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>Hey, I remember this book, I think....Parent, adult and child egos,
>right? I was interested in the ego states stuff and just flew by the
>other. It never crossed my mind to make the connection you have.
>And I never realized he had a whole systematic theory behind it all.
>Now I'll have to go back and read it again. Family systems therapy
>also looks at how negative behaviors can be adaptive in maintaining
>family homeostasis, so the two might dovetail nicely, especially when
>you think of family "culture" which also leads us back to memetics.
>And of course this ties in with Keith's reward centers in the brain.
>And of course..... This gives me a lot to think about. Off to add
>another book to my already-staggering reading list...... Which
>reminds me, I found William Calvin's website, he has a number of his
>books up on the web, as well as a list of books he recommends.
You remember right. He did the bit on parent, child and adult ego states
and showed how crossed connections in a transaction can cause game playing.
Games People Play was his first book for the layman. He also wrote a second
book called Scripts People Live and a third called What Do You Say After You
Say Hello? All three are devoted to group counseling and helping people
stop plaing games. His most serious book (aimed at counselors rather than
patients) was called Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. He is said to
have been very successful in dealing with such areas as alchoholism and
other addictions and helping people recognize when and how their
transactions are essentialy based on feeling like they're winning when
they're losing again. I still feel that Games People Play was his best and
most insightful book. It helped me quit drinking and helped me see the
value of the win-win philosophy. When I was bar tending, it helped me nip
many games in the bud that could have gotten out of control and led to
fights and other problems. Another interesting point in his book is the
idea that many games take a number of players who support each other by
taking on roles that perpetuate the game. Alchoholic, for example, takes
two to five players.
He says: "In its full flower this is a five-handed game, although the roles
may be condensed so that it starts off and terminates as a two-handed one.
The central role is that of the Alchoholic -- the one who is "it," -- played
by White. The chief supporting role is that of Persecutor, typically played
by a member of the opposite sex, usually the spouse [the term "persecutor"
is taken from how the Alchoholic sees the role]. The third role is that of
Rescuer, usually played by someone of the same sex, often the good family
doctor who is interested in the patient and also in drinking problems. In
the classical situation the doctor successfully rescues the alchoholic from
his habit. After White has not taken a drink for six months they
congratulate each other. The following day White is found in the gutter.
"The fourth role is that of the Patsy, or Dummy. In literature this is
played by the delicatessen man who extends credit to White, gives him a
sandwich on the cuff and perhaps a cup of coffee, without either persecuting
him or trying to rescue him. In life this is more frequently played by
White's mother, who gives him money and often sympathizes with him about the
wife who does not understand him...
"The ancillary professional in all drinking games is the bartender or liquor
clerk. In the game "Alchoholic," he plays the fifth role, the Connection,
the direct source of supply who also understands alchoholic talk, and who in
a way is the most meaningful person in the life of any addict. The
difference between the Connection and the other players is the difference
between professionals and amateurs in any game: the professional knows when
to stop. At a certain point the bartender refuses to serve the Alchoholic,
who is then left without any supplies unless he can locate a more indulgent
I don't want to go on because you can pick up a copy of the book for next to
nothing at any used book store or free at most libraries. But you can see
how a great humber of memes are encoded in the roles of the various players
of the game and how they reinforce each other as the game is played out. We
learn most of the games we play in childhood by watching parents and other
adults play them out. When we grow up, part of being an adult is playing
adult games. I see the games themselves as memplexes based on losing
strategies. Judging by the amount of alchohol and narcotics sold in just
the United States, playing this game alone must eat up a huge portion of the
lives of a great number of people. I don't know what its affect is on
society as a whole, but a lot of money is spent by the government to cope
with it and trying to eliminate it. A memetic approach might be unusual
(new) enough to generate a government grant.
I hope you find something in all of this that will prove useful.
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