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Author Topic: Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way  (Read 950 times)

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Offline Rock Joe

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Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way
« on: January 05, 2012, 06:22:58 PM »
At the request of many on the old gamefaqs board, I'm copy/pasting a thread I made in May of last year when I decided to give another shot at the EB community. Since it's off the top page on the old board, seems like a good time to copy it over here. :) Here goes. I'll copy/past each post in a different post as a different quote for clarity:

Quote
Hi guys,

So like I said in another thread, I'm confident in saying that this community has already begun another age of expansion, and the reasons I'm confident in saying that are the same reasons I've decided to return. Sadly, although the thought process took less than a minute for me, it's gonna be long to share with you.

At the time I was about 2/3rds of the way through "The Evolution of Civilizations" by Carroll Quigley. This book presents a framework for historical analysis. What's cool is that he presents the framework in the first half, and in the second, he uses it to take a look at human history (when I returned, classical civilization was reaching its peak as the roman empire). So to really explain why things are looking good for the ExciteBots community I'm gonna have to give you a crash course in historical analysis. :) What I'm saying is that this thread is gonna seem long winded and off topic, but I guarantee you I'm heading somewhere with all this and that it's quite relevant.

Let me start with some quick definitions and that'll be it for tonight.

social group: an aggregate of people who have had relationships with one another long enough for them to be customary.
society: a group whose members have more relationships with one another than with outsiders.
civilization: a specific kind of society. I'll give the rest later.

So right off the bat we see a reason why the analysis of civilizations doesn't apply to the EB community perfectly: We're clearly not a society. We're a social group. But still I find the framework works well enough to give an idea. Once I've laid enough groundwork to get into what a civilization is, and what its lifespan looks like, it'll be easier to understand why I'm so optimistic and decided to take part. I hope to get into that soon, but that's it for now.

After Joom and Barbie basically said "I can't wait to hear more":

Quote
:) Well thanks for letting me know it's not boring. Now I'm gonna cover instruments and institutions.

So when a society has a problem they want to solve or just something they want to do, if they're fortunate they'll come up with a social instrument to solve that problem. Over time as that instrument gets used more and more, it tends to develop goals of its own and then grows into an institution. Quigley advances this as a law:

All social instruments eventually become institutions.

At that point, it becomes less and less effective at solving the original problem. There are ample examples of this everywhere (government, schools, religion, unions, etc..), but my favorite example that he uses is american football.

When it started getting popular in the early 1800s, it was very informal and its goal was to encourage college students to get more exercise. About 70 years later it was an institution. Now football players generally don't need exercise, and the people who could use exercise the MOST are in the stands watching them. :)

One of the things societies like to do is expand. When the circumstances are correct (details not needed here), they can come up with an instrument of expansion and become...

civilization: a society that has an instrument of expansion.

Two quick examples: Mesopotamian civilization's instrument of expansion was the priest class. Classical civilization's instrument of expansion was slavery.

The thing is, like all instruments, an instrument of expansion eventually becomes an institution. When that happens, there's trouble. :) I hope to cover that next time but it might need more setup, so we'll see. Take care.

Then the next day:

Quote
I'm not sleeping and I think I can finish this in one post. THEN I can start talking. :)

So Quigley divides the lifetime of a civilization into 7 parts:

1. Mixture
2. Gestation
3. Expansion
4. Age of conflict
5. Universal empire
6. Decay
7. Invasion

1 and 2: A bunch of people mix together and become a society. Sometimes random settlers, often the scraps of a previous civilization. If they end up becoming a civilization, their instrument of expansion will take shape during phase 2.

3 and 4: This is where the heart is. Their instrument of expansion is up and running and the expansion takes place. Then it becomes an institution and the trouble starts. The signs that a civ is in an age of expansion are (1) decreased rate of expansion, (2) increased class conflict, (3) increased irrationality, (4) imperialist wars. (Does any of this sound familiar to you? ;) I'm not even talking about EB when I ask that)

5 to 7: The wars and conflicts continue, until one group within the civ takes over "the whole pie" and we have a Universal Empire. The institution of expansion decays into oblivion and the civ gets invaded from the outside.

Now it doesn't have to be like this! Here's what I mean when I say the heart is at 3 and 4: when an instrument of expansion becomes an institution and there's conflict between the ones who want change and the ones who want the status quo, there are 3 possible outcomes:

reform: The institution is reformed enough to become an instrument again and expansion resumes.

circumvention: The institution remains, but nobody cares anymore because they're using something else now, and expansion continues with another instrument.

reaction: Resistance is crushed and the institution remains "forever", then it's off to phases 5, 6 and 7.

I'm finally done with this preamble! :D :D :D Things should be pretty clear to those of you who've read all this, but next time I'll make this all extra "dummy proof" as to why I'm optimistic with regards to the mid-to-long term future for EB players. So optimistic that it was a no brainer for me to get back on the tracks.

Then my comclusion:

Quote
IMO this group's instrument of expansion is THIS FORUM (meaning the gamefaqs forum) actually. We're not a society so the law of "all social instruments eventually become institutions" doesn't apply. However this board has shown signs of institutionalization for a while now.

With the XAT chat and the game community forum and the voice chat, the circumvention has already started. That was enough to encourage me, but now if Topstar is gone we also have an opportunity to reform this board. That'll depend on a ton of factors, but whether or not that happens, circumvention is already in place and the rate of expansion has visibly increased already.

Writing this a couple months later, I'm glad to see this second age of expansion in full swing. All we have to do is prepare for the day that Joom becomes a bureaucrat and uses this forum for personal gain.  ;)

Cheers!

Offline JoomX

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Re: Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 07:29:32 PM »
All we have to do is prepare for the day that Joom becomes a bureaucrat and uses this forum for personal gain.  ;)

Check my sig, RJ... ;)
A computer once beat me at chess, but as it turns out it was no match for me at kickboxing... ;)

Offline PJs

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Re: Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2012, 11:27:55 PM »
Not that I knew you were gone but hey welcome back! You have a little brushing up to do though. So did you play EB  along time or were you just a once in awile chatter here in the community? Ethier way good race today!. seeya!
Rubbing is racing!! :P

Offline Rock Joe

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Re: Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 10:29:34 AM »
Not that I knew you were gone but hey welcome back! You have a little brushing up to do though. So did you play EB  along time or were you just a once in awile chatter here in the community? Ethier way good race today!. seeya!

I used to race quite a bit, but then I stopped. I've been "on again off again" since spring of last year. Right now I'm clearly in a "on again" phase, and I think it's gonna stick, because I'm over the excitement of the XBox I bought in September. And forget about brushing up. There's plenty I have to LEARN! And it's gonna be much easier for me to do it now. :D

Offline PJs

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Re: Rock Joe explains his return in a needlessly dense way
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 05:10:31 PM »
 :)Sweet bro! glad your up 2 the challenge! See ya on the track.
Rubbing is racing!! :P