Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More than a game

So what is the underlying philosophy that caught my attention?

Consider these principles: simplicity, elegance, depth.

It's simple because it's very easy to understand, and the elements are only white and black stones on a grid.

It's elegant because with very few rules (less than 5), that constitute the axioms from which other implicit rules are deduced. An example of this would be that a group with two eyes cannot be killed, but that is a corollary of the fact that a stone cannot be placed where it has no liberties.

It's deep because the consequences of every move cannot be exhaustively analyzed. Even though the game is 4000 years old, there is still lot's of place for study.

Living groups have eyes for the Japanese and lungs for the Chinese. The stones form good and bad shapes. Opponents stones must not be captured unless necessary. All these things I find very poetic and artistic.

I once heard someone say that a game of Go is like a conversation taking place between two people. Interesting isn't it? In the same way that you need two people for a great game, you need two people for a great conversation.

In my short experience the game has given me so many lessons (and we'll see them in future posts) that I can apply directly to proper life matters: among them are humility, greediness, balance, sacrifice, detachment. I'm not exaggerating, I can come up with examples for each.

Balance is for me the most representative word, while playing, I struggle (yes, I struggle) trying to maintain balance between:
  • territory vs. influence
  • heavy vs. light
  • thick vs. thin
  • attack vs. defend
  • stay calm vs. be aggressive
  • logic vs. intuition
  • ambition vs. satisfaction
  • flexible vs. rigid
Each of these concepts relates to decisions we make in life and they also build our personality. We can never have it all, and must learn to negotiate with the opponent.

These reasons make me consider Go much more than a game.

Follow this link (in Spanish) for a much better description by Franklin Bassarsky.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! Go continues to surprise me with its application to real life and our own personal development. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who feels this way!