‘The Game Strategy’ by Dennis Stephens

This is a new transcription of a talk by Dennis Stephens as discussed in a previous post.

You can download the 79Kb pdf file from this link.

Following on from Stephens’ previous talk on Dissociation, a game strategy is a method of winning a game below the level of a direct postulate.

A game strategy is a more fundamental and inclusive definition of what Hubbard called the service facsimile. Like the service facsimile it is generated by the person themself; but it becomes more than just a concept. Stephens identifies its four essential parts:

  1. It is a fixed solution to a problem, just as the form of an organism a solution to the problem of its survival versus the environment. So it’s a ‘thing’, not an idea or a process.
  2. It generates game sensation, gives a hope of winning, as it’s what one has to be in order to win the game.
  3. It must be kept secret from the opponent in the game, or they will easily counter it. So there is a Must Not Be Known postulate that acts as the boundary around it.
  4. It has been proven to work – most often picked up from one’s parents by observation in early childhood.

It is what Eric Berne called a ‘game’ in his special sense that term (Berne, E. 1961 Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy. Grove: New York.) One of Berne’s examples was the schlemil, someone who pretends to be clumsy or stupid as an excuse for imposing on others. The complementary role to the schlemil is the schlimazel, a person who allows schlemils to take advantage of them. Both are Yiddish words; the schlemil is always spilling his soup, and the schlimazel is the man he spills it on. Another related pair of complementary game strategies might be adulterer and cuckold; you might discover that games strategies are as varied and contradictory as the games themselves.

The service facsimile or game strategy also appears in another derivative of scientology, Werner Erhard’s Landmark, as the Racket – a contra-survival way of being that is reinforced by a secret payoff.

I’m beginning to think that many (perhaps all) identities have their origin in game strategies. As it accumulates charge and gets fleshed out with additional postulates the strategy becomes a mask, a persona, a valence that one adopts and eventually comes to believe is oneself. We are basically individuals: individuality is a whole, an identity is a part. Assuming an identity narrows down our beingness because an identity is a package of postulates. And each postulate limits the possible. On the other hand, an identity is a player, a winning package that can beat the game; it has characteristics that entitle it to reach the goal. There could be a tie-in with the Must Not Be Known postulate that surrounds the strategy, too. Privacy is essential to the maintenance of a self, which tend to dissolve if fully known. So people are sensitively protective of their privacy.

Furthermore, using a game strategy is an overt act; its exposure produces shame. Does this suggest there is something culpable about having an identity? From the other side, the possession of an identity is enforced on us by society because it is a way of keeping track of us and holding us to account for our actions.

L. Ron Hubbard said that a service facsimile is basically a device to make another consider that they had committed an overt, i.e. making them wrong. “that facsimile most used to make other people realise they are guilty of overt acts. So therefore, a service facsimile is totally itself an overt act.” (5911C26 The Handling of Cases – Greatest Overt. 1st Melbourne ACC-28). It sets one up as an non-attackable valence (6204C03 The Overt-Motivator Sequence. SHSBC-135). Now, a game strategy might be defined more broadly than a service facsimile but they are closely related. The game strategy isn’t solely a way of making the opponent guilty or wrong; more generally it’s a way of convincing them that they have failed in their current game postulate. This might be by deception, bluff, creating a misconception of their own failings, or undermining their confidence.

The original audio can be found online at Tromology and TROM World.


2 Comments on “‘The Game Strategy’ by Dennis Stephens”

  1. Khepri says:

    Great to see this work being talked about David – I’ll enjoy looking over your site. Khepri

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