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Game metaphor

Easiest to discuss behavior driven by a method as a kind of live-action role-playing game, played by different groups of players. Live action role-playing game can be thought of as a theatrical performance where there are no prescribed lines and a clear plot, although roles and the framework of the plot are outlined - the rest will be improvisation by the "role-playing" agents/actors. Another important distinction is that in role-playing games, roles are played not "for the audience", but "for themselves and other actors." The simplest role-playing game would be a game of "mother-daughter" ("pretend you are the mom, and I am the dad, and you will be our child"), or "playing war" (where "you will be red, and I will be blue, and we will fight"). Even simpler are sports games like football, where everything follows simple rules, varying slightly for different roles (the goalkeeper can use hands, while other team players cannot). Sports games can also involve playing "for themselves and other actors," or "for the audience," but in general, their difference lies in having a clearly defined goal and methods to achieve it. In live action role-playing games, there is much more freedom in goals and methods of achieving them, making them more akin to work and personal projects. Here's how players in a classic live action game look: [link to an image]

In a theatrical play, they look similarly colorful, with their lines already scripted, so performing roles in projects is a bit further from a theatrical play and closer to live action or plot-role playing games.

The most important point here is role-playing as changing one's behavior to resemble the work methods of the chosen role. Whether this transition to "role-playing" is fully conscious to the player/actor specifically in a role-playing game, theatrical play, or goes unnoticed by the agent performing a task in life - this work is done through a method, therefore the agent plays a role in this method. Whether consciously or not, players engage in a game of roles where actions are performed through various methods, different from theatrical plays. Life revolves around performing actions using various methods in different roles, implying that life is playing "role-playing games in their roles," where there are many roles and role-playing games.

When you behave not randomly, but rather follow a method, you've started playing a role in a role-playing game by following a scenario. This can be considered a role from a game (such as "purchase of a bun," following the role of a "buyer" in the method of exchanging goods voluntarily - considering it as a buyer, paying for goods from someone else's account), playing a part. Therefore, life in systems thinking is merely the execution of actions by various methods in various roles; life is playing in role-playing games according to their roles, of which there are many and many role-playing games.

When you interact with others in a project and perform in unexpected ways from expected project/organizational roles, the results will vary depending on the roles played by colleagues and what roles they consider acceptable to play during project work. Try asking a colleague to bring you pizza or scratch your back. The response to these requests will show that not all work is random, not all requests are possible; the relationship will be similar to the "mother-daughter" game, where suddenly, the dad decides to step out of his role and play the role of the granddaughter. Leadership is the method of the game where the player in the role of the father will return to the role he had taken in the game. At work, leadership does the same: if a team member is assigned a role in an activity, then leadership will try to return the individual to that role.

In a work environment, "blue-collar workers" may be less colorful in terms of clothing but the principle of distributing collective activities by roles persists. [image link]

In an office setting with roles and projects, the roles differ but individuals may be dressed similarly, making it difficult to differentiate between an agent and their role, sometimes by dialogues that pursue role-playing interests and sometimes by their actions. Clothing helps in identifying their role in important situations. Wearing a judge's robe signifies the role of a judge until removed. Wearing a suit with a tie and an earpiece signifies a security guard. Clear identification of roles helps in crucial situations. Donning a judge's robe denotes the role of a judge until taken off. Wearing a suit with a tie and an earpiece signifies a security guard—a case of assuming a role while wearing a particular outfit.

Despite interpretations of roles by players and masters in live-action role-playing games or even in a simplified version (rehearsed dialogues and scenarios), as performed by actors and their directors in theaters, there is a significant need to discuss the storylines of games or plays and the roles involved (methodology realm - the principles of work methods of roles), and not just their individual executions/performances (endeavor realm - specific project operational reality involving specific activities with specific deadlines and individuals).

The role-playing game metaphor dictates playing a role in a method and abiding by its script/algorithms/templates, dictated by the storyline of the game. The script/knowledge/theory of the method describes different typical situations in which the player-agent will act in a role, performing tasks with specific resources at specific moments. Methods are crucial in various role-playing situations, more akin to real work projects. The methodologies and interests of different roles differ, resulting in different work methods; for example - kings hold their lands and seek to conquer others, shoemakers craft shoes, sorcerers practice magic, warriors fight, engineers strive to improve the world, and managers organize agents to change the world for the better.

Games/methods/practices/activities/functions can be played/performed multiple times; the method is repeated with diverse objects, played as functional units by the method. Although each role-playing game or theatrical play is unique, thinking can be streamlined by excluding repetitive tasks. Methods/tools enhance proficiency, similar to how a software follows algorithms/information embedded within its system. This demonstrates that the method::the behavior it produces is discussed as:

  • knowledge/theory/discipline/explanations/algorithms, describing the method,
  • proficiency in the method - the computational aspect that embodies this knowledge/algorithm in the agent's body (human, robot, or organization) "hardware," "running the program in the brain or computer,"
  • The toolkit hardware supplements proficiency and is essential as nobody works without tools, expertise in tools for achieving results is best kept for the circus, not for work.

Cultural roles and methods, utilizing terminology from culture, are essential for providing stability to methodology discussions (i.e., methods of work for different roles). For example, a project on an AI system requires an AI developer who understands AI design methods - without an architect in an engineering project, the project is bound to fail. If the Chief Designer, Serafim Vladimirovich, is unfamiliar with the modern method of creating a systemic architecture, excellent architectural decisions may be made on intuition. Yet, having a clear understanding of architectural solutions is necessary, even if not intuitive. In system thinking, when discussing roles, we always refer to the role's functional entity, i.e., the role's functionality. An agent's behavior in system thinking involves performing the roles needed in various situations, determining the necessary roles for a job and what the roles aim to achieve with their improvisation within a scenario. Evaluating the worker - a person-actor (not necessarily an actor - precisely a person), is only considered after verifying their proficiency and toolkit in adhering to the standardized norms of the required roles in the project for success.

Roles and selected affordances assist in selecting available resources from various objects in the physical world, aiding methodical work completion. The behavior of one agent (e.g., a well-educated adult) in the system's perspective involves playing various roles following specific methods. When you are assigned a role, it is paramount to comprehend the situation in which said role is enacted, the roles required for essential tasks, and what the role-playing individuals attempt to achieve through their gameplay. Only then can the actor's (not necessarily a person, but a human-actor) ability to undertake the necessary method for success in their work be assessed.