One more thing

29 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Yesterday I was reading “Methodology for Genetic Studies of Twins and Families” by Michael Neale and Hermine Maes. The diagram that you can see above comes from the book (p.11). It represents the process of creating a model (putting theory and data together in a mathematical form). While analyzing it my intuition told me:
– Why not using it to create a model of a board game? Not any particular game, just a game.
The model is ready, I called it “The Game” (very creative) and you can see it below. I will describe it to you soon.


The movie for our generation

29 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Do any of you remember a 1984 movie by Jerzy Skolimowski entitled “Success Is the Best Revenge” with Michael York? I have never seen it, but in my opinion this is the best title for a movie so far. Yesterday I watched “The Social Network” written by Aaron Sorkin (based on the book by Ben Mezrich) and directed by “dark” David Fincher. It was a blast. Dialogues like in a good Hollywood movie from the late 40’s, strong one-dimensional characters with a depth (is it even possible?), tension which is not decreasing, and a portrait of my generation. Is success the best revenge? You should ask Mark Zuckerberg. The movie is about how the success (The Facebook, later Facebook) was formed, with what price, and how it changed our lives. I have no idea why, but it reminded me “Citizen Kane”. Instead of the Rosebud we get Erica Albright .
A top notch Holywood movie – they don’t make them like this anymore.

Life according to Dexter, Reiner, Jarosław and Niccolò

27 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Being on the hunt keeps me sharp and focused.
Thus, the better killer I am, the better father.
– Dexter Morgan

Yesterday I promised myself to present three types of research: the one on sleep, on board games and on TV series. Unfortunately, I did not do it – mea culpa. However, today I will also write about sleep, board games and TV series. I will also write about politics.
Probably, if you are reading this, you know Dexter Morgan – the sympatethic serial killer who acompanies us for 5 seasons already . Again, someone had a very good idea for a character and made a super hero from a psychopath. The most interesting thing for me is the main characters disorder ethiology. The series shows that in order to be a psychopath you just need to have a traumatic child memories (you mother killed in front of your eyes; her blood on your face, etc.). The series tries to prove the mechanism twice: once by using the example of Dexter, and for a second time by using you know little-who. In my opinion the series does not answer the question about the source of psychopathy: is it hereditary/inborn or is it a product of environment? On the one hand we have the blood bath in the series, on the other hand viewer feels that Dexter’s son also likes what his father does. Is it because of the blood bath, is it because of his daddys DNA? Probably both.
According to Dexter being a better (more focused) killer makes him a better father. Does being a better killer makes you a better (more effective) politician. Hitler, Stalin, Pinochet, Che Guevara – they were all good killers. It is like in “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli – goal above all. When I am reading about the contemporary political situation in Poland, I am thinking about two things: the goals and the game. What goals does Jarosław Kaczyński have, and in what game is he playing? What goals does the ruling party have, and in what game are they playing. The liberal media shows us the game of romanticism (martyrdom) and positivism (rationalism). The same game, but in a different light is showed by more conservative media. I don’t know what will be the result. Strange things about it told me my dream, which I would like to share. Jarosław Kaczyński went mad (so he did not even have a goal), he was put in a psychiatric ward, screaming that his real name is Konrad. PiS (Order and Justice) cased to exist. And this is very strange – the biggest political influence right after PO (Civic Platform) had “Solidarity” Union. I have no idea how did it happen, I just remember the opinion polls in my dream (Po first, “Solidarity” second).
According to Dexter Morgan, you need to be strongly focused on one thing in order to be good in another thing (killing – fatherhood; killing – politics). The whole caption cited at the beginning of this post is: “Being on the hunt keeps me sharp and focused. Thus, the better killer I am, the better father.” It is now interesting to compare this statement with another one, by dr Reiner Knizia : “When playing a game the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning”. Whatever you call it: hunt, game, chase, etc. in the end I will always see one word: “life”. When you focus on a process itself, not on the effect, everything is easier. Playing in order to play, hunting in order tu hunt – fully embracing the process – that’s what makes life complete and worth living. Jarosław Kaczyński is one of the best fuss makers in Polish politics. Dexter Morgan is the best fictional killer in the world. Reiner Knizia is one of the best real board game creators.

Sleep & Series & Games

26 October, 2010 Leave a comment

Does long sleep kill creativity? Does watching TV series kill creativity? Does playing board games kill creativity? I have no idea, but lately I noticed that something is killing my creativity.
When you think about it, long sleep should make your brain work better (or maybe not, I have to check it for a next post).
Contemporary TV series might also increase creativity, they are not dumb: Dexter, Six Feet Under, Dr House, Battlestar Galactica, Glee. Glee! I am watching with my girlfriend a second season already. The series is about high school choir (glee club). Inappropriate jokes about Jews, handicapped people, religion, mental illness and society are consciously mixed with a soap opera themes there. Glee has a characters that are so strong that they nearly jump out of the monitor… and music. Music! Above all music, in every episode you have 4 – 6 musical scenes, which are really good and creative. Does watching Glee fosters my creativity? I don’t know (I have to check it for a next post), but it is a really good (not the best), funny, intelligent and uplifting series.
The last thing are board games, I started playing them for real (meaning not only with my family, and not only twice a year) about 2 years ago, since then I played them 663 times. I am so sick that I actually keep track of all my games played on BGG. Yesterday I played just three: Neuroshima Hex! – a polish tile laying tactical abstract with a post-nuclear theme, Citadels – an action selection card game where players are building their part of medieval city and Notre Dame – a true euro-game with meeples, various mechanics, and an optimal strategy which must be better than that of your opponents. Yesterday my girlfriend strategy was 2 points better. I played the two other games with youths from the place I work, they had nothing to do and asked me – I had a lot of paper work but said yes. Do board games increase creativity? I don’t know (have to check it), but they increase your tactical and strategic skills for sure.

If you don’t know what meeples are, what the difference between euro game and ameritrash is, and what tile laying abstracts (with a little bit of theme) Reiner Knizia created – don’t worry. I am going to describe it all in the nearest future.

Julie & Julia & Nietzsche

25 October, 2010 1 comment

Julia & Nietzsche

If you think about it, writing in English is very hard.
Especially, when you can’t write in Polish.

Yesterday I watched a nice/entertaining movie with my girlfriend. It was about people who found the true meaning in their life – the activity which brought them pleasure, money and fame. Both of them didn’t think about it as a way of living in the begining, but then it turned out that everybody has a talent, you just have to find it. Joy is everywhere, and even when problems show up there is this good forgiving/supporting husband (and probably wife) which will help you. Believe in yourself, believe in what you do – if you do it with passion, believe in Hollywood and believe in happy ending. And everything is based on a true story! Not on one, but on two true stories! The amount of hope, hapiness and motivation to change your life is just stunning. However, the movie ends and the three values also end. Why?

I think it has something to do with Nietzsche’s (Nietzsches? Nietzsches’) concept or “resentiment”. The fell of joy which comes to us temporary with a movie, feeling of compassion for a fellow being, strong urge to change your life… All of them are there, but just for a moment. This is how resentiment works, or how I understand it, it is a feeling that makes you a real person, but just for a short moment, bacause it is just a temporal flow of increased dopamine and probably endorphines. In order to change you life for real, to have the strength of a Hollywood character (and not his/her characteristics – which are simplified) you need something more than just a temporal flow of energy. Resentiment is an idea that makes you a happy couch potatoe, who sometimes thinks about his life during a movie/death of a relative etc. but does not change it. Even this text should create a feeling of the resentiment in you. Overcome it, kill it, embrace it and do not feel it! Use it.

I am on a second year of a PhD in sociology.
I am working for a second year as a youth psychologists.
I have 32 board games in my collection.
I love ideas.

Me and you – you and me. Let’s become a PhD! (in Poland)

29 April, 2010 2 comments

In order to obtain a PhD in Poland, especially in humanities, first of all you must be insane. Insanity is the key. There are two possible paths to insanity: one being more deterministic and genetic and second being more social and environmental. Making long things short: you must be either born insane or become insane during the most sophisticated process ever know to humankind – life.

If you already obtained (or were born with) some kind of insanity, the road to PhD is nearly open. Unfortunately first you must finish primary school, which is not too hard. Secondly you must pass the matura, which actually is impossible to fail. After the two steps described above that last between 12 and 15 years you are ready to become a university student. Of course first you must be accepted. Simultaneously you must start reading books. Forget about everything that you read before and start to read only things that you do not understand. Do not be scared, the next step is to actually understand what you read. Do not worry about your grades, unless you would like to obtain a scholarship. Read little bit more and then start telling other people about what you read. As soon as you are ready to tell the rest about the books you have read sign up for some conferences, write some articles. These actions count when you are going through PhD acceptance exam. Eventually, when you told everyone about the books and theories that they depicted, prove that everything you read till this moment was wrong. Write a PhD proposition about it and describe an experiment that might prove you right. In the last stage you must convince the commission that you are right. Congratulations! You are a PhD student now.

Now it is essential to be insane. Why? First of all if you want your PhD to be exceptional you cannot work. Work kills creativity. If you do not work, you do not get money. And the money that you receive from the university cannot be called money. 1300 zloty. Substract from it the money for the rent, food, transportation and some, if any, fun. You are left with no savings and you need more money for the books. You must be insane. Eventually your insanity will rise to its peak – now it is time to write! Insanity equals imagination, and as Albert Einstein, the most insane of all, said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand”. Amen.

Educational problems

28 April, 2010 Leave a comment

If we look at the contemporary state of educational system in Poland what will strike us as deeply wrong and irrational is that the final exams young adults (aged 18 or 19) take at the end of their secondary education – the matura – might as well do not exist. It might be hard to imagine, but the student needs only 30% on the final mark to pass the exam. The result is that the matura, being the most prestigious kind of exam a young person can pass, is also the easiest one to pass.  If we ponder little bit longer on this problem we will come to conclusion that in Poland even people who cannot read and write properly can be accepted to a university.

There are two solutions to this problem. One of the possibilities is just to increase the passing percentage; it will make the students work harder on their grades which are a base for the future acceptance to the universities.  Second possibility is to make the first year of higher education harder – lecturers should set stricter standards during the classes and final exams.

In my opinion both solutions should be implemented. The system will change from an egalitarian factory of drones into an elite training establishment. The remaining question is: what is the right size of elite for Poland?