Sim/Earth and Harvest of Gems

Sim/Earth and Harvest of Gems

Dear Team:

In 1990, a software company called Maxis came out with a game called Sim/Earth. It was basically a simulation game about how to manage the earth. It allowed the player to play with different inputs in various combinations in a global context.

For example, there could be these various imputs: philosophy, science, agriculture, medicine, energy, and art/media. These inputs could be thrown into the global stew with interesting results. Investing in science helped your civilization advance to higher technology levels, but if technology advanced too quickly without a fair share of philosophy, art, medicine, and agriculture. No stable, long-lasting civilization would result. Too much over-investment in science led to wars, plagues, and revolutions.

If you invested too much in medicine and agriculture you got population explosions which could lead to over-investments in atomic bombs and missles. Lack of investment in philosophy possibly eliminated deterrents to war. One could also simulate the effect of atom bomb explosions on the earth's atmosphere. Problems with the atmoshere could lead to weather changes and reduced agricultural yields.

Get the picture? I recently got my hands on a copy of Sim/Earth and have been playing with it on my lap-top. It's great fun, but it's also very sobering. The concept of planet management is still very alien to most humans, let alone human governments. To think globally in an inter-dependent way is a Systems/Buddhist concept which Harvest of Gems plays with constantly. Especially, in the volume all of you translated.

Seeing Earth from an alien's view-point can be quite training as a systems philosopher at UC Berkeley and the World Future Society in the early eighties, ( where I met Al Gore when he was an unknown congressman ) ultimately fused with my Buddhist experiences on the pilgrimage path.

Of course Sim/Earth has no concept about psychic currents and vortices which I talk about in my work. But the more you play the game, the more you realize the planet has a kind of consciousness of it own. Some biologists call this planet consciousness GAIA after the Earth goddess. Teilhard was moving in this direction too and felt that it would be part of the global human mind.

Let's not forget, Sim/Earth is just a little game and the earth is much more complex than any game, but there is still value in Sim/Earth as an education tool. Children playing with it in school would ultimately recieve a powerful intuition about planetary problems. An intuition which would mesh well with any spiritual practise because this intuition would ultimately be spiritual as well.

Unfortunately, the education system has not caught up with computer technology in a sophisticated way. Most children play computer games about war and conquest. Sports and competition. But I hope you all have a new appreciation for Harvest now....the concept of Black and White Stress comes directly out of a fusion of systems and Buddhist ideas. It was a strange psychological revelation, a conceptual mutation if you will that then was transmitted in an avante-garde literary style. It's too much ahead of its time. That's why the promotion campaign has been so difficult. The publishing industry and today's global audience need time to catch up with this strange new vision.



All contents of this site © Finberg Books by Michael Arthur Finberg