Unified Progression Game: Self-Actualization and Learning


For a base-level understanding of the concept of self-actualization and its root in the processes of any/all living organisms, see just the first paragraph (or the whole article) of the Wikipedia page on self-actualization. _ _

For a deeper theoretical grounding in the significance of playing an integrated, mutually-amplifying ‘self-actualization’ game (in which all attainment is “nested”) through this platform, community, & economic system, see this doc.

Cosmos is concerned with co-constructing systems that serve the self-actualization processes of our member-users.

The needs each user represents into the Cosmos system represent a gap of unfulfilled potential. The goals each user articulates represents a desired future state. Cosmos gamifies the process of reaching goals and thus, desired future states.

The “original game” members are playing through their use of a gamified platform is toward their self-actualization. This underpins most if not all of users’ choices of activities, attentional focus, and social circles on the platform.

This process of self-actualization is isomorphic across scales in Cosmos. Each and every user is conditioned to how to play the game from their first simple interactions with their dashboard (doubling as personal leaderboard). Then this habitual interaction is practiced at influencing more levels of complexity in the system: influencing a group’s direction, or even, the whole of Cosmos.

Moving towards self-actualization is an, if not the, infinite game. In fact, a human being’s capacity for learning or an ecosystem’s capacity for diversification: these are the only true “infinite growth” games that can be sustained within the frame/constraints of Life on this planet. (Popularly, capitalist economics is premised on infinite growth, but the system itself depends on the extraction and exploitation of finite materials, resulting in what is & will become tragic total system failure, ultimately.) Cosmos’ platform offers the opportunity to participate in a sustainable and intrinsically rewarding/fulfilling infinite game.

Learning and self-actualization are one path. Both are about the realization of latent potentials, intrinsic to the learning/sentient organism. All of this philosophy is further situated in the Santiago School theory of cognition, or that of autopoeisis, which is that the organism is “self-making” as a result of experiential AND (second-order/brain/consciousness) processing. Processing feedback and modifying one’s actions is the universal way, “whether or not the organism has a nervous system.” (Maturana/Varela).

Self-actualization Progression Loops

This section relies heavily on information gleaned from an online course by Karl Kapp, “Gamification for Interactive Learning,” available at Lynda.com.

According to Karl Kapp, in the field of psychology, a scholar named Albert Bandura asserted: “People cannot influence their own motivation and actions very well if they do not pay adequate attention to their own performances.” In other words: a person needs to perform an action, observe what happens, then modify their behavior, then they are motivated to try the behavior again to improve their results. This is called an engagement loop, or a feedback loop. After receiving feedback, the user is motivated to modify and repeat the behavior, to try to improve their performance.

For example: when a learner is presented with a challenge, if the learner answers correctly, xe is rewarded with points and progress. This encourages the learner to answer more such questions, and extend that loop. The loop keeps learner engaged. Since learner is receiving reinforcement for that activity, they will continue doing the activity until something changes, or the reward no longer has any value.

Engagement loop = learning loop. Engagement loops of gamification lead directly to learning. Loops provide information about knowledge, skills, or behavioral development in real time; allow for the opportunity to change and retry; and have clear goals.

A series of engagement loops, one follows after the other, is called a Progression Loop, or Player’s Journey. A player undergoes a series of small obstacles to get to the major obstacle, or objective, of the experience. Moving through the steps becomes increasingly difficult and demanding, generally. The player’s journey often consists of a series engagement loops. Having only one type of engagement loop can cause boredom in the player.

Cosmos as Frame for Mutual, Recursive Self-Actualization

The original game is self-actualization. Beyond & within that, there can be many games…

If Self-actualization is striving, the reflective component is what allows users to recalibrate their path and reflect on how closely it aligns with their inner/intuitive sense of what is needed. There are many ways users interact with engagement game loops.

  1. Users can define their own objectives (or, “what would you like to have happen?” answers) in creative ways through the platform. These goals can be defined personally or in terms of objectives for the platform—for example, attaining a badge or a score of excellent in a certain skilled field so as to increase one’s personal satisfaction or access to greater opportunities. The system (MindfulAI, specifically) can provide helpful suggestions for steps that could serve the user’s self-defined purpose.

  2. Cosmos might suggest challenges to its members based on what it observes that they are good at–to push them to explore and develop different skills. E.g. “Your challenge this month: try to level up your trust/reputation skill, or try to gather six LitCoin this month only through providing positive feedback on others’ work.” Suggestions from the system do their best to track to the members’ goals, or, through its data-mind, suggest innovative connections between them. E.g. “Hey Barb! Scott has a need for ___, and you offer ___. Level up your Mentorship Track goal by meeting up and helping him out today!”

  3. Balance between the elements that comprise a healthy person’s life is part of what Cosmos is keeping an eye out for. There is a reciprocity between Cosmos and user, with each attempting to strive for the actualization that signifies “enoughness.” Endlessly striving, and not knowing what the “right” amount of a thing is, leads to disorder and discontent. At the collective scale, this is why multiple dimensions of activity may constitute an opportunity “level up,” and the group can max out or exceed one of the goals, but if the other goals are not tended to, leveling up is prevented from occurring.

Another way to keep the game interesting is by introducing a negative feedback loop. This is represented by elements such as demurrage of LitCoin (which means you must use it or else it dissapates). Cosmos may also introduce negative loops if it noticed addicted/addictive patterns of behavior in users.

Self-actualization is a Progression Game

Self-actualization is the primary game. For other games, see later pages in this section.

In “the game of Cosmos,” there are infinite horizons to progress toward: the hero’s journey underway at collective, group, and individual scales. Through the main framing question of “what would you like to have happen?,” and a user-interface-facilitated process, users practice articulating a vision of their goals for themselves (personally, creatively, socially, financially, etc.). This aggregate data across users feeds into Cosmos’ collective aspirations. Threshholds by which any part of the system (e.g. an individual, or the whole) “levels up” are set dynamically and creatively. For instance, if an individual wants to write a book, they might start out writing just one page per day. Then, if that was proving consistently doable, or once they felt ready for the next step, they could “uplevel” to two pages a day. The system would progressively learn the individual’s patterns (growing more intimate with them), and suggest challenges suitable to the person’s profile of their authentic growth trajectory. Cosmos, too, would be on a meta-path to “leveling up,” in part through the quality of service it provided in helping its constituent members meet their respective goals (see: Leveling Up). Making incremental progress that actually tracks towards success–“the journey of 1,000 miles begins with each step.”

Members may have several distinct goals, which compete with one another for the time, attention and energy of the member (not every potential can be fulfilled). Cosmos helps members manage the flows of their attention through a highly-customizable dashboard. If a member is spending a large portion of their normative time on Cosmos progressing on one goal only, that might eventually trigger prompts from Cosmos that briefly grab the user’s attention (to “re-mind” of their neglected goals) or that make the alternative object of attention larger in the view of the user (and thus, in the user’s mind). (Of course, a user may disable Cosmos from providing such reminders, per their needs and tastes.)

In a system where capital circulates regeneratively and is amplified, how could you be better supported?

“As Abraham Maslow noted, the basic needs of humans must be met (e.g. food, shelter, warmth, security, sense of belonging) before a person can achieve self-actualization – the need to be good, to be fully alive and to find meaning in life. Yet, Maslow argued that reaching a state of true self-actualization in everyday society was fairly rare. Research shows that when people live lives that are different from their true nature and capabilities, they are less likely to be happy than those whose goals and lives match.” - Wikipedia page on self-actualization

Fundamentally, Cosmos must help its members who have basic needs to meet. Because the status quo socioeconomic order requires the conversion of all natural capital into economic forms, Cosmos would hope to support the fulfillment of this need through its economic provisions and capacities.

Ways of garnering economic wealth through the gamified platform of Cosmos:

  1. Attracting sponsorship for one’s initiatives (Sponsorship).

  2. Increasing one’s audience & customer base for one’s products or services (Marketplace).

  3. Working for Cosmos for pay (Worker-Members). Cosmos exclusively sources its human resource needs from its own membership.

Perhaps more importantly, however, members could join and utilize Cosmos to reduce their need to rely on the market economy at all, getting more of their needs met through alternative and holistic means.

By flexibly relating to multiple forms of capital, Cosmos would encourage diverse expressions of value in and among members. Through meaningful contributions, members “open up” additional positive potentials for their peers and themselves. As the co-op is orchestrated to serve members’ needs, a member’s dues should always be less than (or equal to—as the gameplay itself can be a fun, rewarding experience even if an intangible “benefit”) a member’s benefits gleaned from the system. Cosmos in the form of MindfulAI and support communities will attempt to coach each member on how to get the most out of the system.

Thus the main game of Cosmos is mutual participant self-actualization. It is the original Progressive Game, the original hero’s journey. The process of self-actualization consists of ongoing learning , with an outcome of leveling up once new capacities are developed through trial. A member could just play this game, and be benefitting from Cosmos. (But there are other & different types of games blended in, too, for even more fun!) [More on that next…]