and Harvest of Gems
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
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
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 illuminating.....my
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.