Game theory, social architecture, motivation & love

Game theory looks at the design and outcomes of games where people act  to maximize self interest. One of the interesting things that comes out of game theory analysis is that you can design games where people are more likely to ‘cooperate’  even though they are acting from self-interest.

This has implications for  sociology, economics and political science. It means that the social architecture i.e. the rules of social engagement i.e. game design – a society uses can result in quite different behaviors even if people are coming from the same motivation. This is quite a powerful insight!

What game theory misses out on though is that people can also act from other types of motivation. People can also act from a place where they care about others. People empathise, love, and have compassion for one another.

When people act from love, the social architecture is still very important. Changing the social architecture with the same amount of love in the system will result in  quite different behavior in a society. This again is a very powerful insight. This is the insight that selfish game theory can shed by way of analogy onto the non-selfish case. There are two variables (and probably more) one can play with if one wants to change a society/organization/community/team – social architecture & motivation.

This means that when people say that changing a society than is just about getting people to love each other more, they miss the part of the picture. And it means that when people say that changing a society is about fixing the rules of a system, they miss part of the picture. Its both.

What is the social architecture that works best when most of the people are pretty loving and compassionate. I would argue that the open collaboration social architectures I describe in this blog are best for when people become more loving. These open collaboration architectures are based on qualities of non-hierarchy, openness, sharing, emergence, participation and transparency.


2 thoughts on “Game theory, social architecture, motivation & love

  1. thanks for this, your blog is quite amazing. i have never seen words like these, joining architecture and enlightenment in such a way, even though i am not sure what architecture you speak about, if it is the actual act of making buildings, or a kind of social systems architecture.

    i am an architecture student very interested in spiritual matters/enlightenment, and thus social architecture/urban planning with a view to making my society/world a better, more loving place.

    i think you are absolutely right about the fact that a more peaceful society comes both from a desire within the individuals, and the fact that the system’s structure shouldn’t allow for much more than peace, through the use of non-hierarchical, participative involvement of the individuals. This is possible through education with principles and values. If the individuals learn to love each other and their environment from an early age, they will learn that that which benefits the whole over themselves, eventually benefits themselves as well, because they are not isolated entities, but indeed a part of the whole. this sounds redundant, but most people cannot or will not understand the idea that the thing that benefits all of the people over their selfish interests, benefits them as well.

    I have recently come to think that only an enlightened individual can truly understand what it takes to become enlightened, but after he has done it, he can express the path to enlightenment in his everyday life, so others can see. I mean through his work, whether it is architecture, music, painting, carpentry or law. If an enlightened individual approaches his/her work with an enlightened attitude, all that comes from that will be further enlightenment for others. thanks again, and hope you are well.

    1. Thanks for your comment.
      I was talking about social architecture in terms of social systems design – things like facilitation. However physical architecture also influences how people interact. Think how people might interactly differently in a forest, crammed in a phone booth, or in a city alley at night.

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