hist-games: Snakes and Ladders documentary

M Winther mwi9 at swipnet.se
Wed Jul 11 08:06:11 PDT 2012

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <SEDWilkins at aol.com>
To: <hist-games at www.pbm.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: hist-games: Snakes and Ladders documentary

>>>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

The mandala topographies are prevalent. The mandala is often viewed as
a cosmography. We also know that board game patterns were used as
protective charms, etc., perhaps because they could capture the
spirit, i.e. capture the attention of the mind. The focusing on a
mandala is used as a meditation technique, but the contemplative
tradition, generally, serves to attain a "higher self", a kind of
"ego-less condition". However, I argue that the board games have
played a role in attaining a strong ego consciousness, which is not
the same, of course. I don't know whether there is a connection.

However, the notion that board games play a significant role in the
evolution of consciousness and higher civilization, is a far-reaching
theory that is not easy to prove.  In my article I merely say that
they portray a development, not that they are significant to it.
Sweden is littered with rockcarvings that portray dots in quadratic

Archaeologists have no idea what they mean. Perhaps they signify board
games, like the mancala games on Crete, cut out in the bedrock.


> 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.
> http://www.jungianstudies.org/
> http://aras.org/
> http://www.studyofmyth.org/
> 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
> structure:
> http://home7.swipnet.se/~w-73784/boardgam1.htm
> 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
> journey.
> Chess is today employed as a means of  strengthening the
> concentrative
> effort in school  children.
> http://www.kcfe.eu/en/content/%E2%80%9Cchess-school%E2%80%9D-endorsed-europe
> an-parliament
> http://www.chessinschools.co.uk/
> 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
> level.
> 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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