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9: All Limitations are Self-Limitations: Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse

By Nat Eliason and Neil Soni

Every move that an infinite player makes is towards the horizon, and every move a finite player makes is within a boundary. After reading Finite and Infinite Games, you’ll never see the world the same. This simple dichotomy, finite and infinite, will rethink how you see business, life, love, goals, friendships, play, war, and everything you come across. Once you learn to think about the horizon… there’s no going back. We covered a wide range of topics in this discussion, including: Improving your life with new perspectives Promoting personal growth by defining your boundaries and pushing past them Improving your motivation with the infinite mindset Finding the balance between over-working and contented leisure Consciousness and illusory experiences Insights into our relationship with nature And much more. Please enjoy, and be sure to grab a copy of Finite and Infinite Games! If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to listen to our episode on Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman, to learn more about the negative impacts that technology has on us and on how to prevent these impacts. Also, be sure to listen to our episode on Mastery by Robert Greene, to learn how to become a master at your craft and improve your life. Mentioned in the show: Made You Think Cryptocurrency episode [0:22] Valve [27:57] Steam [28:07] Zappos [28:59] Wait But Why [31:16] Elon Musk’s Secret Sauce article [31:17] Fight Through the Suck article [33:25] Narrative Fallacy [34:12] Made You Think Antifragile episode [34:15] Made You Think The Power of Myth episode [39:15] The Philosophy of Mind [47:04] What it’s Like to Be a Bat paper [47:05] The Cartesian [48:58] All Natural Apple Meme [1:09:02] Made You Think Amusing Ourselves to Death episode [1:15:42] The Lincoln Douglas debates [1:15:42] Books mentioned: Finite and Infinite Games The Red Book [19:05] Bhagavad Gita [21:45] (Nat’s Notes) The Way of Zen [21:48] (Nat’s Notes) Sapiens [22:36] (Nat’s Notes) Valve Employee Handbook [28:19] The Dip [32:43] (Nat’s Notes) Antifragile [34:15] (Nat’s Notes) (Made You Think episode) The Snowball [36:40] The Power of Myth [39:15] (Nat’s Notes) (Made You Think episode) The Quran [39:20] The Art of Seduction [55:50] (Nat’s Notes) The Game [55:52] (Nat’s Notes) Astrophysics for People in a Hurry [1:03:38] The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels [1:10:40] Amusing Ourselves to Death [1:15:42] (Nat’s Notes) (Made You Think episode) Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind [1:16:35] (Nat’s Notes) The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up [1:26:00] (Nat’s Notes) 1984 [1:31:26] The Sovereign Individual [1:36:32] (Nat’s Notes) (Made You Think episode) Godel Escher Bach [1:36:34] People mentioned: James P. Carse Taylor Pearson [0:19] Carl Jung [19:05] Bruce Lee [20:23] Plato [21:23] Seth Godin [32:43] Justin Mares [33:25] Nassim Nicholas Taleb [34:15] Warren Buffett [36:19] Kyrie Irving [38:27] Thomas Nagel [47:05] Descartes [48:58] Robert Greene [55:50] Neil Strauss [55:52] Neil DeGrasse Tyson [1:03:38] Elon Musk [1:14:04] Charles Darwin [1:15:37] 0:00 - Intro to the book’s discussion, a thesis quote from the book, and talking about the unique writing of the book. 2:48 - The difference between a finite and infinite game, some powerful lessons, and some real-world examples. 8:01 - The distinction between life or death games and some advice on finding the balance between working too much and being content with not working at all. 11:38 - Some more detail on the finite games, thoughts on the past nature that titles have, and thoughts on achieving your goals and accomplishing things. 18:08 - Our social nature, how that affects these games, and the collective consciousness. 20:43 - Ancient philosophy’s timeless nature and the wide range of influence that these philosophies have had. Also, thoughts on the development of various philosophies. 23:27 - Thoughts on war from the book and the author’s perspective on war. 25:52 - The theory on titles and accomplishments in regards to large and small companies as well as bureaucracy. 29:55 - Bureaucracy in schools, the finite game that schools are, and the title theory applied to schools and degrees. 31:08 - Thinking of everything as a game and taking more risks. Also, some thoughts on how much time you have for major projects that you can accomplish in your life and being selective with those projects. 34:42 - Thoughts on the past nature of wealth, showing wealth off, and wealth in general. 37:33 - Discussion on the boundaries of these games, how successful people think in regards to these boundaries, and constantly striving for a larger goal that’s never achieved. Expanding your boundaries, looking through them, and reaching for the horizon. 42:46 - Defining your boundaries by noticing resistance, and pushing through that resistance or increasing it continuously. Pushing past your limits, living on your edge, and recognizing these artificially self-imposed boundaries. 46:03 - The section on what we know to be true, illusory experiences, consciousness, and thoughts on uploading our brains and consciousness to computers, and teleporting ourselves and consciousnesses. 54:52 - The translation of the game towards sexuality and the infinite and finite players within that. Also, thoughts on sexuality and social hierarchy and sacrificing love for other things. 58:32 - The thoughts of parents being like an abstract audience, where even if they aren’t there, you’re still trying to impress them. Also, more on finite sexuality and infinite sexuality. 1:00:57 - The nature of a finite game and the limits of a finite game. “It’s all the limits that you choose to play the game within”. Also, applying this to the universe, applying it to time, and to other real-world examples. 1:05:18 - Using the infinite mindset to become more motivated for your goals, to achieve more, and to keep doing more. 1:06:58 - The chapter on nature and its horizons. How everything that happens is natural and how nature just is. 1:10:39 - The morality of fossil fuels, some thoughts on fossil fuel usage, and some more thoughts on the game of nature. 1:14:08 - The author’s perspective on explanation and its relation to arguments. Also, the nature of arguments in general. 1:17:44 - Discussion on our control over nature and us versus nature. Also, the author’s thoughts on traveling and some discussion on different areas around the world. 1:21:45 - The chapter on nature and the machine world. The comparison of machines with gardens. 1:26:29 - Thoughts on all types waste and how we view waste. 1:27:48 - The book’s section on myth, and some discussion on myth and the relationship with infinite and finite players. 1:32:06 - Thoughts on how there is but one infinite game, and some interpretations of this thought. Also, the master player and how they play these finite and infinite games. 1:34:46 - Wrap-up and some closing thoughts. If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe at https://madeyouthinkpodcast.com If you’re thinking about it from a more infinite standpoint, the goal is to simply keep building it, keep growing it, and keep making it bigger. There’s not really a clear end goal that you’re getting to.

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