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June 03, 2009


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games of all things embody some of Papert's big ideas. Let's take the example of a RTS (real time strategy) game. Typically, the player is faced with making choices that have outcomes, immediate and long term. RTS can also impart lessons of leadership, be it sacrifice of your immediate needs (to build / fortify those around you), to sacrifice of resources (immediate action) to gain a longer term goal or learning the momentum of force (the 3 laws of motion) also apply on the battlefield. {we could wax philosophical here and talk about yin/yang, RTS teaches when to harmonize and when to neutralize}

I can understand the draw of this book as he is very much a kindred spirit of learning, asking why, and has such a large internal framework allowing him to absorb / incorporate different modalities of perception. I would offer that to have his kind of framework, you need to embody an outstanding principle of Tai Chi : neither insist nor resist. Hmmm, another discussion, another day... (Hi Ying!)

Ying Tan

Good points, Rich. Sounds like you have played a lot of games. Do you have any good ones to recommend?
Your second comment is especially interesting. My own way of understanding is largely through equations and abstraction. After having kids and reading books such as this one, I started to question whether I really understand something and how I possibly know when I do. If I can not represent my thoughts in a different framework, or if I can not explain something in plain English, does that mean I don’t really understand? I like your idea of “neither insist nor resist”. That is a great strategy to deal with the inevitable stage of confusion of the learning process. Don’t you think?

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