Is life a game of poker?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wynn, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    In a poker game, the players make an effort to conceal their cards from other players, and to put on an appearance that would not reveal the state of their mind - whether they are glad to have had good cards dealt, or sad that they got bad ones.

    All players know that it is all just a game, and they all know each one of them is trying to trick or outsmarten others, and they all know that the poker faces are just an act.



    Are people like that about real life as well?

    Everyone knowing that it is just a game - but pretending it is not?
    Everyone knowing that it is just a matter of keeping up appearances - but pretending it is not?
     
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  3. birch Valued Senior Member

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    yes, life is like that and scrabble, monopoly, life, candyland, shoots and ladders..
     
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  5. Enmos Valued Senior Member

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    || Thread moved from "Free Thoughts" to "General Philosophy".
     
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  7. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    No, everyone is different. Your personal view is taken from your inner mirror. If you want to hang someone then it is because your mirror reflects an inner anger almost as bad as the person that committed the crime.
     
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    We all start out in life with a full deck, mostly, but somehow to many come up with a few cards missing. Knowing that we can assume that we all really never know what cards anyone has left.
     
  9. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    Genetics are random and after that perhaps one might compare life to a game of Hold Em, where community cards are available to all players and the ability to make mathematically and psychologically correct decisions comes into play.

    Have you played poker, wynn?
     
  10. birch Valued Senior Member

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    this mystery is not really a mystery. it is just that it's a result of interaction unseen.

    very few people end up with what they started with and very few people really stay whole or their original self. some people end up with more and some less. this is because others either damage or steal it as not all interaction is with seemingly normal intention or just from life's ups/downs. this is the whole point of the 'poker' metaphor and people can take advantage of eachother. people use or feed off eachother physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually but that process can be disparate or very unfair at times. this is one of the reasons why that just because one seems successful, it may not always have been arrived at by noble means. it's again, appearances can be deceiving.

    the poker metaphor is a good one for highlighting the primal nature. it's those who are trusting or genuinely honest and don't realize that is what is going on that will be taken advantage of even more. the point being is that people do abide by rules but if there is any way to get around it(and there are plenty of opportunities to manipulate), they will while pretending they are honest with the poker face. this is why you can't trust people as most are only abiding by rules for their protection which will be ignored when opportunism in their favor strikes, rather than the pretense that they are actually moral.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    The most successful people are the ones who are still alive! Having a stacked deck only means that you'll die with money in your pocket but perhaps without any real accomplishments in your life.
     
  12. birch Valued Senior Member

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    you are not getting it. people's accomplishments can be at the utter or unfair expense of another. this is the point.

    it's not just about money (as that is often one of the goals) as there are myriads of ways to take advantage all along the way to accomplish one's goals or satiate one's desires anywhere from lying, stealing, abusing etc which in turn forces another to do the same to survive or to protect oneself.
     
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    First lessons are when a rude child is conditioned to stop speaking his/her mind, learning the game of civility, etc. Has benefits later in life, from used car salesmen to the Michael Corleone(s) of the world setting-up their brother Fredo with forgiveness. So to an extent, no, the many victims indicate that most of us eventually forget that the routines of "growing-up" and "adulthood" initially had an air of deceptive pretense or a feel of settling into an acting role. Unfortunately, there's a minority that never forgot, the new formal behaviors never truly developed into a dominating part of their inner personalities.
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Did you genuinely miss the point of the OP, or are you simply affirming it?
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure I understand - why unfortunately?
    Are you referring to criminals and "eternal children"?

    What about those who otherwise are unable to go along with the social pretenses? Not criminals or childish adults, just those who have a distaste for pretense and lying (and who express this aggressively towards others, or passively toward others and aggressively towards themselves)?
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    One big difference between life and poker is that life isn't a zero-sum game. It isn't true that if one person wins, then another person inevitably loses. It's possible for everyone to win (or to lose) simultaneously. There's an aspect of cooperation and shared purpose in life that's missing in poker.

    And that suggests another difference. In life, 'winning' isn't nearly as well-defined as it is in poker. It's almost as if different people may sometimes be playing different games entirely, with different rules, for entirely different purposes.

    Is life just a game?

    What's a 'game'? In order for something to be 'just a game', must actions performed during the game lack any utility or consequence outside the game?

    (If that's the case, then many high-stakes poker games aren't really games at all.)

    Would the absence of God transform life into nothing but a game, by robbing our actions of any greater ultimate purpose? Or is the game-analogy simply unavoidable, with any God that we might imagine simply representing the promised transcendental casino jackpot for the lucky winners. Is the universe's supposed divine purpose simply the rules of the imaginary game of 'Salvation'?

    There is an element of 'hiddenness' to everyone, I guess. We want and we need contact with others. And sometimes we fear that there are aspects to ourselves, to our emotions, that would make other people think less of us or might threaten to drive them away. So we self-censor and we keep some of our feelings private. It's probably true that everyone's 'keeping up appearances' to some extent.

    Some might even define 'nobility', at least in part, as the ability to avoid falling apart and to keep doing that even under extreme stress. The brave soldier entering into hopeless battle, the one who never abandons her principles and retains her dignity even in martyrdom.

    Perhaps seen from some imaginary cosmic perspective, maybe life is all just a game in the sense there's nothing transcendental beyond it that explains it and makes it meaningful. Perhaps from that perspective Shakespeare's Macbeth was right, that life is "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing".

    But down here in our world, on our plane, in our lives, it's very real indeed. We are inextricably enmeshed in it and to a large extent it's what defines us. We might choose to dismiss all of it as a game, but the fact remains that it's what brought us into being and makes us what we are.

    So I don't think that other people are play-acting exactly. That's not the right word. They are probably keeping aspects of themselves private, but they aren't typically hiding an awareness that nothing is real or meaningful. They are hiding things precisely because their lives are so important to them, so vulnerable and so at risk. That's why everyone around us plays the game of life so single-mindedly and with such passion. Because to them, in a very real sense, life isn't a game at all.
     
  17. Anti-Flag Pun intended Registered Senior Member

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    I'm all in and I call your bluff.
     
  18. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    While "criminals" would be part of it, it's too narrow for the rest -- the lighter deceptive facades and exaggerated claims, in business and commercial workings, politics and international affairs, personal social interactions, etc. When the formal routines of adulthood seem to be legit but aren't or are tainted (even an apparently admirable stoic front sometimes conceals what later leads to a hero's downfall).

    An "eternal child", OTOH, in the purest or most ideal sense, either failed at acting skills or had overwhelming distaste for it ("child" in this case implies the original rawness, rudeness, and unruliness of unedited thought, speech, and behavior -- not the supposed kind of "innocence" that often has actually been augmented with absorbing some civility and etiquette). Thus, such individuals would lack a composure and a mature system to hide behind, to pervert or take advantage of. Or to even have the initial pretense fade away to more or less settling into the new roles as "the real thing", regarding the average person (though imperfect, not that ideal). Their fully open lack of conformity sometimes garnering its own brand of "unfortunate", as when we see people being persecuted for not following the applicable script (as well as the opposite, when ad-lib or deviating performances fit into nature of a play: Receiving applause).
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  19. birch Valued Senior Member

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    this is exactly what acting is, it's not true innocence. the perpetuated lie, of course, is that it's adults who are naturally understanding of compassion or etiquette which is complete bs. they all have different natures, just like children. there are children who naturally are sweeter and compassionate and those who aren't. you can witness it in any nursery or school. the rules of 'civility' in society apply to everyone, which means some will be acting (of course in degrees) and some will be more genuine because those rules are what they innately may agree with (again, in degrees depending on what particular rules they are).
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I wasn't thinking of that, actually.


    Just acknowledging the rather bizarre fact that people often complain about fakeness, about someone "not being a real person" or "lacking personality," lack of honesty, social charades etc. - and then they themselves do precisely those same things that they so criticize.


    But consider the extent to which this hiding goes!

    For example, a person who would prefer to be a vegetarian, but who eats meat anyway, for fear of being stigmatized as abnormal.
    Or people repeatedly going to a restaurant where they dislike the food, but go there anyway and claim that the food is good.
    People even marry in such acts of hiding.

    With so much hiding going on - where is their actual life, the life they are trying to protect?
     
  21. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Some people worry too much about what others think.
     
  22. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I really don't think everyone knows that at all. Perhaps some do, say 40 percent or less but the rest don't have a clue because all they are trying to do is survive from day to day or just work to earn enough money to get by on.
     
  23. Faure Registered Senior Member

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    Its certainly the case that everyone signals and everyone counter-signals and so on, but that doesn't mean people are ONLY motivated by appearances.

    Life is like a poker game in that signaling matters, counter signaling matters, but at the end of the day you sometimes have to lay out your cards for everyone to see and then, the truth sure does matter!
     

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