Confession: I am tired of playing games and I am not that good at playing them.

This is my anti-game manifesto.

If you think the anti-game is also a game then you have a point. The anti-game is a game in some ways but there are no pre-determined set of rules. The only rule is to foster certain values I think are positive about people: creativity, openness, reason, communication, comaraderie, understanding, integrity, responsibility. The difference about the anti-game is that the process and the end result are one and the same thing: conviction, directness, forthrightness, transparency, legitimacy, truth, truth, truth…

Here are some general guidelines I came up with:

  • Express yourself politically. Denounce diplomacy because you are hiding behind it anyway.
  • Tell other people exactly how you feel about them. This should be done at the right time and place because you want to be sensitive to context so that you communicate as honestly as possible. If they have hurt you, tell them. If they made you feel appreciated, let them know. If you love them then don’t pretend you don’t.
  • Overturn gender roles. We all know when we’re performing femininity and masculinity. Stop playing and just do and say what you want – what you feel is natural. One way to recognize when you are playing a gender role is if you do a cost/benefit analysis. I.e. If I act this way I will elicit this response. If you just stop acting entirely I think you will see the most significant parts of us are not gendered.
  • Think. It’s the supreme anti-strategy. In cases of extreme pressure at work, school, family, etc. do not give out the response that’s expected of you just because it’s easiest. Think first. Remember that people don’t expect you to think. They expect you to react.
  • Do not spread hatred. Do not pretend that you don’t know what hatred is or that you don’t know when you are spreading it. Instead, figure out what it is that you have in common with someone you really think you hate, but, of course, …
  • …don’t try to fake similarities. Usually the similiarities between you and another person are superficial at best. They are mostly nonexistent after scratching the surface. Our differences are infinite and personal.
  • Realize your mistakes but then Do Not promise yourself that you will never repeat them. Don’t play games with yourself. Promise yourself that you will try to remember what you did last time and take that into consideration.
  • If you want to laugh or cry or do both at the same time don’t worry about what people will think. They will probably think you are human.
  • Guilt is a personal game. Be anti-guilt. You said it. You did it. So what? Focus on what you can do rather than what you have done.
  • Don’t deny what you said or did. As Thinker’s Room cleverly noted in his “Anatomy of a Kenyan MP” (June 2005):

Jack is one of the few people on this earth who can convincingly deny utterances he has made that have been captured on film. His outrage, shock and disappointment, followed by a loud and almost incoherent denial has to be seen to be believed. Video footage showing him actually say the things he is denying leave him unmoved an unimpressed. If anything the footage brings out the conspiracy theory in him.

Just don’t be Jack.

  • Be grateful for life when you can be. Don’t be unappreciative of what you have. Some people play the need more, gotta get more game. What about playing the anti-game called Enough?
  • Understand your shame. We all have some shame about something. To borrow from Frantz Fanon in Wretched of the Earth: ‘Shame is a revolutionary impulse.’ If you feel shame be at one with it. Face your feelings – you are telling yourself something.
  • You are valuable to people around you. Believe it.

Imagine what the world would be like if we all didn’t play games but anti-games? You are welcome to share some of your own anti-game manifesto ideas.