The entire period…acquired the character of a grim struggle for survival, with the advanced Kievan style of life and ethical and cultural standards in rapid decline. We learn of cruel new punishments established by law, of illiterate princes, of an inability to erect the dome of a stone cathedral, and of other CLEAR SIGNS OF CULTURAL REGRESSION.“ (Emphasis added)
Hrm, does that sound like any culture we might know?
We are so screwed.
Nomic even makes some rules explicit in order to make them amendable, when in most games they are implicit —rules to obey the rules, rules that players each start with zero points, and so on. No tacit understanding that one brings to most games simply qua games, let alone any explicit rule, is beyond the amendment power of Nomic. After Nomic was first published in Scientific American, a German philosopher wrote to me insisting that Rule 101 (that players should obey the rules) should be omitted from the Initial Set and made part of a truly immutable shell. He missed an essential point of the game. Rule 101 is included precisely so that it can be amended; if players amend or repeal it, they deserve what they get.
I wonder if systems like this could be used to game out how long any particular type of government will take before collapsing in on itself.
One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted. Or worse. For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods. There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling the same questions over and over, that Vance began to wish he had just kept his mouth shut.