hist-games: Snakes and Ladders documentary

SEDWilkins at aol.com SEDWilkins at aol.com
Wed Jul 11 04:13:42 PDT 2012

>>Board games have the capacity to focus consciousness. They can  
strengthen conscious directionality.<<

Mats - fascinating article. Do you think the prevalence of cardinal points  
in board games may factor into this as "locating the self in the cosmos"?

I would expect that the reed games of North America and the stone games of  
Africa, both of which apparently involved significant mental math, were  
similarly "focusing," although without "boards" the lack of extant artifacts  
makes this much more difficult to examine.

-Sally  Wilkins 


In a message dated 7/11/2012 2:01:45 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
mwi9 at swipnet.se writes:

You  could also try at the following locations and their adherent 
discussions  groups, if  applicable.




I  am more and more inclined to think that board games have played a  
significant role in the development of ego consciousness. In a period  
of our history, in certain Stone age and Bronze Age cultures, people  
seem to have been obsessed with board games. Almost every tenth  
artifact found at Mohenjo-daro is game related. I have argued that the  
structure of board games depict the collective progress in  
consciousness, and that it is, essentially, an image of psychic  

Board  games have the capacity to focus consciousness. They can 
strengthen  conscious directionality. The noble men in Aztec 
civilization could often  be seen carrying around a Patolli board game, 
much similar to Pachisi and  Ludo. They seem to have been almost 
obsessed weith it, as a hazard game.  Circulation around a center 
('circumabulatio') is an archetypal motif  which, according to Jungian 
psychology, signifies the progression of  consciousness and the 
successive approximation of the personality to the  'Self'. These games 
had special squares, possibly with a similar  significance as the 
ladder and snake squares of the Indian game of dice.  The snake is a 
regressive force which makes you slide back to an earlier  phase in the 

Chess is today employed as a means of  strengthening the concentrative 
effort in school  children.

It  turns out that it improves the childrens' results in other school  
subjects, too. They learn to focus their minds. Chess gives you an  
immeditate award if you concentrate and make an effort to calculate  
the future. In most school subjects, the reward isn't immediate, and  
it isn't obvious why the children should learn mathematics,  etc.

That's why I think that board games could have had a significant  role 
in the evolution of ego consciousness. The inhabitants in early  
civilizations learnt that it is worth while to really make an effort  
and think ahead. As soon as you have gotten used to focusing your  
attention, you are in the habit of doing this in other contexts as  
well. Arguably, board gaming can establish a higher level of  
consciousness in that the ego fixes itself at a higher energetic  

A game like snake and ladders also has psychological effects  in that 
it is necessary to maintain composure in face of fortune and bad  luck.

Mats  Winther

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