and I don't see why any evidence of why I won't stop doing so if it is worthwhile. Not this junk that adds an extra overhead of needing a click of a mouse to reveal and reveal only fluffy apologies. If you want to apologize, apologize for not being harsh at all, not for the opposite. I am not the other person you were talking to.

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- which is an implicit appeal to the consensus.

If it were consensus, it wouldn't be lacking in evidence. In the context of what I wrote and in the context of the person I was writing to (whom keeps insisting that it doesn't exist), it's more appeal to potential utility. A description far away leading to a road opposite of consensus.

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Maybe the earth is still flat, and maybe Hitler was grossly misunderstood, and maybe eugenics/Communism/Fascism/[insert religio-political ideology or pseudoscience here] is the way ahead, and maybe there is anthropogenic global warming, and maybe there are fairies at the bottom of the garden, but I remain incredulous regarding these things until they are able to be substantiated as unequivocally true.

Which is why I wrote:

Anyway, as far as usefulness in practice, that's up to debate but it seems enough people find use in the idea and I leave those people to silence or prove right the critics.

It's not so hard to understand a sentence if you don't try to snip it mid-way.

Quote
The article provides no definition for:
Financial Literacy
behavioral education
Behavioral Finance
Personal finance
- and yet these terms are used and bandied around in the article as though they actually mean something.

It's a consequence of any new/more modern branch. Psychology is more guilty of this than anything else.

Your comment comes off as a red herring though as I believe this entire topic was meant for interesting reading and the link written in the context of my words was to show that some people seem to find potential innovative use in the concept you insist as purely being a buzz word with no apparent validity for existing. Your comment is certainly valid, it just replies to a different issue. Proof is there when you cling towards belief, ignoring that the author was sharing an anecdote of an answer he presumably gave in an interview.

As you so said:

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There's nothing wrong with the article that couldn't be fixed by a complete rewrite.

...but then why make it an issue of whether the author should rewrite it or not?

Your bolded text says:

Gamification: ...and not "Why the Author should rewrite the article"

Quote
Of course, there is no "new wave of folks who are exploring the gamification of personal finance". I have been involved in creating such games for students to play (on a mainframe computer) as learning games since the early '70s. Things have moved on a bit since then - e.g., I can practice placing buys and sells on the stock market through an online game system run by my New Zealand bank, which is similar to a game sponsored by the Wider Share Ownership Council in the UK in the mid-'70s.

Which is part of the problem with your definition. Though it is not grammatically wrong.

Your supplied definition applies to game development. Gamification is not about creating games for the sake of creating games. (Even educational ones at that.)

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Despite all this, it tends to be the case that the operation of accounting systems - and especially banking/insurance systems and processes - are a closed book to the majority of the population (who have not studied the theory of accounting and national payments transaction processing). I have a very cynical view that this state of affairs is maintained by the banks and insurance companies because they can only really maximise their profits by maintaining an impenetrable transparency of their operations. The last thing they want is a theoretically perfect Keynesian market where all consumers know what products and services are on offer at what prices, and from which financial institutions. That means that it is very difficult for the typical consumer to know/understand what the heck is going on with their money in the financial market.

The above is the only notable element of your post. Yet it is a subject of banking, not gamification. You also did not elaborate upon it.

With the way you recently replied, I hold little hope that you can restore your old quality of replying (at least within the boundaries of this thread)

Thus I leave those topics you deem not worthy of addressing and I instead move on to topics you feel are worth your time.

Please criticize these links as if they were talking about gamification. They are old topics and you probably have addressed/viewed them elsewhere before and they barely hint to any gamification but at least there's more chance that you would pay them closer and better attention (which in turn would restore the quality of your replies) and we'd all go back to having something worthwhile to read (and reply to).

http://en.wikipedia....Behavioral_economics

http://fora.tv/2010/...ide_of_Irrationality

http://www.youtube.c...&feature=related

http://www.youtube.c...&feature=related

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2011, 11:45:17 PM »
Just to lighten up the mood (plus it's a topic that I would have created a thread for anyway)

http://gigaom.com/cl...8GigaOM%3A+Mobile%29

Quote
There are far more cell phones in India than there is access to sanitary toilets — about 600 million out of 1.2 billion Indians have ready access to a clean bathroom, while 800 million Indians have cell phones. That rather shocking stat, was an a-ha moment for Swapnil Chaturvedi, an entrepreneur who has been working on sanitation projects in India’s slums and who was looking for an idea to help him reach many more millions of Indians with clean toilets.

Chaturvedi’s idea is the awesomely-named Poop Rewards, a startup that creates an incentive program using cell phone talk minutes and other prizes to convince Indians that don’t have easy access to toilets to use designated public toilets in their area. These cell phone users are extremely price sensitive, explained Chaturvedi to me in an interview after winning first prize at the business competition Startup Weekend Delhi, and he thinks this demographic will be willing to change their behavior (or use a public toilet) to save a little bit of money or earn free cell phone talk time.
How it works

With a phone company as a partner, more public toilets could be built in the necessary areas — the U.N. estimates it only costs $300 for a low-cost toilet — and cell phone companies can use the rewards program to retain low-price conscious customers and provide a public service, which can also help with loyalty.

The Indian cell phone market is becoming increasingly commoditized and Indian cell phone companies are struggling to find ways to end churn (customers hopping to the next cheaper cell phone carrier offering a deal). Chaturvedi says carriers like Airtel spend a significant amount of money just trying to keep its customers from leaving for a competitor. In the same way that the airline industry was saved by rewards programs that gave free miles to loyal users, cell phone companies can create rewards programs around sanitation that can also give back to the community, says Chaturvedi.

Down the road, Chaturvedi envisions the program could be an open source tool that local entrepreneurs in developing areas can use to create their own Poop Rewards programs with carriers. But Chaturvedi is still just figuring out his business model, he tells me.

Development of an idea

Like all good entrepreneurs, Chaturvedi has pivoted a bit on his original ideas. He had been working on a type of toilet that could convert human waste into electricity, and he’d received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to work on that. But after going over the math, he kept realizing he was only going to be able to reach a very small population relative to the problem because the project required funding and lacked incentives. His new idea, Poop Rewards, could potentially work with the waste-to-fuel toilet, but it is more focused overall on just boosting a sanitation network.

Chaturvedi hopes to start a pilot project with a test toilet and user group in the coming months (Airtel is really interested, he says). Make way for the Poop franchise. Though, yes, there are a bunch of hurdles ahead, like convincing a carrier for a deal, and launching a program that does actually produce a behavior change.

Along the way no doubt he’ll need some funding, and most of the startups at Startup Weekend Delhi were looking for funds. At the end of Chaturvedi’s pitch, angel investor Dave McClure (see disclosure below) told Chaturvedi that his pitch was the best of the day and that he is interested in potentially funding the project.

That said a rewards program isn't really new but the premise about it being more about gaming human behaviour fits enough with the theme of this thread I guess.

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2011, 09:20:09 PM »
Ok, I just recently thought of another angle to explain the notability of gamification which is by comparing it to game theory.

I don't really understand game theory since I'm neither knowledgeable about stats, math nor of game programming. I also find the explanations for game theory very obscure. Often dealing with information you know versus information you don't know.

In fact, I still don't know if it's a buzz word that people just picked up or it's a revolutionary concept in the sense that from an ignorant perspective, game theory comes off like statisticians simply looking for games to make their explanations seem more endearing both to their inherent desire to play games and to the general public. Nonetheless enough people talk about game theory that it's hard to dismiss it as just sugar coating especially on the side of analytics.

The idea that inspired this post was of a Baldur's Gate mod called Learning through use.

BG for those who don't know is a PC game that looks like Diablo but plays "kinda sorta" like a Dungeons and Dragon based tabletop game except it's not really tabletop roleplaying but an action rpg layered over the tabletop's rules.

This post assumes you see the logic in why Learn through use, by trying to step aside the rules of the official game, makes it a richer experience than the vanilla game.

Here's the Learn through Use description:

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Proficiency points are gained for weapon types that are actually used, and they are gained at set boundaries, independent of the level up process - if you've used a weapon for so long you're going to get better, even if you've not killed a few thousand creatures or solved a few quests.

Now if you change the concept from proficiency points to say...education for everyone in real life...essentially what it means is that this mod allows the pursuit of an approach where people, regardless of race/property/prosperity of location born, can have an opportunity to learn items they wield. This can be anything from programming educational games to having high quality manuals as companions for new technologies or even simply bringing a more practical approach to the classroom.

...but let's say this mod doesn't exist. There's still a "learning environment". It's just different. It's just limited. Not necessarily in a bad way but it's limited. Limited and widely accepted.

How would you determine whether there's a problem that urgently needs tweaking?

...then how would you come to the conclusion that the solution...or at least the logic is to make everyone learn through using rather than learn through being via being rich or being given scholarship or being a student with high grades or being an athlete, etc. etc. etc. How?

After that, how will you convince people to switch to this?

Do a reverse analogy. How many people would really play Baldur's Gate and love the game without even installing or finding urgent value in this particular mod?

I'm not claiming game theory is the only way to come to the conclusion but by looking at it through the lens of a "game" - a concept with a clearer analogy of what a winner or loser is in a series of vacuum environments, you'd get to a point that pokes at the problem in a much clearer message because then you can impart a message of what's wrong with the logic of the current game rules. Will it change the world dramatically? Most likely not. Best case scenario is that it convinces a bunch of rule makers and people with modern king's rights like those who own corporations to use the empathy gained from the message's story to make themselves more profitable and in turn more powerful. In a DnD concept, game theory would be like hiring a lawyer to argue with the game master of why the game master's rules are a lose/lose situation and why they should change it. Sometimes it changes for the better. Most times it would change for the one with the lawyer. Other times it would get you kicked out after that particular game is over. Etc. etc. etc.

From a notability side, at least enough people are poking at the rules, because they perceive it as a game or a "tournament of life".

At least though doesn't solve anything. Much as even the most unique educational games are often not really about the game programmers being hired to perfect the education aspect but to simply create a game within the circle of game programming and after it's been developed, the symbol of the game is mostly irrelevant and is left up to the packagers, marketers, distributors on how they would approach selling forth and bringing forth the conscious identity of a game, many real life concepts follow the same pattern. One can calculate and simulate the likelihood of a revolution but it doesn't mean the formula leads to anything but more attempts at revolution as people fail to take into account the impact of post-revolution progress and so on and so forth. People can, after these disasters, try to explain away why so and so did work and didn't work but from a software perspective, it's all patch fixing. We already know from software's history though that society doesn't really apply the best methods. Linux being more secure but less popular than Windows for example until Android but then Android convinces smarter users to root their Android making it less safe despite root being so serious an issue in the Linux world that people criticize one of the best distroes for newbies in Puppy for making the setting this way by default even though Puppy would still be more secure than Windows XP.

So how would you go about solving a game in which the programmers are decentralized? Some being on top. Some being activists. Some being common lay people. You have to make it moddable and moddable not only in design but by intent. Gamification has that potential. It makes designers not only think of people as pawns but as part of the whole chess board. In turn, it leads back to the more original and well intentioned pursuit of marketing. Rather than demographics, more people could view other people in stereotypical roles. Rather than stereotypical roles, more people could pursue making such roles more fruitful in order to utilize other people as opposed to doing the reverse and seeing profits by defining other people's roles for them. The cascading effect rolls on and on. Instead of seeing people for what they are, gamification aims to see people's actions for what they say they are. Instead of seeing people's actions for what they say they are, gamification aims to see people's actions for what they really are regardless of rationality.

Of course like any buzz words, there's a high prone of being misused or even underused as is the case of mass demand and little understanding of supply. That's actually a good thing though as instead of the corrupt rule designers and rule makers getting the potential too quickly before the well intentioned people do, these more evil intentioned people are busy hacking at it through making trinkets such as Zynga copycat games and other such items such as videogames in turn making gamification more notable as a concept and less notable as a buzz word which in turn advertises the potential of gamification to more well intentioned people. The result no more being different than a popular game having more modders than a less popular game. Are all those mods great and bug free? Hell no but now we're back to a new Dark Age that aims towards a Renaissance or Enlightenment type of society rather than a world of consumers and conquerors.

That's only IF gamification or a concept like gamification totally takes off though. It is my opinion that both the vagueness and notability of gamification is linked towards the vagueness and notability of modern videogame design. We're no longer in an age of Pac-man where fun = great videogame. People inside the industry are probably if not definitely aware of this as far as game development but as an analogy towards a grander analogy which is how certain media defines how people pursue progress, I believe few people notice the change of mindset videogames have brought forth upon the roles of people. The flaws of Marxism for example that were once there slightly evaporates when one thinks of how one game can be interacted differently each time despite it being one singular mass produced containment item. The definition of the Invisible Hand which were once passive gains a new active definition when one considers the difference between how games and gamers self-regulate versus how society in general self-regulate. The exclusivity of item within a certain OS slightly evaporates much as the cloud has helped urged people to be more cross-platform conscious despite long term stability and security being dissolved. If you can see the similarities between how the different types of Operating System are akin to symbols of different countries where the solutions of one country have often failed to reach another country because of Operating System culture, then you can see how the flood gates can be redefined under gamification. What was once just Risk as perceived by the masses could become <insert any modern strategy game>. Instead of countries dissolving the Gold Standard because America did or instead of people adopting poorer copies of public education because America had them or instead of people having colony mindset, they had copycat game mindset due to gamification...alot of the current structures and theories of our planet will change just from the adoption of gamification. That's something even the best of the rest of the buzz words do not have as much potential to do so even if they defy all odds. The idea of games gives new definition to physics. The idea of games gives new definition to philosophy. The idea of games gives new definition to progress. The idea though never took off despite the analogy of life as a game being so old because people simply used and pursued it as a way to hack life. Gamification is like this long term post-conscious mindset after a game has been hacked for so long that after society became so immersed in all the evidence of people cheating the system and all the people becoming apathetic within it, one ends up seeing people develop this panorama where people are slaves to the most mundane of items and how these addictive adopted society is so wrong that one repursues new definition to progress and as people one by one create their new definition in this manner, one ends up developing a singular new mindset where the planet is just a classic console with quality gems hidden in it rather than this competitive modern console that has to have every new way of deploring progress that are just Emperor's New Clothes in disguise and in turn, this long term effect which in the short term brought little notability if not more addiction to vanity ends up creating a noble simple concept like the Learn through Use mod where in a low ranking rule changer can simply develop one unique rule that makes sense via simply going back to his/her biological roots of being a human living in a human society.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 09:33:21 PM by Paul Keith »

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #28 on: January 30, 2012, 09:37:49 PM »
@Paul Keith: This is written in the hope that it may be of use in improving the clarity of this discussion.
I apologise for not replying before now, but, taking a pedantic approach, I was rather nonplussed by the above posts of yours as they seemed to be trying to make logical points/arguments all over the place, but without having a clearly perceivable (by me) logical structure or apparent solid basis for substantiation. I wondered if the posts showed evidence that either:
(a) you may be having a joke with me by using a nifty little text-generating program;
or
(b) you may have succumbed to intellectual laziness.

I could be wrong in this, of course, but I shall assume (b) to be more probable. I don't mean to be rude, as I recognise it (intellectual laziness) as something that I suffer from - from time to time. (I think we all do, on occasion.)

A lot of intellectual laziness can be equated to basic (first-principles) uncritical thinking, and can be attributed to the insufficient use of language and semantics to unambiguously convey clarity of meaning, thought and logical argument.

I was reminded of this when I reread this interesting item in my Scrapbook library. It's a post from the Harvard Business Review of 2008 (tagged under Communism, Thinking, Philosophy, Bullshit, Buzzword):
Why Jargon Feeds on Lazy Minds
Spoiler
Quote
http://discussionlea...s-on-lazy-minds.html

Why Jargon Feeds on Lazy Minds
Posted by Scott Berkun on August 7, 2008 11:40 AM

If I could give every single business writer, guru or executive one thing to read every morning before work, it'd be this essay by George Orwell: Politics and the English Language.

Not only is this essay short, brilliant, thought-provoking and memorable, it calls bullshit on most of what passes today as speech and written language in management circles. And if you are too lazy to read the article, all you need to remember is this: never use a fancy word when a simple one will do. If your idea is good, no hype is necessary. Explain it clearly and people will get it, if there truly is something notable to get. If your idea is bad: keep working before you share it with others. And if you don't have time for that, you might as well be honest. Because when you throw jargon around, most of us know you're probably lying about something anyway.

In honor of George, whose birthday was last month, here is a handy list of words I hear often in management circles that should be banned. Flat out, these words are never used for good reason.

Words that should be banned:

    Breakthrough
    Transformative
    Next-generation
    Seamless
    Game-changing
    Ideation (oh how I hate this word)
    Disruptive
    Incentivize
    Innovation Infrastructure
    Customer-centric
    Radical

These are the lazy words of 2008, and whenever i see them used I feel justified in challenging the claims. To use these words with a straight face is to assume the listener is an idiot. They are intellectual insults. They are shortcuts away from good marketing and strong thinking since they try to sneak by with claims they know they cannot prove or do not make any sense.

Marketers and managers use jargon because it's safe. No one stops them to ask: exactly what is it you are breaking through? What precisely are you transforming, and how are you certain the new thing will be better than the old (e.g. New Coke)? If no one, especially no one in power, challenges its use, jargon spreads, choking the life out of conversations and meetings forever.

Pay attention to who uses the most jargon: it's never the brightest. It's those who want to be perceived as the best and the brightest, something they know they are not. They use cheap language tricks to intimidate, distract, and confuse, hoping to sneak past those afraid to ask what they really mean.

I'm going to do my best for the rest of the year to question people who use these lazy, deceptive, and inflated terms. Maybe then they'll use their real marketing talents and tell me a story so powerful that I believe, all on my own, will transform this, or revolutionize that.

What jargon do you hear these days that you'd like to add to the list above? Let me know.
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It refers to George Orwell's essay:
Politics And The English Language
Spoiler
Quote
Politics And The English Language
by George Orwell
Published in Horizon, April 1946; Modern British Writing ed. Denys Val Baker, 1947.

Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent, and our language  so the arguments runs  must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influences of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step towards political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.

These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad  I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative samples. I number them so I can refer back to them when necessary:

1. I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien (sic) to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression).

2. Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes such egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate or put at a loss for bewilder.Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossa).

3. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity? Essay on psychology in Politics (New York).

4. All the 'best people' from the gentlemen's clubs, and all the frantic Fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror of the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction to proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoisie to chauvinistic fervour on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis. Communist pamphlet.

5 . If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion's roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream  as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes, or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as 'standard English'. When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school ma'amish arch braying of blameless, bashful mewing maidens! Letter in Tribune.

Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery: the other is lack of precision. The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated hen-house. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose construction is habitually dodged:

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically 'dead' (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves. Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgels for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, rift within the lute, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a 'rift', for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying. Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would be aware of this, and would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Operators, or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are: render inoperative, militate against, prove unacceptable, make contact with, be subject to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc.etc. The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purposes verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining) . The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation. Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved from anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

Pretentious diction.. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilise, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up simple statements and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid processes of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic colour, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion. Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien r?gime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, Gleichschaltung, Weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i.e., e.g., and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in English. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, sub-aqueous and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon opposite numbers. The jargon peculiar to Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc) consists largely of words and phrases translated from Russian, German or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use a Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the -ize formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentatory and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.

Meaningless words.. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning. Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly even expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, 'The outstanding features of Mr X's work is its living quality', while another writes, 'The immediately striking thing about Mr X's work is its peculiar deadness', the reader accepts this as a simple difference of opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way. Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable'. The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using the word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

    I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

    Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit 3, above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations  race, battle, bread  dissolve into the vague phrase 'success or failure in competitive activities'. This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing  no one capable of using phrases like 'objective consideration of contemporary phenomena'  would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyse these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains 49 words but only 60 syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains 38 words of 90 syllables: 18 of its words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek. The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase ('time and chance') that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its 90 syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier  even quicker, once you have the habit  to say In my opinion it is a not unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences, since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry  when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech  it is natural to fall into a pretentious, latinized style. Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash  as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting-pot  it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking. Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay. Professor Laski uses five negatives in 53 words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip alien for akin, making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness. Professor Hogben plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means, (3) if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: probably one could work out its intended meaning by reading the whole of the article in which it occurs. In (4) the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea-leaves blocking a sink. In (5) words and meaning have almost parted company. People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning  they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you  even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent  and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connexion between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions, and not a 'party line'. Orthodoxy, of whatever colour, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestos, White Papers and the speeches of Under-Secretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, home-made turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases  bestial atrocities, iron heel, blood-stained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder  one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance towards turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, 'I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so'. Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

    While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigours which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

The inflated style is itself a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics'. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find  this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify  that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one's elbow. Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against. By this morning's post I have received a pamphlet dealing with conditions in Germany. The author tells me that he 'felt impelled' to write it. I open it at random, and here is almost the first sentence that I see:

    '(The Allies) have an opportunity not only of achieving a radical transformation of Germany's social and political structure in such a way as to avoid a nationalistic reaction in Germany itself, but at the same time of laying the foundations of a co-operative and unified Europe.'

You see, he 'feels impelled' to write feels, presumably, that he has something new to say  and yet his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one's brain.

I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, ant that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail. Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of fly-blown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence, to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defence of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.

To begin with, it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting-up of a 'standard English' which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a 'good prose style'. On the other hand it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning. What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way about. In prose, the worst thing you can do with words is to surrender them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing, you probably hunt about till you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meanings as clear as one can through pictures or sensations. Afterwards one can choose  not simply accept  the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impression one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

i. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

ii. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

iii. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

iv. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

v. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

vi. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. .If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists  is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase  some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse  into the dustbin where it belongs.

It was this kind of thinking that has shaped my paradigms and was behind the posts that I made in this discussion.
Knowing my own fallibility, I have gone over the discussion a few times looking for some flaw in what I may have written. Maybe out of over-familiarity with what I wrote, I was yet unable to see where this thinking could be flawed in any way which could materially affect the validity of the rationale that I employed.
Certainly, though you may see a flaw, you seem to have been unable to articulate it and demolish its foundation.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 09:44:56 PM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

40hz

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2012, 02:40:19 PM »
re: Berkun and Orwell above...

Excellent articles. And quite valid in many respects. But it's interesting that both writers, who are/were professional journalists seem blissfully blind to their own writing biases and prejudices, which seem to presume a journalistic news reporting style is not only better, but more honest, and intellectually rigorous as well.

I disagree. Journalism is just one more tool to help us covey information and express opinion. It's neither a one-size-fits-all nor ideal tool for all forms of, or reasons for, writing. A short-word, active-tense, and "no metaphors please' style is frequently bland and tiring to read. And it removes much of the individualism and 'voice' from a piece of writing.

But Orwell was also a socialist - so he probably wouldn't have considered that a bad thing. ;)


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2012, 08:34:44 AM »
Hi gang.

I'd like to commend you both on some of the longest posts I've seen on the entire net! We're seeing too much "shorten this, shorten that" all over in the quest for cheap page click turnover.

My take on Buzzwords: It's in fact quite difficult to invent a word that actually "means nothing". Instead, my take on the abuse of buzzwords is more like "Let's announce a top level strategy and then duck any of the subsidiary technical details." It's a People-Skill situation, which in the Dilbert PHB style is used for company-politics ends.

And as for Maslow, I'd say his pyramid isn't "disproved". Once again, it's also difficult to create any theory with *zero* use. Remember, he was among other things reacting to Skinner's rather insidious legacy of rat mazes applied to people. A lot of evil corporate managers deliberately chop off the top couple of pyramid layers to force people to keep worrying about the lower rungs, which results in getting away with lower pay rates.

And yes, Game Theory has its uses. At the very simple level one of the deadliest is the Prisoner's Dilemma type, which applies to basically all situations where a centralized power plays off a (user/customer/employee) base of individuals against each other, based on, wait for it, fear derived effects. The solution to Prisoner's Dilemmas, is basically to get everyone (or enough) of the individuals to climb the pyramid to "beat the dilemma".

So I haven't seen the proof/"proof" that claims Maslow is "debunked". After all, people are "sorta wonderful", so if the "proof" is flawed, then everything spirals down into Alice's Wonderland when you have to decide if the mistake was honest or deliberate.

40hz

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2012, 09:17:17 AM »
So I haven't seen the proof/"proof" that claims Maslow is "debunked". After all, people are "sorta wonderful", so if the "proof" is flawed, then everything spirals down into Alice's Wonderland when you have to decide if the mistake was honest or deliberate.

The only problem with Maslow's pyramid is the very top where you find the 'self-actualizing' needs being proposed. It's a problem because even Maslow admitted there was no real proof they actually existed other than casual observations and anecdotal evidence that seems to indicate they do.

But that's a far cry from rigorous scientific proof. And Maslow could very well be making a seriously wrong assumption. Something he himself was painfully aware of.

Anecdotal evidence and observation shows the sun orbits the earth rather than the other way around. But to say earth orbits the sun is also not completely true since the sun also moves within the galaxy. So the visual orbits are more a matter of where you're observing from than any underlying physics. A better argument would be to look at it from the perspective of who's gravitational field is more pulling whom. But that's not even completely cut and dried.

And that's the rub. There's no proof people actually do self-actualize. (Skinner would argue they didn't.) Because self-actualization argues for some higher order of existence or awareness (i.e. a soul) which amounts to a version of 'pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.'

It was something Maslow was never able to satisfactorily explain, although he did remark how horrible a world it would be if some form of self-actualization didn't really exist.

In the end, you have to take the existence of self-actualization on faith.

I do.  :)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2012, 10:57:36 AM »
Hallo!
I think the proof is both simpler and found *by being simpler*. Then you can flesh out the academic layering on top.

The Wiki version of the chart is a nice place to start.

https://en.wikipedia...s_hierarchy_of_needs

In the spirit of not using buzz words, let's skip "actualize" and go to the subset words. Morality, Creativity, Problem Solving, Dispelling Predjudice, Accepting (Emotionally Difficult) Facts.

It seems easy to prove that people embark on qualitatively higher morality, social action reform, etc that certainly doesn't fit the lower categories.

If I were constructing a formal proof, I'd use one of the indirect proofs when that need is missing, and make it (I think the word is longitudinal) when an "actualizing" moment is identified, report/study it. You found an important partial proof fragment that you can't just "Game Show" someone into that top couple of levels. (In fact, there are famous esteem traps if the needs are met too fast!) And of course it's not nearly as airtight as the diagram hints, tons of poor people follow spiritual recommendations and "Actualize First, fulfill basic needs later".

I think the heart of "proofs" would come from when those missing top categories, which is how the theory developed in the first place. You'd start in a couple of categories. You pick someone running ragged, just ground down by life, say a factory worker whose plant just closed, and next week he'll get evicted because he has no savings.

"Hi. I talked to your landlord. You have 3 months free rent. Here's your new job. Start Tuesday, so you can sleep in Monday. Here's a $500 supermarket gift voucher and a $50 certificate to a nice restaurant. Here's a  Gas card with $1000 on it. Have a nice day!"

So after the shock wears off, you go find him in 3 months.  Tiers 1 and 2 are all set. Tier 3 could be fuzzy, let's say he used the gift card to take a buddy out to Fish & Chips and Beer to watch the Superbowl on TV. There's his friend.

It turns out his new boss is better than the old one, so he gets some nice OJT to learn a newer computerized machine and becomes Quality Supervisor Level 1. There's your Esteem boost. Maybe he gets his girl back because he's not being a jerk from stress.

So then he's just hanging out, but he's missing that top tier.

Then he hears about SOPA.

Boom - something clicks - he gets involved and schedules a vacation to visit Washington and visit his congressman. Actualization!




40hz

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #33 on: February 01, 2012, 04:57:54 PM »
If you're interested in Maslow (and ready to move beyond Wikipedia), go here to read a very good essay on Maslow's theories and ideas.

Note: self-actualization isn't properly a "buzz word" since Maslow coined and used that term in his writings.  :P

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #34 on: February 01, 2012, 09:04:22 PM »
If you're interested in Maslow (and ready to move beyond Wikipedia)...
That could seem to be a rather cheap shot smacking of intellectual snobbery, and as such would do the author no credit. It could also seem to be irrelevant - providing neither rational substantiation of a previous argument nor disproving a previous argument.
Unless he has declared his ignorance (has he?), then suggesting by implication that someone else in a discussion is ignorant (whereas you are not, of course, because you provide an informative reference) is ad hominem (a logical fallacy). The relative ignorance of a person does not, of itself, invalidate their arguments, but it may make it difficult for them to articulate a well-reasoned argument on a subject on which they are relatively ignorant.

Note: self-actualization isn't properly a "buzz word" since Maslow coined and used that term in his writings.  :P
That would seem to be an incorrect statement - for example, from Etymonline:
Quote
Word Origin & History
self-actualization
1939, from self + actualization. Popularized, though not coined, by U.S. psychologist and philosopher Abraham H. Maslow. (1908-1970).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Matching Quote
"Housework is work directly opposed to the possibility of human self-actualization."
-Ann Oakley
(The quote from Ann Oakley is out of context and is not a rational construct or argument with any substantiation given, so it is probably merely a statement of opinion. Example: some people may find housework to be very fulfilling (say) as in "nest-building".)

And, similarly, "self-actualisation" is arguably a buzzword if you use a common definition.
For example:
Quote
buzzword
Pronunciation: /ˈbʌzwəːd/
(also buzz phrase)
noun
informal

    a word or phrase, often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context: the latest buzzword in international travel is ‘ecotourism’
(http://http://oxforddictionaries.com/)
Generally speaking, using the above with other common definitions, you will be able to equate:
buzzwords = clichés = jargon
Which references would provide a useful working definition of the term "buzzword". Thus the general use of buzzwords/clichés/jargon is such as to make them almost meaningless (undefined terms) for the purposes of using them as logical building-blocks in articulating clear and logical thinking.
They can become effectively tools which are antithetical to reason.

40hz

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2012, 10:19:03 PM »
If you're interested in Maslow (and ready to move beyond Wikipedia)...

That could seem to be a rather cheap shot smacking of intellectual snobbery, and as such would do the author no credit.


@IainB -Perhaps a certain sort of person might take my words as a "cheap shot." But my mind doesn't work like that. All I was suggesting was that if someone were interested enough in Maslow to move beyond the mostly descriptive articles found in Wikipedia, the suggested article could provide a more in-depth treatment of Maslow's ideas.

That's all it meant as far as I was concerned. Feel free, however, to interpret it as you will.

As far as an accusation of intellectual snobbery...well, that's the first time anyone's ever suggested I was guilty of that. But there's a first time for being called anything I suppose.

Regarding the notion of buzzword as it applies to self-actualization, all I can suggest is that it may have become a buzzword with the passing of time and it's passing into common parlance. But in Maslow's case it was anything but. He was groping for a term. And as terms go, within the context in which he used it, it was a very evocative and apt choice of words.

As for the rest...what can I say? I lack the patience for infinite hair-splitting and other debating tactics. Being an intensely noncompetitive sort of person, I also lack the appetite for that sort of thing. If you've tracked down a more reliably documented origin for the term self-actualization, please accept my "bravos" and collect full points for it. I hardly think it has much real bearing on the discussion.

Whether Maslow ultimately coined the term, or merely popularized it, he meant it in a rather specific sense. Which I think is not the case with what most people think of as a buzzword. (And I'm sure you'll be able to find a source to contradict me on that point as well.  :mrgreen:)

Either way, this discussion has gotten rather tiring.

So I'll leave it to you and others to carry on.

Best! :) :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2012, 03:00:12 AM »
@40hz: Apologies for the digression. And I do apologise if I offended you. I certainly meant no offense.
There was always the possibility that I was wrong and it was an entirely innocent and accidental choice of words, which is why I said (note the emphasis):
Quote
That could seem to be a rather cheap shot smacking of intellectual snobbery, and as such would do the author no credit.
That was a rational and impersonal statement.
The thing is, I have a choice if I am involved in a discussion and perceive that someone may be subjecting someone else to a put-down. I generally make the choice not to stand idly by and watch it happen, and will tend to directly address the issue when I see it - which was what I did.

If it wasn't intended as a put-down but just came out accidentally phrased in a way that could be interpreted as being patronising, then no problem. My misinterpretation.
But -and again, I could be wrong, of course - this (following) perhaps could have been intended as a put-down (my added emphasis):
Quote
Perhaps a certain sort of person might take my words as a "cheap shot."
This of course could be suggesting snidely that it is I who am "that sort of person" (in a pejorative sense).
Then again, perhaps that choice of words is accidental also. Only the speaker could know for sure.

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2012, 05:37:11 AM »
And as for Maslow, I'd say his pyramid isn't "disproved". Once again, it's also difficult to create any theory with *zero* use. Remember, he was among other things reacting to Skinner's rather insidious legacy of rat mazes applied to people. A lot of evil corporate managers deliberately chop off the top couple of pyramid layers to force people to keep worrying about the lower rungs, which results in getting away with lower pay rates.
It would be incorrect to say that because something has not been proven and yet:
Quote
isn't "disproved"
- then it has even a grain of truth in it.
It could be possible that it might contain some truth, but you won't know until it is proven.
Thus, if your "evil corporate managers" are taking an action based on Maslow's unproven theory, then they are being irrational, by definition.

When 40hz sees it as unproven, he openly says that he accepts it on faith:
And that's the rub. There's no proof people actually do self-actualize. (Skinner would argue they didn't.) Because self-actualization argues for some higher order of existence or awareness (i.e. a soul) which amounts to a version of 'pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.'
It was something Maslow was never able to satisfactorily explain, although he did remark how horrible a world it would be if some form of self-actualization didn't really exist.
In the end, you have to take the existence of self-actualization on faith.
I do.  :)

In an earlier post in this thread, here, I covered the points that there seems to have been nothing to prove Maslow's theory, and that it apparently remains just a theory.
That does not stop it from being:
  • for perhaps many people (including myself), something that seems to be intrinsically "right" in many ways.
  • a potentially useful construct for considering aspects of human motivation (and that is probably why it tends to be standard fare in many business management courses).

However, as Wikipedia puts it (here):
Quote
Recent research appears to validate the existence of universal human needs, although the hierarchy proposed by Maslow is called into question
Wikipedia gives references to support this statement - here, and here.

That's why I said:
...Maslow's theory would seem to be a weak thing on which to base an argument for anything, because the research that relates to it has apparently only been able to throw the whole thing into question - i.e., the opposite of substantiating it (QED). There is apparently no proof that the theory holds out in practice (QED).
This would be quite the reverse, for example, to the validity of the theory (unverifiable at the time it was proposed) of gravitational lenses postulated by Einstein.

Similarly, I rather liked Arthur Conan Doyle's improbable (and still not disproved!) theory that there were pretty winged fairies at the bottom of that garden in the UK, and I felt rather disappointed when the last surviving of the two girls who showed him the photos of the fairies confessed on her deathbed that it had all been a hoax, and that she wanted to get it off her conscience before she died.
It sometimes seems to me as though we may all need to believe in fairy stories at one time or another.
Unfortunately (or not?) the exercise of reason seems to lay waste to all belief. Cold and absolute, there is only Proven or Unproven, True or False - no room for "nearly true" or "only a little bit false" (e.g., the myth of AGW). And people don't like having their cherished or preferred beliefs or their religio-political ideologies laid waste.
No wonder Galileo's life was put at risk by the RC Church because of his "heresy" - e.g., here.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2012, 07:26:31 AM »
How do you even state the criteria of a proof? I tried an informal example above, in the sense of "given a class of people, the number of people engaging in "actualizing" activities is Non-Random and Greater Than the Control Group when the early levels of needs have been met."

Disproof/Not Yet Proven would indicate that there is no coorelation at all between met lower needs and higher activities. I'll take any links which demonstrate just that, but it feels very counter intuitive. "Hey, I can't make rent, so I think I'll go to Africa to feed starving kids."

Also I understand Maslow's theory to be a *correlation*, not a Boolean either-or-xor or such. (I'll leave that one to my betters.)

TaoPhoenix

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2012, 07:30:30 AM »
Re: Cheap Shots

I absolutely agree that Wikipedia is this "Bus Stop to Knowledge". It tends to be "sorta right", except for trolling etc it doesn't make that many blatant blunders. Then yes, if you really want to learn, Wiki's rather strange curation style does get in the way of insightful reading, so then you have to go to smaller sites.

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2012, 08:49:10 AM »
How do you even state the criteria of a proof?
I'm not sure how you would do this for Maslow's theory. At a guess it would require empiric research over several thousand people/cases, using a control group(s) and requiring defined and repeatable results.

Also I understand Maslow's theory to be a *correlation*, not a Boolean either-or-xor or such.
High correlation proves that there is high correlation. It does not prove a cause/effect relationship. One of the earliest lessons I had in statistics was to gather data about the import of bananas into the UK and the amount of reported crimes in the UK, over a period of years, and then summarise conclusions from the analysis of the data. There was no doubt about it, the rate of growth in the crime rate had a high correlation with the rate of growth in the import of bananas.
So did that mean you could use the projected growth in the import of bananas to predict the crime rate?
Certainly not - but it was initially easy/tempting to think that there might be a cause/effect relationship there...   

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2012, 02:11:54 AM »
High correlation proves that there is high correlation. It does not prove a cause/effect relationship.
Interestingly, it looks as though this may yet be proven to be an inexact generalisation: Linking correlation to causation with power laws and scale free systems

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #42 on: May 14, 2012, 09:03:54 AM »
I liked this because it was in line with my confirmation bias, and because the author puts it all so much better than I could:
Gamification is Bullshit: My position statement at the Wharton Gamification Symposium

The post is copied below without the embedded links:
Spoiler
Quote
In his short treatise On Bullshit, the moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt gives us a useful theory of bullshit. We normally think of bullshit as a synonym—albeit a somewhat vulgar one—for lies or deceit. But Frankfurt argues that bullshit has nothing to do with truth.

Rather, bullshit is used to conceal, to impress or to coerce. Unlike liars, bullshitters have no use for the truth. All that matters to them is hiding their ignorance or bringing about their own benefit.

Gamification is bullshit.

I'm not being flip or glib or provocative. I'm speaking philosophically.

More specifically, gamification is marketing bullshit, invented by consultants as a means to capture the wild, coveted beast that is videogames and to domesticate it for use in the grey, hopeless wasteland of big business, where bullshit already reigns anyway.

Bullshitters are many things, but they are not stupid. The rhetorical power of the word "gamification" is enormous, and it does precisely what the bullshitters want: it takes games—a mysterious, magical, powerful medium that has captured the attention of millions of people—and it makes them accessible in the context of contemporary business.

Gamification is reassuring. It gives Vice Presidents and Brand Managers comfort: they're doing everything right, and they can do even better by adding "a games strategy" to their existing products, slathering on "gaminess" like aioli on ciabatta at the consultant's indulgent sales lunch.

Gamification is easy. It offers simple, repeatable approaches in which benefit, honor, and aesthetics are less important than facility. For the consultants and the startups, that means selling the same bullshit in book, workshop, platform, or API form over and over again, at limited incremental cost. It ticks a box. Social media strategy? Check. Games strategy? Check.

The title of this symposium shorthands these points for me: the slogan "For the Win," accompanied by a turgid budgetary arrow and a tumescent rocket, suggesting the inevitable priapism this powerful pill will bring about—a Viagra for engagement dysfunction, engorgement guaranteed for up to one fiscal quarter.

This rhetorical power derives from the "-ification" rather than from the "game". -ification involves simple, repeatable, proven techniques or devices: you can purify, beautify, falsify, terrify, and so forth. -ification is always easy and repeatable, and it's usually bullshit. Just add points.

Game developers and players have critiqued gamification on the grounds that it gets games wrong, mistaking incidental properties like points and levels for primary features like interactions with behavioral complexity. That may be true, but truth doesn't matter for bullshitters. Indeed, the very point of gamification is to make the sale as easy as possible.

I've suggested the term "exploitationware" as a more accurate name for gamification's true purpose, for those of us still interested in truth. Exploitationware captures gamifiers' real intentions: a grifter's game, pursued to capitalize on a cultural moment, through services about which they have questionable expertise, to bring about results meant to last only long enough to pad their bank accounts before the next bullshit trend comes along.

I am not naive and I am not a fool. I realize that gamification is the easy answer for deploying a perversion of games as a mod marketing miracle. I realize that using games earnestly would mean changing the very operation of most businesses. For those whose goal is to clock out at 5pm having matched the strategy and performance of your competitors, I understand that mediocrity's lips are seductive because they are willing. For the rest, those of you who would consider that games can offer something different and greater than an affirmation of existing corporate practices, the business world has another name for you: they call you "leaders."


TaoPhoenix

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #43 on: May 14, 2012, 01:13:55 PM »
School is horribly Gamified.

There was a related xkcd a few days ago about how certain ex-students were vengeful that they never needed Algebra since they left school. In a way, they are right about non-work conditions. So passing Greek Geometry meant getting a good grade on the "Game" (test) then I've never needed to do a 19 step SAS theory proof since.

The Simpsons have done a couple of nice takes on all this too with Bart. In one early season he flunks the "game" (test) and gets stuck in detention again. Only that episode, he had really tried, and it only raised his flunk from a 32% to a 59%. So he was all "Aw man, now you know why I never bother, if I'm still stuck here."

So a little later he peels off some kind of speech like "Aw man, now I know how Paul Revere felt when he rode down the freedom trail and couldn't get the word to General Washington, so he had to go to the houses to get more minutemen..."

So Mrs. Krabappel took pity on him and gave him something like a 66%, a D. "I passed! For once I passed!"

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #44 on: May 25, 2012, 03:10:25 AM »
The problem with appealing to Orwell's Politics in the English Language is that Orwell didn't simply rally against jargon but warned specifically against jargon used in the realms of politics. After all, this was the same person who wrote Animal Farm which was unnecessarily more metaphoric and jargon-ish than the Grimm's Fairy Tales.

Over time, it became sort of a "buzz article" to use the article as a sort of appeal to pop culture authority to explain away why simplicity is better but just because it's an article and not a word does not mean the terms "Politics in the English Language" is not often wielded in the same status as the buzz word Gamification.

Thanks however for providing that link. It gave me a better hint as to where you might be coming from. I dare say your problem might not be so much on buzz words as, just like that author, your stereotype example of what gamification implies.

A short example:

Gamification is easy. It offers simple, repeatable approaches in which benefit, honor, and aesthetics are less important than facility. For the consultants and the startups, that means selling the same bullshit in book, workshop, platform, or API form over and over again, at limited incremental cost. It ticks a box. Social media strategy? Check. Games strategy? Check.

Yes, there's a lot of bullshit out there and gamification being propped up in popularity as a buzz word does not make irrelevance the definition it provides. It's like with Maslow's self-actualization. Lots of ways to twist that around but anyone who's gotten any benefits from more Eastern practices like meditation can have a much clearer line as to what the line between self-actualization and non-self actualization is. It doesn't even have to be that complicated.

A doctor who finds his purpose in life for example is different from a doctor who earns his right to be a doctor and doing a thing he likes yet both revelations are linked closer to our personal anthromorphic idea of the world than to any dissimilarity between two near similar events having different meaning to us. That is why in some ways, self actualization is not so much the top of the pyramid chain but a product of all the lower chains adding up to a single chain and creating a paradigm shift in mindset within a singular entity.

Empirically it can be applied to the most mundane of revelations such as one changing his name to the most profound of basic needs such as one finding a person that they would love forever as opposed to loving until they become ugly, loving until they hurt them, etc etc. Of course love itself has often been categorized as insanity especially if you judge it through objective empirical actions.

It's the same way with Gamification's definition because before there was gamification the buzz word, there was gamification the design - but there was simply no unifying term to describe such designs except addictiveness.

See what the author fails to acknowledge is that complexity can grow through simplicity. The Sims for example went from being a game often categorized as a pointless game and ends up becoming a major tool for machinima. Something not many complex games can brag about even though, hypothetically, all games (including the failed but better aimed for movies sim The Movies) can prop up such a motivation.

Another deceptiveness with simplicity is that simple games are unable to contain depth when in actuality the common component of less is more is not really anything new and it has even baffled many game designers before. Like many people couldn't figure out the formula behind FF7's success and replicate it, even Square when in fact a huge part of it's long lasting appeal is it's simpler yet more proven designs compared to other Squaresoft games, even the ones the hardcore FF fans praise like FF6.

Cloud like Luke was your typical mystical hero and was a unique take on the more simple "mute" heroes.

Aeris' death though nothing new at the time was new because it was rare for such a purity designed creature to be killed. Especially a bland one. People rarely kill Mother Theresa's and Superman's and Captain America's in game as a type of plot twist but many more complicated (though still quite simple) characters have gone on to die in far more notable ways.

Even things like Barrett was a good throwback to a simple action hero and Sephiroth was a good pre-Neo from the Matrix concept of how to add depth to bland and simple designs.

In terms of gameplay, before there was the social gaming madness that attracted itself to Facebook games there was the more purer and infinitely more replayable Harvest Moon who embodied everything that gamification is about. A combination of simplicity that resulted in something different.

Even nowadays look at some of the Android games like Star Traders Elite who are way way much simpler than 4x game but through the simple idea of update often, update as much becomes one of the more popular (and deepest) games out there.

We're talking about a simple "flip switch" mechanic (for factions if you have actually played the game though I'm not using any programmer's jargon) that because of great design can end up matching up against some of the deeper aspects of classic 4x games (some whose factions have more ai based tendencies) and even match up to the depth of some modern more complicated designed and higher budget based games.

Yes, on the surface, many who sell gamification get it wrong but the critics are just as wrong if they can't even wrap their heads around the simple idea that the buzz words they are railing against is gamification and not game nor ification.

It may seem sound on the surface to separate the two in a way to unwrap the stereotypical mainstream gamification examples that popularized it as a buzz word in the first place but from a basic lexicon it falls apart. Yes, you have to attempt to mimic some design in tried and true fashion much as the way for increasing usability starts with adding features on top of familiar and comfortable features but to pull off the finished product in such a way that respects the lexicon behind the definition of gamification: you have to be able to make a game that matches the lexicon

The exploitationware? Of course any addictive game can be exploitationware but that is hardly unique to games that fall under gamification. MMORPGs and Sequels are far far far worse and have done more damage and earned more profits than games with concepts fulfilling gamification.

The Sims for example might be exploitationware but the Sims 1 was closer to something falling under gamification because at that point there had been nothing like it and for a long time, a complete collection of Sims 1 expansion far outweighed the content of the Sims 2 and Sims 3 which was the ultimate crime being expoused by critics against exploitationware. Mind you even exploitationware can be seen as an attempt to create a counter buzz word for the current buzz word.

In the end it's all about how much you've been exposed to a certain design. If you only know MMORPGs like WoW then you might not know the difference between it and it's more modern mainstream copies from MMORPGs like Dragonball Online and you'd end up hating and painting all MMORPGs as similar games even though there are many different MMORPG experience just from what server and what community that server has. Even a difference in gaming economy is shocking and that holds even truer for gamification. The idea of social currency starts with currency before the social. Just how the currency works alone is the equivalent of changing the revenue model of a gamified concept and that alone creates too much of a disparity to rail on gamification the concept as a single umbrella concept.

The most often cited ideas for example such as badges and points are in fact some of the more "loose" associations with the concept of gamification. It's just one of the more exposed and popularly stereotyped ideas out there.

By far more subtle things like changing an ugly looking icon to a more animated icon (an element badges borrowed with the combination of things like pop-up msgs) are more in line with gamification than the actual concept of badges.

The same goes for points. Many mistake the idea of points as some sort of unlocking meter or excuse for high score addiction like the popular classic games but in fact in it's true implementation, it's more about creating an artificial economy based on micro addictive options than points. Adding friends for example at a click of a button or following someone on Twitter are by far closer to a gamification concept (friend count/follower count) than the commonly applied "recruit a friend to receive a bonus" that many mainstream gamification type games/services have. It's why social gaming was successful on Facebook not w/o Facebook.

For this same reason, school is not really horribly "gamified". At least not if you're applying the lexicon in any sense. Gamified is not just about combining gaming aspects to non-games/poor games. Schools have lots of mini-concepts like clubs or fraternities or social groups that can be gamified but the reason few people like schools is because it's not "horribly" gamified. Scores are often motivational based on their points as opposed to the meaning of those points except if you pass a social line between smart, ok or dumb. Even many clubs have more of a tournament of life stress than a euphoric "almost MMORPG" like addiction except for those with the talent to compete for the Olympics or be part of a very special school program in a unique school setting that puts far more quality to their programs than your average generic school.

Not to say gamifiying schools is a solution but it's simply not horribly gamified under the lexicon of gamification even as a buzz word. Of course those who wield buzz words would try to get away with selling it as heaven sent but really the current school systems, even the best ones, are rarely horribly gamified. Saying it is is the equivalent of using a horrible boring game/service who have badge accomplishments as an example of gamification.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 03:34:13 AM by Paul Keith »

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2012, 08:37:11 PM »
Ironically I found an unintentional pyramid that makes self-actualization easier to understand in a concrete yet simple manner:

participationinequality.jpg

I say unintentional because not only was this not intended as a simplified version of Maslow, the actual content is nothing enlightening. It's the same old simplified bastardization of social curation that's been roaming around in blogs when curation first took off.

Think of it like this: 99% of the lower hierarchy of Maslow are needs but they are non-productive needs on their own.

You can breathe but breathing won't make you become an athlete.
You can have self-esteem and be an athlete but self-esteem won't push you beyond the average yet exclusive crowd of elite athletes.

Each layer of Maslow's hierarchy becomes more and more anthromorphic yet as we know of anthromorphism, many of that can be illusions humans created.

Love for example is often equated to insanity and so Love by definition has many hypocritical interpretation, often leaning towards the positive and often painting the insane part of love as "tragic".

Of course the above pyramid is meant to paint contributors as "several different number of users". You have to modify that to one individual to make the idea more concrete.

As a human being, a person can be a lurker. As he feels safer, fall in love, belong, gain self-esteem he earns the courage to contribute.

Of course as most have experienced of self-help by now, many motivational highs can be a con. Extremely motivated people do not become superman. An extremely motivated man will never defeat a sociopath genius on steroids. Not even 1000 motivational men vs. 1 special person especially when that 1 person can be the head of an oligarch, lead people to delusions, create a cult, etc.

That doesn't mean a person can't achieve something from failure though. That's the 1% only it's not heavy contributor but one of a kind consistent contribution.

It can be something shallow from being the GOAT of a sport or something difficult like charity work. The key thing is to be consistently doing one of a kind work. The likes that even people who have your same drive or can explain your motivation can't even do. That's the simple definition of self-actualization from my understanding.

Let's take Paul Farmer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_farmer

Co-founder - difficult task check but how do you one up that? How do you Mountains beyond Mountains as the book says?

In addition to his hospital in Haiti, Farmer oversees projects in Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, Malawi and Peru.

...now it's starting to become a special one of a kind form of obsession and love.

...but there are still many Paul Farmers out there even though, when you zoom out, he's part of a select few.

What creates the self-actualization part? It's becoming the equivalent of a heavy contributor of the online world only with the real world where you can actually die.

It's when you use your physiological needs to go to a place that lacks said physiological needs like how one review for the book writes:

Quote
Furthermore, he chose not just to dedicate superhuman effort to this profession, but to practice in one of the poorest of poor regions of the world, Haiti, where every newcomer is "blan" (white), even African Americans from the US.

Then on top of that, he used the growth he gained from safety to prepare himself and head towards a not so safe situation:

Quote
On a certain level, a doctor like Paul Farmer is an indictment of the way most physicians in this country practice. Paul Farmer could, if he chose, be one of the highest paid consultant in the country. He has demonstrated the intellect and the force of will to succeed at any branch of medicine. And yet, he chose infectious disease and epidemiology as his twin callings, two of the lower-paying specialties within the field.

Then on top of that, he falls in love only to leave his love ones:

Quote
V. Munsey says:
Yeah, what about his wife and kid? It sounds like they are pretty much ignored by him. How sad. Why did he marry and have a family if he knew his work would always take first place?

Then on top of that, he uses his self-esteem to put him in places that would destroy a normal person's self-esteem:

Quote
I think even non-physicians might have this initial reaction. I think a common defense mechanism might also be one that occurred to me, to pathologize Farmer, to think of his drive to help others as a need to satisfy some kind of internal conflict. After all, if Farmer does what he does to "quite the voices", then the rest of us are off the hook.

In the end, I came to realize that this was grossly unfair. A reader does not know and never can know what drives a man like Farmer, we can only judge him by his works. And those works are amazing. Time and again in his career, Farmer chose to push for the absolute best care for the absolute poorest of his patients. He refused to accept that the best HIV and tuberculosis drugs were "inappropriate technology" for Haiti. Instead, by tirelessly fighting for his patients, he redefined how tuberculosis and other horrible diseases are treated. I would encourage a reader to look closest at this aspect of Farmer, as it can be applied to all of our lives.

To close, I am reminded of the old saying:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world;

the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.

Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

--George Bernard Shaw

Dr. Paul Farmer is an unreasonable man who has changed the world.

That and see the critical Amazon review for his book Pathologies of Power (his self-esteem "unbelongs" him to the world:

Quote
Not only that: we should help them because, in most every case, their poverty is a sign that we have failed them. Farmer angrily ticks off case after case, most of them straight from his first-hand experience, where what initially looks like a senseless, random death is seen to be a symptom of a deeper systemic problem. The most haunting of these may be the death of a young Haitian girl named Acephie who contracted HIV from a Haitian soldier. She had sex with him because soldiers are some of the few Haitians with dependable salaries. But what led Acephie into that position of economic dependence to begin with? It didn't help that the Haitian government, with the blessing of Western development agencies, had evicted Acephie's family years before to build a dam; the family had to move to higher, poorer ground because of someone's idea of what was good for them. The road from there leads more or less directly to the AIDS death of a Haitian girl. (James Scott's Seeing Like A State contains a lot more tragedies in this direction.)

Pathologies of Power is filled with stories like that. It is not a hopeful book; it is very, very bitter. This despite Kidder's blurb on the cover to the contrary: Kidder recognized the anger, but saw hopefulness that I didn't.

That's what makes self-actualization both simple to understand and yet too vague. It's hard to categorize a word that should encompass one of a kind beings that in themselves are hard to define. Self-actualization gave it a good try but in order for it to give as much as a relevant definition, it had to fall under buzz word "vagueness" category too.

Not only that but we each in our lives can do something on par with a "lite" version of self-actualization but if we can't do it in a manner that makes us go through the lower areas of the pyramid, we can't intentionally pursue and destroy our bodies and minds in a one of a kind challenge to "Samsara"

The best introspection occur when we act similar to lurkers in the internet but in real life.

The only way to gain enough friends or supporters to do something even bigger is to be a consistent contributor that shallow people would look upon as a beacon of hope or heroism.

...but those alone would be missing. If we were to create a children's story level of stereotype: A villain cannot self-actualize until he cons enough people and creates enough effective and dangerous plans for the best of heroes behind the scenes. Ditto for a hero. Even superman is just an overpowered boy scout until you see him lurk in his fortress or consistently beat better villains. Without those qualities, he's just a boring hero that even the best Hollywood writers or directors can't make interesting.

...and that's just paper thin self-actualization. Imagine encompassing the real aspects of a person's life like that of Paul Farmer in a single general word for everybody.

Full links to the reviews:

http://www.amazon.co...ewpnt#R2IS87DMU7F8FH

http://www.amazon.co...ewpnt#R2H611UM550HLQ

http://www.amazon.co...iewpnt#RH4MU92DDW3SV
« Last Edit: May 29, 2012, 08:54:50 PM by Paul Keith »

IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #46 on: June 04, 2012, 12:21:35 AM »
Just to help things along:
Definition of terms being used in a rational discussion:

1. Self-actualisation: (a term used by, but not coined by Maslow)
This is a BS/buzzword/cliché (QED).
Maybe what Maslow was aiming for with this term was something like "transcendent", but somehow I doubt it, because otherwise he could easily have used that term - so why did he use another - and an undefined one to boot? That would surely have been deliberate - no? If it was deliberate, then he deliberately picked an ambiguous and undefined compound word as a term for something which he imagined but could not define.
In any event, it is kind of academic for us to suppose what he did mean, because even he seemed not to know or be able or willing to articulate a definition - as you point out above. It's the Emperor's new clothes, again.
So, really, there is arguably little practical use in discussing the veracity of, or use in real life of, an imagined and undefined thing ("self-actualisation") - even from a philosophical perspective. It's certainly not a scientific or a proper theoretical construct, anyway.
For example, even the theoretically ephemeral Higgs boson has a definition, though we do not yet know whether that boson exists beyond the realm of theory.

For the purposes of definition, and just to get us out of the discussion rut we seem to be in, this (following) seems like it could be at least one assumption or likely close approximation of what Maslow perhaps could have intended or meant:
From: World English Dictionary
Quote
transcendent (trænˈsɛndənt)
 — adj
1.    exceeding or surpassing in degree or excellence
2.    a. (in the philosophy of Kant) beyond or before experience; a priori
    b. (of a concept) falling outside a given set of categories
    c. beyond consciousness or direct apprehension
3.    theol  (of God) having continuous existence outside the created world
4.    free from the limitations inherent in matter
 
— n
5.    philosophy  a transcendent thing

2. Gamification:
This was the term used in the link in the opening post. It is a BS/buzzword/cliché (QED).
We still do not seem to have arrived at a possible definition for this otherwise undefined term. It does not appear to relate to the application of game theory. We have so far apparently been unable to guess at a definition that might fit/work in most/all of the various contexts in which it seems to be used in the current idiom. It is still therefore - by definition - a BS/buzzword/cliché (QED).

3. Anthropomorphism: (I think that's what you meant by "anthromorphism"- yes?)
From: Cultural Dictionary
Quote
anthropomorphism definition
(an-thruh-puh- mawr -fiz-uhm) The attributing of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, or other natural phenomena, or to God. To describe a rushing river as “angry” is to anthropomorphize it.

If that (anthropomorphism) is what you meant, then could you please explain to me what you meant by:
Quote
"Each layer of Maslow's hierarchy becomes more and more anthromorphic yet as we know of anthromorphism, many of that can be illusions humans created."
- because I do not understand the sense of this.

4. Lack of defined terms leads to irrational discussion:
Earlier on in this discussion, you wrote:
I can't really speak for Nikki obviously but as I'm also one of those who refer to Maslow's hierarchy of needs loosely in my own writing, I think what makes it so appealing to refer to that concept is not so much the existence of the hierarchy itself but the final step of self-actualization which depending on how you interpret it has elements of buzz and manipulation to it too.
Nikki's post was in a link per your opening post: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid. Her post is absurd (QED).

I wonder if, because you have inadvertently used these BS words in trying to articulate your thinking in what you have written here or elsewhere, you might have entered into a state of ahamkara with the very BS terms we have been discussing.
If that (ahamkara) is the case, then:
  • (a) you will be unable to accept any denial of their existence as real/useful objects, because to do so would mean that you had been mistaken in using them in the first place, and your ego can't allow that thought (cf. De Bono re "intellectual deadlock"). So your ego may now oblige you to have to defend these useless BS things instead of saying, "You know Iain, you have a point there. They are purely imaginary and undefined constructs and I have only been imagining that I have been using them, but it seemed very real to me at the time."
  • (b) to rationally refute the terms at this stage could be a very hard thing for you to do, but it would be interesting if you were able to do it. It would probably demonstrate that you are able to exercise the capacity to overcome your internal intellectual deadlock and transcend your ego, and become more rational in the process.

Over the years, this is the sort of battle I have sometimes had with myself over some issues. One of the approaches I tend to use to help myself overcome my ahamkara is to become less "passionate" about what I think or believe, and more rational. Hence I describe myself as a rationalist. It feels like a bit of a battle sometimes, as it does not seem a natural thing for me/us to be rational, but we have the capability for rational thought and can direct our thoughts and thinking processes, if we choose.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 03:02:48 AM by IainB, Reason: Minor corrections. »

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.B
« Reply #47 on: June 04, 2012, 02:02:02 PM »
Sorry, you lost me again with this reply.

There seems to be a strange subtext here where you picked up the word transcendent and now are enforcing that upon self-actualization. I would understand if Googling it would lead to some clues but the Google results I found leads to this:

http://www.rare-lead...onal_psychology.html

Quote
Abraham Maslow:

I have recently found it more and more useful to differentiate between two kinds (or better, degrees) of self-actualizing people, those who were clearly healthy, but with little or no experiences of transcendence, and those in whom transcendent experiencing was important and even central…. I find not only self-actualizing people who transcend, but also nonhealthy people, non-self-actualizers who have important transcendent experiences. …

...so now I'm confused as to why you're insisting all of self-actualization is intended to mean transcendent.

Even the word transcendent is too obscure, unscientific, often used as marketing babble supplement...so again this is confusing. Transcendent's etymology appears to simply be the word transcend. That's a proven word that tries to obfuscate a clear word.

Meanwhile actualize from the beginning is already a complicated word:

http://www.etymonlin...p;allowed_in_frame=0

actualize
    1810, first attested in Coleridge, from actual + -ize. Related: Actualized; actualizing.

Notice how that link separates to actual:

http://www.etymonlin...p;allowed_in_frame=0

...a word which contains no simpler alternatives that matches it's meaning

and

ize:

http://www.etymonlin...p;allowed_in_frame=0

When you add another -tion to it. Of course it can come off complicated and vague especially when you are being unhelpful at clarifying where your misunderstanding is and because you would prefer to paint an impractical word that intentionally obscures a simple word as opposed to sticking with the lexicon of the words you are railing on.

It's just not helpful attitude for discussions. It would be like asking a geologist what geography means and how it is scientific only to point out that since the geographer has never been to other planets that geology is just as hoaky and un-scientific as astronomy and then compounding the problem further by insisting that one should have ought to use "biology of earth" instead of the term "geography" because you consider the word geo to be vague.

I'm not saying the words used here are as scientifically linked to empricism as geography but rather the argument you're raising could easily be applied to any word and make them all seem vague and therefore buzz words.

Not only that, you've gone from questioning whether it is a buzz word (a point of discussion that has already been settled) and are now reraising the point as a way of demonizing and ignoring the counter points raised towards your previous replies.

Worse, you've gone totally blind in your own hatred for what you perceive as buzz word. Instead of defining why it is BS, you simply add it as BS. Fair enough, you haven't exactly brought your usual IainB mentality to this thread but it's so bad - you're now lumping an entirely different concept that not only wasn't brought up prior but is not relevant at all to the BS of buzzword. The word cliche.

With regards to anthropomorphism:

I apologize. I constantly misspell that word.

What I mean by that is the higher you supply your needs, the more human you or I become based on the anthropomorphic view of humanity.

Man for example can survive entirely in the physiological and has done so before and many suffering in poorer countries, continue to do so because of this aspect.

Without safety though, man becomes closer to that of an animal. Not only in terms of personality but growth.

A good portion of the creative and nurturing aspect of man came from then having safety. Not the safety of employment and other modern terms but just the thought of safety switches man's subconcious intelligence to things like family or working on things like agriculture.

...but are we human simply because we have love? ...are we exempt from becoming automatons simply because we have jobs?

No. If anything, we'd be more bionic. Not in the typical assumption we have of what it means to be a robot, a man-beast, a cave man, a neantherthal, a hobo, etc....but we become cold.

The more we fill up our needs (according to the pyramid), the more we become like animals, like plants, like inanimate objects.

Without problem solving for example, PC users end up becoming more like plants. Where as plants need sunlight, we end up becoming humans chained to MMORpgs, Facebook, 24/7 internet and the more we rely on it, the more we're rooted to our chairs. Yes, we could stand up but eventually that's no better as mobile gadgets make us more rooted to an external piece of device.

Only people who have solved the problem of computer ignorance can humanize themselves while still being addictive to a computer lifestyle. Why is that?

Because when you learn to troubleshoot computers, you get to improve upon your area of employment. Not just in terms of opportunities or promotions but also in terms of expansion. When computer software are just like paper to you and you can make great art, you can have a job as an artist and all the benefits that comes with that versus someone who barely scrapes by on a PC.

When you know how to hack, certain desires that you used to do with your computer expand. Maybe you used to just read an online news site, now you're knowledge makes you stand up from your seat and establish grassroots campaigns, gain faster knowledge of inside info that you used to have to rely on face value, do things that make the computer be more a tool rather than a drug even if you're consuming like a drug. It'd be the equivalent of someone who loves basketball getting to the NBA.

In terms of humanizing inanimate objects, just ask anyone who feels like they are in a dead end job or have bad training how much static their world is. Not only this but there's so many slice of life storylines made to depict such human beings who fall into a job, fall into a depression, fall into apathy. All these very possible not just despite of love or security or water or food but often times because of those.

In terms of humanizing animals. without morality, soldiers would consistently go to war like bots assigned by politicians to kill a target. Without creativity...film,art, sexual positions, innovations...all those stagnate. Without spontaneity, we'd end up feeling suicidal over one situation that makes us depressed and the world while dynamic, would seem dull to us. The list goes on and on.

That's a basic flaw of Maslow's hierarchy if you omit self-actualization.

Of course then the question is, why not just put creativity on top? Why not just put any pet word you want on top like your pet word of transcendence?

Hell, why not buzz it up? Why not just say dreams or goal setting or GTD black belt...why not just put a word that people want to transcend to? Why not just put spirituality? Why not just put religion? Why not just put being worshipped as  a king in a world where monarchy is dead?

Because those don't properly encompass what humans aspire to. Not only that, it doesn't address basic human delusion. People who want to become firemen end up not wanting to become one as they grow up.

People who transcend so many office politics end up becoming more bitter and psychopathic because of what they have to sacrifice.

Even those who "self-transcend", how many "self-transcend" from lowly virtuous politician only to be eaten alive post-transcendance and become corrupt politicians who continue the toxic job of a status quo? How many become Che Guevaras? How many become Ferdinand Marcos? How many become Obamas? Even in literature there's plenty of examples.

It is not some deep or obscure pitfall.

The Queen in Snow White transcended to become a queen only to die how?

The Little Mermaid transcended the basic acquisition of love only to be payed by her lover how?

Even in modern kid's tales. Shrek transcended from Ogre to Hero only to destroy the kingdom in Shrek Forever After and managed to make up for it simply because of a retcon loophole.

At the same time, people do transcend but what makes their transcendence different?

That is the difficulty the word self-actualization is trying to encompass.

What is a word that can differentiate between Muhammad Ali and other sports athletes while still respecting elite sports achievement such as those done by Michael Jordan for basketball? What is a word that can encompass both sets of those motivations while still fulfilling it's place as a need.

Not only that, what is a word where it can both fit a criteria where you can place creativity at the top while still demanding a form of fusion where you have to involve your love, your belonging, your security, your physiological needs...you have to put all those motivations together just to gain the consistent guts to train for a prize fight, the consistent guts to be a brave soldier who has a specialty surpassing the ordinary soldier who is also brave? What is a word that would make one organize a revolution against their King, Oligarch or even mini-dictator like mayors especially a revolution that has a 1% chance of success?

What is a word that not only encompasses a person reaching a certain state yet not simply glorify him for reaching a hard to reach spot?

...for it's too easy to use that as a con. When the world can respect a position that's historically linked to the most anti-Christ tasks such as mass murder. A position that was even once accused of being the Anti-Christ: The position of Pope...then you know it is dangerous to simply use any word like transcendence as the top of any "need chain". I am not saying it's not a remarkable achievement to transcend especially self-transcend but just like any buzz word that has been used to cultify the desperate... such a word placed on top would be glorified in such a manner that it provides a false picture of need.

...yet want is important is it not? Pass the physiological level, are not love/safety/belonging just as much wants as they are needs? What word can avoid that?

I'm not saying self-actualization has done a picture perfect job of filling that position but that is what the definition of self-actualization is trying to define and it's what I mean when I wrote: "Each layer of Maslow's hierarchy becomes more and more anthromorphic yet as we know of anthromorphism, many of that can be illusions humans created."

...only it gets worse:

To me, every word has two notability.

1) A word's definition is it's notability. Even a vague definition can be notable if it's definition has the intent to clarify. Especially as there are many philosophical, cultural and contextual based words that don't survive the transition to another language.

The 2nd one:

2) A word's impact and influence to one's philosophy. Example: If that hobo from across the street wrote Politics in the English Language with the same content but with a different title like, TrampSpeak in the Bazoo of the Barnacle... would you use that lesser known example or would you cling towards the authoritative familiarity of Orwell? It's a rhetorical question but such a choice defines and decides why a person would use a certain phrase or a certain line of explanation to define something.

Therefore when I wrote:

"Each layer of Maslow's hierarchy becomes more and more anthromorphic yet as we know of anthromorphism, many of that can be illusions humans created."

...I also meant to highlight by using Paul Farmer as an example the case that the above "standard" is a kiddie one.

The world is a lot worse than Popes. It's a lot worse than Presidents. It's a lot worse than governors.

Unlike Hollywood movies, life does not end in a happy or conclusive ending.

...but also unlike unorthodox Hollywood and indy films, life does not end at all and I think because of this fact, the word self-actualization (while it can be used as a buzz word) also transcends and does a good job of being the word on top of the hierarchy needs.

There's the part where glorifying leads to buzz words and cons and all of the things I wrote above.

Then there's reality. If self-actualization is just a state, then it can't be superior to the lower levels of the pyramid. After all, no one considers love to be just something you "transcend" over. Not even in an idealized romanticized version of love. Not even if love is painted as a mindset. Love is not a word whose definition sticks.

You can think you're in love only to find out you're not. You can think you're used to love only to find out you've fallen in love again. You can even live an entire life cycle where you encompass most of the social norms of love like years of marriage, loyalty to your wife, opted for a loved one over a better sex partner, loved not just your wife but become a person who's reknowned for loving lots of people but still loving your wife the most...all those, yet it's very possible for you to realize on your death bed that you've not truly loved at all.

That's the beauty of the word "actual". What is actual to you now may not be actual a second later. What is actual to others that they impose on you may not be something that you impose on yourself. Add the -ize and it's just as beautiful.

What seems like a word similar to "activate" sounds more profound if only because of our basic knowledge or habits when we used the word actual.

Then add self and -tion and it is really a word that transcends it's basic lexicon if only because we often think of the word self as referring to "us".

It's not though. As most productivity based self-help books that are often praised like to hide behind on: Self can mean your goals, self can mean your influence, self can mean everything you as a human being is doing around you.

Self can basically mean what you can and have and are now capable of achieving. In short, self can be a word used for BS and buzz especially as an add-on and self-actualization is no different.

What is different though is that actualization as a word is both too wordy and too obscure to use as a buzz word and the only reason it can be used to BS someone is because the hierarchy of needs became famous.

In truth, it's word holds a basic yet great philosophical question similar to questions like "What is free will?" and "Who owns the sky?"

Things that used to be grand and profound and have now become made tedious by academia.

The question self-actualization alludes to ask me when I read it is: "What is your actual self?"

Now without the hierarchy, the question itself is nothing special to me.

It's the combination of the obviousness of the lower needs plus the word self-actualization that makes it profound.

To link this to my above addendum, the reason I say it's worse is that self-actualization also hints to the fact that even if you fused your creativity and belonging and love and physiological needs...you're not really doing enough of the needs...but worse, you may not even realize it...but even worse, you may reject it upon realizing it.

For example, lots of people praise/want to be Jesus, Paul Farmer, someone else...but what's toxic is that often times we don't even know ourselves and that's why even the best idealized fusion of the lower needs of the pyramid are not enough to simply be written as "Fusion of the elevated experience of the below needs". It has to be written as self-actualization if simply for the fact that what truly motivates us (even if we're just limiting it to philosophy) is not something that we truly know or embrace....or even when we embrace it, we'd quit mid-way of our life.

But that's not what makes it worst. What makes it worst is that even if you embrace it, there's no neutral or even cynical ending.

Someone who wants to be a follower of God does not necessarily want to be crucified...or even punished in a lesser manner. So those who do indeed go through that...even in a world where crucifixion is likely, assuming they did not just do it to commit suicide or are masochistic in nature, these people are the ones who self-actualize. That is to say, these people do not just overcome. They do not just reach. They are philosophically hard wired towards this. It's not just a conscious choice nor is it a totally subconscious decision. It's a living lifestyle but it's also a constant lifestyle of achieving enhanced safety, enhanced belonging, enhanced physiological access across a wider span of the planet... it's borderline crazy.

If you want to throw some Hindu Philosophy on it, I can only rely on some Buddhist examples like:

http://www.insightme...at-theme-march-2010/

Quote
“Furthermore, when going forward & returning, he makes himself fully alert; when looking toward & looking away… when bending & extending his limbs… when carrying his outer cloak, his upper robe & his bowl… when eating, drinking, chewing, & savoring… when urinating & defecating… when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, & remaining silent, he makes himself fully alert”.

Are you kidding me?! Who's mindful when they are urinating and defecating?! It's impressive to just be able to pray when nature calls but indeed not only do teachers/disciples/scholars tend to omit these details but they don't dare state it in such details.

Instead this is just an addendum. For a person to go to this extreme and be truly mindful, they would have to not only self-identify and transcend into a state of mindfulness, they have to self-actualize. Just to bring forth the full picture: You have to consistently be fully alert whenever you're defecating and urinating. It doesn't matter the intensity of your bowel pains. It doesn't matter if you can't find a place to pee or the public toilet is so dirty and there's no tissue paper, you have to be alert and there's no reward. (Well there is in a religious enlightenment sense but still...no one will blame you if you fail this one detail...)

That's the depths of self actualization. In it's true lexicon, in it's sincerest definition, it has no rewards and it's anti-motivational despite supposedly being a need that someone has to fill.

As far as ahamkara, I don't want to go into details because I still respect your posts in other threads but have you asked yourself:

"You know Paul Keith, you have a point there."

Because I have, and the lengths of my replies and the directions they go forth on are existing evidence that you may not understand me but I try to make you understand through constant rephrasing, re-editing all while you insert such unhelpful replies and constantly repeat the same vague "there's no clear definition for this" and now you've even gone forth to flaming me as delusional and worse you treat a word like ahamkara so lightly that it becomes a BS word in your usage.

While I fail to see why such a non-passion necessary post could lead to such deep insults, because I respect you and I respect this community, I suggest you find some way to revisit your perception because you're not being rational as far as this post goes. By using ahamkara in such a light manner just as a way to avoid the discussion, that is not only passion, that is vitriole.

As you said you can choose and I'm not even a novice on Hindu philosophy but again, I suggest you reflect on your recent post. I don't care if your later reply claims that you have reflected prior to writing that post...ahamkara is not a word you throw out in a civil internet discussion. Ego is ego but ahamkara is not just ego, it's not just delusion, it's not just anger, it's not even the delusion of insisting a certain belief.

Please reflect! Again, I am in conflict because you're usually as you say a rational user. Not only that but by telling you to reflect, it can be interpreted as an angry rebuttal to your own words. Not only this but I am also not very familiar with Hindu philosophy so what right do I have to tell you to reflect? Furthermore, who knows whether you're just trolling me or not.

If you're sincere in using such a grave word as ahamkara though in this context, forgive me for not treating you as an equal and only being able to comeback with a simple rhetoric of reflect. Reflect and understand why the bolded parts of this paragraph was included in the story:

http://scriptures.ru/guide_in.htm

Quote
205. What is the inner significance of the story of Gajendra Moksha?

Gajendra was a king in his previous birth and he became an elephant on account of a curse given to him by a sage. Here king signifies Atma. Atma is the king and Paramatma is the kingmaster. This elephant forgot the Atmatatwa and he was leading a life of attachment and illusion, entering the forest of life. Wandering in the forest of life it became thirsty. This thirst relates to the enjoyment of the senses. Immediately it saw a lake. This lake signifies worldly desires and that is called the samsara. He wanted to enjoy the pleasure of samsara and entered the lake. At once a crocodile, which can be compared to 'Mamakara' or attachment and 'Ahamkara' or ego, caught hold of its leg. The elephant was not able to escape from it. It tried all its physical and mental strength but in vain. At last it prayed for God's help. Similarly we are leading our lives entirely depending upon the strength of the body and mind. But these are not capable of giving happiness or peace. When we dedicate these two strengths to God and think that everything depends upon the grace of God, then we may get peace and happiness with the grace of God. When the elephant prayed, God sent his Chakra called "Sudarsana Chakra" and killed the crocodile and saved the elephant. The inner meaning of 'Sudarsana' is "Su" means good - darshan means vision. So Sudarshan is not merely a weapon or instrument: it is the good look of God, when elephant turned his sight to God, the look of God also turned towards the elephant. So also our Bhagawan says "You look to me and I shall certainly look to you".

Furthermore reflect on why:

Quote
The crocodile in its last life was a king called HuHu in the Gandharva planet. Once while enjoying himself in the waters, he pulled the leg of a sage. The enraged sage cursed the king to become a crocodile in his next life. The repentant HuHu asked for pardon. The Sage proclaimed that though he cannot reverse the curse, the crocodile would be liberated from the cycle of birth and death when Gajendra would be saved by the Lord Vishnu Himself.

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Gajendra_Moksha


IainB

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #48 on: June 04, 2012, 05:53:20 PM »
Well, I'm sorry Keith, this is all very repetitive. Maybe we are talking at cross-purposes and will never be able to understand each other in this - and it's possibly because of our different and peculiar paradigms.
The trouble is that I have not yet found a more useful/constructive paradigm than one which is fundamentally rationalistic, and, looking at the world through that paradigm, and thinking with it, I see some of your writing in this thread as sometimes being irrational and thus largely incomprehensible.
If you take a classic communication model:
Transmitter parcels communication:-->encode-->transmit-->decode--> :Recipient reads parcel and understands.
- then what you say does not seem to decode at my end into something that is entirely comprehensible to me. Failure of communication.

I only used the definition of "transcendent" because there was no working definition (that I am aware of) that we were using for "self-actualisation". I have consistently pointed out that a discussion that uses undefined terms cannot be rational, by definition (that's not an opinion).
By suggesting "transcendent", I was only trying to be helpful and move things along. If that definition ("transcendent") won't do, then why do you not not suggest something else that will do? Otherwise, continuing discussing things using the term "self-actualisation" would indeed be (as I think I have already suggested) rather like discussing the buttons on the Emperor's new (invisible) clothes - i.e., an absurdity/irrationality.

I think I did previously establish the connection between BS=jargon=buzzord=cliché, so that should be nothing new.

The term "ahamkara":
  • Could never fit into that equation, simply because it has a clear definition - as the condition of being in a completely illusory state where, in the mind, the "self" becomes bound up with "a created thing".
  • Does not require any religious mumbo-jumbo to understand it. It happens to be a useful and self-supporting concept taken out of ancient Vedic philosophy and later incorporated into Hinduism.
  • Because it is such a concept, I can do what the heck I want with it without abusing anyone or anything, and it's use does not rely on alignment with any mumbo-jumbo in Hinduism.

By the way, I don't "hate" buzzwords as you suggest. I merely detest the use of buzzwords in attempts to hold a rational discussion or in making an argument. The use of such terms potentially clouds our thinking, and that could make us stupid and easier for others to manipulate. It also undermines or defeats the objective of holding a rational discussion. If you unthinkingly accept the use of buzzwords in an argument, then you effectively relinquish the responsibility for thinking for yourself.

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Are you kidding me?! Who's mindful when they are urinating and defecating?
Anyone who wishes to practice mindfulness as a meditative exercise. I can confirm this is so from my own experience in meditation.

Then there's reality. If self-actualization is just a state, then it can't be superior to the lower levels of the pyramid.
You would probably be right, but the thing about Maslow's pyramid was that it was a hierarchy of needs. It wasn't suggesting relative superiority/inferiority of states per se, but merely that you could not move from the 1st need level to the 2nd one until your needs at the 1st level had been met, and so on. I think that that part of Maslow's theory stands up pretty well, simply because he defined them as fixed but necessarily linearly successive states.
The trouble with using pyramids in diagrams is that they are ambiguous on their own. If you employ them in a concept diagram, then one person's interpretation of meaning could be quite different to what the author might have intended.

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"Each layer of Maslow's hierarchy becomes more and more anthromorphic..."
Well, yes, of course it is anthropomorphic. It is, after all, supposed to be modelling human needs. Whether it becomes more anthropomorphic as you progress up the pyramid would arguably be a matter of individual perception.

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For a person to go to this extreme and be truly mindful, they would have to...
I am not aware that the Universe has put any rules on what must be done to be truly mindful, though I strongly suspect that meditation helps as a start.

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"You know Paul Keith, you have a point there."
I actually did ask myself that question, before writing what I did. I considered but was unsure as to whether it was my inability to decode what you said, or your inability to put things more rationally, or a mixture of both that was the problem.

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If you're sincere in using such a grave word as ahamkara though in this context...
- and there I think you show something of yourself. Who says it is a "grave word"? It can be any kind of word. I call it a useful and defined concept. It is merely a very useful tool for thinking with. Ahamkara with the word ahamkara? Possibly ahamkara with the terms "self-actualisation" and gamification as well?
We are all probably in a state of ahamkara to some degree, at one stage or another, if not all the time.

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...life does not end at all...
Can be neither proven nor disproven, except presumably by individual experience.
Transcendence.

But "self-actualisation" = a form of transcendence as I had suggested? It could be so, as I supposed, but I am not convinced. Who knows? I only siuggested it as a working definition, to get out of this rut we seem to be in.

However, all this would seem to be a long way from the absurdity of "Gamification and designing up Maslow's pyramid".

Paul Keith

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Re: Beyond Gamification. Designing up Maslow’s Pyramid.
« Reply #49 on: June 05, 2012, 04:28:08 AM »
Quote from: IainB
I have consistently pointed out that a discussion that uses undefined terms cannot be rational, by definition (that's not an opinion).

Then you need to reflect more on your own post.

Rational behaviour would be either one of these:

1) Make your case and then reply to it as a failure of communication

2) Repeat your case and then rephrase it to make it easier to understand

Rational behaviour would not include these:

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I only used the definition of "transcendent" because there was no working definition (that I am aware of) that we were using for "self-actualisation"

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I wonder if, because you have inadvertently used these BS words in trying to articulate your thinking in what you have written here or elsewhere, you might have entered into a state of ahamkara with the very BS terms we have been discussing.
If that (ahamkara) is the case, then:

    * (a) you will be unable to accept any denial of their existence as real/useful objects, because to do so would mean that you had been mistaken in using them in the first place, and your ego can't allow that thought (cf. De Bono re "intellectual deadlock"). So your ego may now oblige you to have to defend these useless BS things instead of saying, "You know Iain, you have a point there. They are purely imaginary and undefined constructs and I have only been imagining that I have been using them, but it seemed very real to me at the time."
    * (b) to rationally refute the terms at this stage could be a very hard thing for you to do, but it would be interesting if you were able to do it. It would probably demonstrate that you are able to exercise the capacity to overcome your internal intellectual deadlock and transcend your ego, and become more rational in the process.

...now you're even stepping back on your own words.

You didn't take a classic communication model.

1) This is not your first reply so it didn't stop at decode and you didn't just received...you replied. Several times at that.

2) You may have understood or misunderstood but you did not simply failed to decode in your last post. You decided to obfuscate/shred/insert new irrational content.

It can't even be objectively rationalized that you were trying to be helpful. There's too many irrational things with your previous and current line of thinking.

For example your mixing of ahamkara and trascendent and gamification, etc. etc.

A rational person would have easily figured out that sticking to one word would have been helpful if indeed inserting the word transcendent is what you mean by helpful.

As an addendum, if you were trying to be helpful, you would be defining why transcendent is not a buzz word but instead you're focusing on ahamkara.

One also cannot ignore the obvious. Even if one were to accept that you were trying to be helpful, why is it that you added a word for self-actualization and simply mixed and repeated the BS/buzzword/cliche demagoguery for the other terms?

Even here, I dare you to rationalize to me how this is objective:
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then why do you not not suggest something else that will do? Otherwise, continuing discussing things using the term "self-actualisation" would indeed be (as I think I have already suggested) rather like discussing the buttons on the Emperor's new (invisible) clothes - i.e., an absurdity/irrationality.

A rational man would have simply asked, "why do you not suggest something else that will do?"

Nay, a rational man would have already remarked on how I have done so already several times and explained why my previous suggestion does not make sense to him.

You sir, though often are rational, am not being a rational person in this thread. Why, you cannot even keep yourself from repeating the words Emperor's new clothes several times. Each time adding one new insult or sarcasm such as (invisible).

The term "ahamkara":
  • Could be used as a BS word if a person is so in love with the word that their defense is not "I am not using it as such because of so and so" but instead they start with "Could never. It is akin to someone saying a car could never or a gun could never or a religion could never or... vedic philosophy could never be corrupted by someone irrational. As the old saying goes, never say never.
  • Could be used as a BS word if one claims it does not require mumbo jumbo only to be the one who previously added such mumbo jumbo like:

    Quote
    you will be unable to accept any denial of their existence as real/useful objects,

    If one is unable then how can one ahamkara be subordinated to the lord?

    Quote
    and your ego can't allow that thought (cf. De Bono re "intellectual deadlock").

    If ahamkara is so clear then why do you fear it's "clear" definition and defer to another word "intellectual deadlock".

    Quote
    So your ego may now oblige you to have to defend these useless BS things instead of saying,

    If ahamkara is so clear then why do you include such guilt inducing words as "defending these useless or BS things"? I dare you to find the equivalent of useless and BS when relating to ahamkara in Hindu philosophy.

    No, these are your own additions. Your own mumbo jumbo on top of ahamkara. They may not be religious mumbo jumbo (or they may depending on the atheist or other religious sect you ask) but what any rational man could clearly see with this post is that even if ahamkara does not require, you have so little faith in it's definition that you require the addition of other things besides the definition of ahamkara to accuse another person of being in such a state. You require these because while your love for the word may be pure, your ego cannot give you the confidence to put your faith in another party's acceptance of ahamkara even when said party has not yet replied. It is so because your ego is still unsure whether you can accept your pet word being debunked in it's own terms and thus you have to kill dissent before it even arises.
  • Finally to paraphrase a Star Wars quote,

    Quote from: the passion is strong in this one
    Because it is such a concept, I can do what the heck I want with it without abusing anyone or anything, and it's use does not rely on alignment with any mumbo-jumbo in Hinduism.
Speaking of BS logic: "Yes, you are right. Hate and detest would not be considered the same words in the context of this discussion." /sarcasm

Again, I apologize for being harsh. I am not a religious person but I can be a fundamentalist when I observe that someone is misusing and bastardizing a religious or spiritual or philosophical dogma to pump themselves up whether it is to win an illusionary argument/to defend their own egos/or simply to attack another person with more unorthodox words. I try to be less passionate about it but it's hard when you know a person has done better before. I'm almost always motivated to call them out on it even to the point of offending them.

As you say, one can detest the use of any word. I will say though, you are confused. Of course if a topic includes words that you consider buzz words then of course those words would be included in the discussion lest you want to go off-topic. To adopt such an attitude and post in a thread you detest would cloud the rationality of a thread more than simply desiring the removal of buzz words in any discussion especially when a rational person like you would end up acting irrational because of your... detestation.

Quote from: IainB
You would probably be right, but the thing about Maslow's pyramid was that it was a hierarchy of needs. It wasn't suggesting relative superiority/inferiority of states per se, but merely that you could not move from the 1st need level to the 2nd one until your needs at the 1st level had been met, and so on. I think that that part of Maslow's theory stands up pretty well, simply because he defined them as fixed but necessarily linearly successive states.
The trouble with using pyramids in diagrams is that they are ambiguous on their own. If you employ them in a concept diagram, then one person's interpretation of meaning could be quite different to what the author might have intended.

True. But as the pyramid was made then yes, it depicts a relative superiority/inferiority of needs. (not states).

This doesn't devalue the inferior need though for the very reason you cited: "the 1st level is required for the 2nd level therefore the 1st will always be a necessary need but the higher level would always be more of a desirable need."

I would say this is not a weakness though but a strength. If we should adopt Maslow's personal interpretation of love then what happens when we disagree with his version of love? The inflexibility of such an idea would keep the hierarchy of needs from being valid.

Even with food and water. If this is rigid to Maslow's interpretation then clearly abundance of food and water would be a physiological requirement for love but that is not the case for many impoverished areas of the world. One can fulfill the need of belonging if for a brief moment that trickle of water preserves them a moment to live and said belonging could be imparted by the mutual love of two beings. It may not be truly safe...say the couple is surrounded by approaching scorpions, snakes and wolves while a mega-tsunami full of immortal sharks is going to wash upon them but one could fulfill the need of safety/belong/love/etc if only because they can acquire an extended time that would allow them to feel a sense of peace before they die thanks to that trickle of water.

Quote from: IainB
Well, yes, of course it is anthropomorphic. It is, after all, supposed to be modelling human needs. Whether it becomes more anthropomorphic as you progress up the pyramid would arguably be a matter of individual perception.

Incorrect. Human needs differ from culture to culture. (no different from animals)

Anthropomorphism is when the mind tries to rise over the cultural/social bias to depict humanity in a more objective light. Unfortunately because it does so, it mistakes certain attributes for it relieves said attributes of the right context especially when one is not fully knowledgeable of a different culture. That's why it is possible to be applied to inanimate objects or animals.

There is little anthropomorphic view about the physiological needs for example. You can program a robot to not only eat but need food or water with the proper innovation and that would not raise the anthropomorphic view that much.

In fact, you don't need to wait for robots. How many humans apply an anthropomorphic view to puppies drinking water or eating food? Little to none. It is instead the desire for hunger and thirst that might raise that characteristic in a human. An attribute more related to safety than to the need of food or water.

Not only that but by adopting a model where the 2nd cannot be reached without the 1st, it is almost impossible to go up without becoming more anthropomorphic if only because the attributes of the 1st would be brought to the 2nd and the attributes of both the 1st and 2nd would be raised to the 3rd.

This is not just a case of perception. It is the inevitability of it's design.

Quote from: IainB
I actually did ask myself that question, before writing what I did. I considered but was unsure as to whether it was my inability to decode what you said, or your inability to put things more rationally, or a mixture of both that was the problem.

Then I apologize then but the feeling is mutual. Not until the part of this reply where you got back to talking about Maslow and my statement of anthropomorphism have I felt that you considered my point.

Quote from: IainB
- and there I think you show something of yourself. Who says it is a "grave word"? It can be any kind of word. I call it a useful and defined concept. It is merely a very useful tool for thinking with. Ahamkara with the word ahamkara? Possibly ahamkara with the terms "self-actualisation" and gamification as well?
We are all probably in a state of ahamkara to some degree, at one stage or another, if not all the time.

I don't know...maybe Hindu philosophy? Maybe Vedic philosophy?

To me, this shows less of me and more of your disconnect.

It would be like asking how the phrase "an eye for an eye" can be a grave word when thrown by a Christian.

Even you alluded to this by making a statement of "all the time". Any "all the time" event is a grave word especially when that "all the time" word is used in a contradicting observation where I, Paul Keith, somehow was not in a degree of ahamkara who with my constant posts in this topic "fell" into what should be a state that I should already have but not only fell but fell to the point that I fell into a severe state of ahamkara that I am deluding myself and keeping myself from admitting that you have any point despite constantly replying and borderline necro-bumping this thread after I have been briefly held back by a real world event from replying.

Sounds pretty grave to me.

Not only this but some consider ahamkara a "computer bug" left behind from the recreation of the universe. A bug so persistent that Krishna could not command nor save the world with his death (like Jesus and the concept of sin) and can only utter a detestation where it must be rejected somehow through subordinating it not just to a superior being (like one would delegate a problem to a specialist) but to THE most superior being that Krishna perceives.

Of course all grave words can be useful for thinking because of the gravity of their implications so yes, certain paradigms we use does make it harder for us to understand each other and this rebuttal is one of them. How can I show myself when most people would consider ahamkara a grave word especially when it is being thrown at them by what usually is a rational person? It's a weird line of thinking especially as it is you who introduced this word to the discussion. Introduced it in a manner directed at me rather than Maslow's hierarchy or Gamification even.

Quote from: IainB
Can be neither proven nor disproven, except presumably by individual experience.

Transcendence.

Uhh...no... I'm not talking about just individual life but the impact of individual life. The things left behind by a dead person like memories, influence, contributions, legacies.

But again, I am disappointed. We're back again to the cheap replies and now you've gone to cherry picking words and rebutting with your pet word transcendence when earlier in your reply you have already admitted it is unhelpful.

I can't even figure out your last paragraph as you don't even explain it. You simply humped on back to an unhelpful direction just when you seem to be leaving it just so you can have a last word on how much you detest buzz words.







« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 04:36:03 AM by Paul Keith »