March 04, 2006

The Game Gene Theory

Why evolution is the place to start
Philosophy and science are the basic disciplines of psychology and the question of human nature is fundamental, so human evolution is also of primary importance. I go back further to the question of the origin of life and the universe since only by this means can evolution and so humanity be explained sufficiently.
  • The first reason for this logic is that causes always have preceding causes and they have their own preceding causes back infinitely and there is no reason to limit a search to recent causes. The further back in the causal chain one goes the more accurate is the claim to have identified the cause of something.
  • A second reason for going back in the causal chain is that a (close-to-the-) original cause of something can have relevance in the recent cause for something. For example, if the original cause of life is a gene, a recent cause of life can be a gene. If an original cause of life could not be education, education will not be needed to cause life.

If one did not look at original causes, one could claim that Catholic education, for example, can cause life by discouraging birth control. Instead, the education has a cause in the opinions of church leaders, which has causes in history and culture, which have causes in environments and genetics, and so on and so on. The search for original causes is the search for recent causes.

The universe and evolution
The universe is infinite and all theories which offer an absolute beginning and/or an end are inaccurate. The reason is that no theory can avoid the concept of a preceding universe, a protouniverse, which causes the big bang, or causes god to snap his fingers. The universe is chaotic and matter is infinitely variable through chaos. As a result, matter eventually formed into a life at some point, if life was not already infinitely existing throughout time. It is like the story of the infinite number of monkeys working on typewriters an infinite amount of time and would eventually write Hamlet. Life is vastly improbable, but given enough time, inevitable.
The need for motivation
Life is different from non-life primarily by its motivation to act differently from other matter outside a simple cause and effect scenario. The toy is not life because it is not self-motivated to act, it is effected by someone else's motivation to act, or by other events. A rock does not act, so it needs no cause to act. A person needs a cause to act because it does act, but all actions eventually lead to death. Because all actions have the same effect there is no reason to act. As there is no reason to exist even when in existence, the motivation to act would need to be caused-structured into the life form-the cause is therefore called genetic. To survive without reason is possible for a brief moment, but to do so longer, life cannot without a cause.
Gene for motivation
A gene which allowed survival would need to motivate an action that aided survival when all actions eventually end the same way. However, chaos makes the survival of life unpredictable and so makes any measure of intelligence unable to ensure survival and makes the simplest intelligence capable of seeing all action as futile. If life used a gene which motivated only actions which guaranteed survival, no action would be taken as no action is certain to improve survival. The motivation must be towards actions which are not certain, as all actions have uncertain consequences, and towards actions which cannot ensure continued survival. This is not to say that the motivation is against survival. It must be a motivation which is separated from survival, but which consequently helps survival in most cases. Because the structure of games can be found in all directed irrelevant activities, which I explain below, the answer to this problem is a genetically programmed motivation to play games.
Seriousness of games
Before explaining how game playing works, it is important to note that the general understanding of games by life is as serious as the gladiatorial games and as superfluous as 52 card pick up. Seriousness or superfluousness are irrelevant distinctions to be made regarding games. Games serve as the blueprint for a universal motivation, because what is true about games as understood generally by human beings is also true of all motivated activity by all life-but I will restrict the discussion to human activities for this paper.
Game components
Games have several components. Games are chosen arbitrarily with one's values, and, like all actions, in the end serve no purpose, though the process towards winning and losing a game temporarily counterfeits a purpose by creating imaginary ends. A game will be chosen if it is valued and/or if it is the most available game which has value. Playing a game involves using some degree of intellect to understand the rules, goals, and risks/challenges in relation to values, and the reason games are played is for emotional rewards, which memory and intellect turn into new values. Emotions are the source of value even when substitutes for values, like money, or survival, are superficially considered the reward.
Each component of human game playing has its equivalent in other forms of life: in fungi, in plants and in animals. But, in the same way that eyes may vary in structure from fly to horse to crab and still accomplish the same task, the game gene may vary in structure from fungi to plant to animal and still accomplish the same motivation to play games. However, I do not intend to demonstrate the commonalty of a game disposition among all life forms in this paper, I restrict my discussion to human beings and only refer to other life forms as game players now in order to explain where human beings sit in relation to the rest of the universe and by extension why human ethics have little relevance in relation to the universe. GEOFFREY HAMILTON April 15, 1998

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