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What Is The Game? What Is The Meaning Of "I Lost The Game"?

Updated on October 8, 2017

What Is The Game? A Mind Virus? An Internet Meme? A Cruel, Useless Joke That No One Should Ever Enjoy?

Welcome to The Game. The Game you just lost. What game am I talking about when I say The Game? Well, it’s somewhat hard, and yet easy to explain. You see, you just lost The Game right now.

Any mention or awareness that The Game even exists results in losing The Game. In an ironic twist, the basic rule or object of The Game is to never think of it. This is the one and only perplexing point to The Game. And that's also why people, including myself, love it (or hate it).

History Of The Game

The exact origins of The Game are a bit unclear and quite a few people have taken credit for creating it. Trying to figure out the origin, however, is about as fruitful as playing The Game itself.

I Lost The Game!

She doesn't look too happy about announcing her loss in The Game.
She doesn't look too happy about announcing her loss in The Game. | Source

"Rules" Of The Game

1. The entire world population is currently playing The Game. Since there isn't really a way to win, except by not losing, anyone who’s never heard of The Game has just not lost yet. Once you know of The Game you can never stop playing.

2. If you ever think of The Game or are made aware of The Game, you lose. This can either be from your own thoughts or from another person making you aware of The Game through their actions or own loss of The Game (see rule number three).

3. Every time you lose The Game you need to announce it to at least one other person.

These are the three most basic rules on how to play. Some people have tweaked the rules a bit to suit their own thoughts on what The Game should be, such as by allowing a 30 minute grace period after losses. Once you stop thinking about The Game you’ll no longer be losing, just playing again.

Another Version of "Rules"

A listing of the most common "rules" of The Game.
A listing of the most common "rules" of The Game.

It seems, however, that The Game has been in existence for quite some time in one form or another. The idea is even mentioned by Leo Tolstoy as far back as 1840 in which he writes about a character trying not to think of a white bear.

It's also thought that the true origins of The Game were created by a group called the Cambridge University Science Fiction Society (CUSFS) in 1977. The group would meet regularly in their favorite pub, where of course all good and bad ideas are formed.

Apparently it came about as the group were thinking and discussing how to "break" game theory. Nigel Goldenfeld and Mark Haslett are said to be most responsible for bringing The Game to the public.

The earliest mention of The Game on the Internet, however, is thought to have been made in 2002 by a blogger named Paul Taylor. From there it spread across the Internet and is now played or known of by millions of people around the world. It's popularity stemming from its absurdity and to the delight of tricksters everywhere.

Psychology, Meaning, & The White Bear Principle

Although there are rules and ways to “play” The Game they are obviously somewhat absurd, as the entire point and test of The Game is to never realize that you’re even playing. In a way this can make it very polarizing as some people find this aspect delightfully obnoxious while others find it a frustrating waste of time.

In Psychology, The Game might be referred to as ironic processing or “The White Bear Principle” (as mentioned earlier through Leo Tolstoy). This principle says that when someone attempts to avoid certain thoughts, those thoughts can end up becoming more persistent rather than less. The fact that you can’t win, but only prolong a loss, is what makes the game so paradoxical and ironic.

Uncle Sam letting you know you just lost The Game.  Again.
Uncle Sam letting you know you just lost The Game. Again. | Source

Implications of The Game

Though it doesn't require any skill or real reason to “play”, The Game is an interesting and fun psychological experiment. It’s a great way to make us understand the way in which we think, and how we discipline our thoughts.

The lesson to me seems to be that the more we fight against something, the more it seems to show up in our minds and lives.

If played another way it can help us become better strategists as we find new ways to make others constantly lose. It also helps us to better understand, not only ourselves, but the idea that ultimately we’re all connected to one another.

This can be especially true when an entire room of people loses The Game all at once, whether they wanted to or not.

Now go on, get out there and lose The Game.

Send this page to your friends (or enemies) to let them know they just lost The Game!

Have You Lost The Game Before?

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    • TedWritesStuff profile image


      4 years ago from The World

      You Lose..


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