[TIL]Writing About Your Interests.

Posted: September 1, 2009 by Brian in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So, some of you may know, I’m a university student, I’m one (1,800+ pages of material) test away from finishing my second year, studying Philosophy and Sociology/Anthropology. And one of the bennies when you get a too-open assignment, is to write about shit you care about. I wrote an assignment on Holism in analyzing RPGs.

This is actually not the first time I’ve done something like this. The first time we were asked to write a major assignment (around 20-30 pages) was in the fifth grade, and I wrote about Dungeons and Dragons. I hunted down the articles in Hebrew written about it, publications translated on satanism, psychology, how the game was brought into Israel, etc. This was back when "Mitzuv" the company that brought D&D to Israel existed, and TSR too, so I just had my mom go to their offices and photocopy that stuff for me.
I might actually still have this assignment somewhere, perhaps even on a computer (though if I do, it’s in Hebrew).

Now, I had a course in Philosophy about Holism, we’ve discussed the topic mainly through the lens of the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Language, and a broad-picture was painted. We were told (we were told on the first lesson, so it didn’t come as a surprise) to write an assignment regarding Holism, anything we wanted.
And then came the time to write the assignment, and I wasn’t sure what to write about, so I turned to my interests, things I didn’t need to do major reading about in order to crank out a roughly 7 page assignment, because being the procrastinator that I am, there was no time.

I recalled the arrow diagram of The Big Model in RPGs, and how all the levels had to be taken into account, especially in light of "The Lumpley Principle" ("System (including but not limited to ‘the rules’) is defined as the means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play.") and I set down to right.

Note, this assignment is obviously not without flaws, but I had constraints of time and space to begin with, and the paper had to be tailored to a specific audience. Roleplaying games may have needed a better explanation and breakdown, The Big Model deserves its own section, and of course, describing the roleplaying theory scene while giving everyone it credit too. But that was unfeasible. So things were simplified, and I’m sure some things were butchered.

Maybe it all makes me a bad academic, perhaps it even makes me a bad student, but the point is another: Use what you already know and care for when you can. Beat dealing with stuff you are either not passionate about (I quite like Philosophy, thank you), or need to read up on when you can avoid it (yes, I guess I am a bad proto-academic).

Here’s a direct link to the assignment, note, it’s a .doc (Word document, office 2000).
Also, this is the last day of the month, so expect some summary posts to follow this week, including my media breakdown, my purchases, a review of the Figures of the Month (I will see about that), and break-down traffic and posts made this month.

P.S. I know this is greek to most of you, "The Big Model", "The Lumpley Principle", etc. I touch on it in the paper you can read, and well, this is a blog about what I care for. And this is something I care for. So there you go.
P.P.S. The "About" page had been updated. The Links page still awaits completion.

P.P.P.S. for you LJ people: You’ll get some more reposts, or a post linking to posts that don’t really belong here, later this week.

  1. adamdray says:

    Interesting article. I disagree that the Big Model is an interaction model. It’s a composition model. It shows how parts are interrelated but doesn’t say anything about how the layers interact.
    Your feedback loop from ephemera to social contract is there, but a composition model doesn’t show it. The social contract is, after all, made up of a bunch of ephemera. One bit of ephemera is built on the information from many prior ephemera. The feedback loop is there, but not in the model.

    • jiituomas says:

      And thus I have to disagree with you, Adam. Because the way I see it, the Big Model is very much about interaction, and implicitly claims often so – including certain statements on the impossibility of interaction at some points. It’s a model that works fine on the holistic level, but fails way too often on particulars, precisely because of interaction issues and claims.
      And I think that the social contract part is as solid as that stuff can get in a paper as limited as this, but I would have liked some more discussion on the concept nevertheless: How many contracts are there, in truth, how implicit are they, and what is presumed of them?

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