Explorer Games: Tools to Discover Your Adventure

Mission 1, Level 1: Why Play This Game?

Rex again. Glad you’re here. Where is here? After an all day climb, it’s sunset on a Peruvian mountain peak. I’m enjoying the spectacular views of the nearby sister mountains and the valleys below. There is a building carved into the side of the summit that rises four stories with a roof covered by the natural terrain. The wall is decorated with some impressive masks from different parts of the world.

I approach the entrance with a pair of doors 20 feet high each eight feet wide. As I get close, they open. I enter and wonder why I haven’t seen anyone one else since I arrived. After a few steps inside, the doors close eerily behind me. My eyes struggle to adjust to the darkness. In the center of the vast chamber is a massive yet elegant fountain. But the cascading liquid is not water–it is thicker and flows more slowly and has a golden hue. I notice that my mind and body are relaxing yet fully energized.

This feeling intensifies. I’m not sure how to clearly explain it other than an understanding, an intuitive knowing of how Mother Nature’s universal laws operate washes over me. It’s as powerful as it peaceful. I feel a freedom and a calm unlike anything I’ve experienced before. I bathe in that feeling.

Then a thought interrupts: the weight of this insight staggers my mind.

“After all these years of being curious and exploring, you finally made it!” I hear an internal voice say. I realize that my self-congratulations is a trap. My trickster ego wants some credit. But that’s fool’s gold. I recognize my mind is being hijacked into the past and ripped from a state of ecstasy. It’s true that my sense of curiosity has led me to many astonishing and challenging adventures. I’m just following the example and advice of a great teacher who lived a fascinating and adventurous life: “I just exercise my curiosity.”

It may be a simple few words, but the results are powerful. My experiences confirm his theory. And how democratic in nature! Everyone of us can has this capability. After all, curiosity comes as a standard feature in our species.

Perhaps because curiosity is so common, it is vastly undervalued in our society. Well meaning people give it lip service as a “nice” quality to use. It makes me feel like the advice given in taking your vitamins. It’s something you should do every day but don’t. Every time I hear some low level praise for curiosity, I want to curse. Curiosity is vital to life and well being. It’s almost as important as my breathing and eating.

Yet as we grow up, most of us fold it up and put it into a drawer or the attic. Curiosity is like a muscle. Unless you use it, you lose it. All you need to do is ignite this powerful fire is to ask a question about something that’s caught your interest. One question can lead to a thread that you can focus on, play with, for five minutes, six months, or a lifetime.

And the fact that Einstein urged us to, “Never lose a Holy Curiosity!” means a lot to me.

Why did Einstein think curiosity vital? “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity.”

Curiosity is a direct conduit to mystery but it is where surprise, the unknown, and the unpredictable live.

Using my sense of curiosity makes me an explorer! It’s why we created Explorer Games. If we are curious regularly, doesn’t that give us a much greater chance to live a full life?

Curiosity brings me into the moment and it feels good as my body produces feel good chemical as a reward. It not only works in the present but it offers a perspective of being on track. I don’t know exactly where it all leads to, but I know I’m moving in the right direction.

How do I know I’m headed in the right direction? Here are just some of the tells or ways to figure out you’re on track.

3. The Tells:

It feels like I’m in a rhythm. Whether I’m climbing a mountain at just the right speed or I’m on a dancing just to celebrate movement. I see that often when watching young kids jump, twirl, and run as they move through space. We adults just walk, or worse, plod.

There’s a sense of joy–sometimes ecstatically so.

Time loses its importance.

Repeat the activity and the feeling is similar.

I feel victorious.

My day goes better with less anxiety or worry.

Science validates these thoughts. When you’re exploring novel places, whether physically or mentally, our bodies’ chemistry create a natural high. And this good feeling will happen again and again whenever you become curious and explore.

This is what happens when you play Explorer Games: it guides you toward those kinds of feelings and spaces.

So for me, curiosity provides the spice of life! Perhaps even more powerful and valuable than the spices the European explorers of the late 15th and 16th century were searching for–including Ponce de Leon’s trek through Florida for the Fountain of Youth.

You don’t need a lot of money or equipment to be curious and explore. For instance, last night just before bed, my imagination took me to Tibet. I had goosebumps listening to the monks’ chant by using their voices in very different ways. I then walked down a hallway and listened to one of the elders speak to a group about being truly successful at life. It was said a bit differently but the meaning was clear. By far, the most successful college basketball coach–11 championships–in its history, John Wooden, spoke similarly in his analysis.

My environment and its magnificence calls me back from my thoughts. I now know why I traveled here. I give thanks.

From Wikimedia Common

Afterwards I had took a hike to breathtaking Himalaya scenery while having an intriguing conversation with my guide about how different our cultures are. I asked him why so many people looked so healthy and how difficult it must be to live at this elevation at nearly 12,000 feet–especially in the winter. The environment and weather reminded me of the time when I spent the winter in the cold Vermont mountains in a 12X12′ primitive cabin I built. It wasn’t what you’d call a comfortable–no running water or electricity–but I had the time of my life becoming deeply aware of nature’s moods and learning to play by it rules

Any of these original six questions spark your curiosity?

Question 7: if being curious and exploring is so real, challenging and adventurous, why don’t we encourage more young people to learn this skill?

My take. Perhaps our society doesn’t value these qualities much. I was rarely, if ever, encouraged to be an be curious in school; just fill up on what the teachers wanted. I can’t remember all the times I was told to be more practical, more “realistic,” and not take so many risks. “Play it safe.” “Don’t rock the boat.” Be “Practical.”

Maybe that advice works for some; not for me. It’s almost as if we’ve made curiosity and exploring into a taboo. And so this game is not for everyone. If you’re into listening to the same old repetitious thoughts inside your head, or have convinced yourself that living in one role or perspective is good enough at an early age, you’re in the wrong place. But if you’re interested in getting skillful at being an explorer, let’s go!

Explorer Games’ MISSION 1 Level 1:

In Explorer Games you’ll experience games within games, questions, experiments, rules of thumb, puzzles, illustrations, video links to great websites, anecdotes, factual tidbits. Explore only those games, questions and activities that interest you.

For those who want to keep track of what interests them in a separate doc, please do. The main points or names are in bold for easier reference. Seeing patterns on what you choose will give you clues to discovering who you truly are. Discovering and acting on what you love brings a sense of authenticity. It puts you on track. That’s a perspective that gives some peace of mind.

Tip: Along the way, there will be tips and tools to increase your exploring skills.

Question \\W//: Do you agree with futurist designer Bucky Fuller? “Don’t change people, change environments. Bucky was one of the most brilliant thinkers and doers of the 20th century. He figured out that 30% of what we spent on the military worldwide could feed, house, clothes, and provide health care for every human on the planet.

Question and Experiment 1: Ever do something out of character? How did it work out? Want to try it again, or maybe for the first time. Once I bought a dozen roses on Valentine’s Day and gave them out one at a time to couples in parks or busy retail sections of town. What fun I had! And the couples loved it!

Game R: What kind of game could you make with 750 balls? How about making a thunderstorm for a few seconds? Notice the hard hat never got touched. And this experiment was the first and only time it was tried.

How to Explore, and Why Are Games So Important?

Thought Experiment: What if your perspective is that everything is a game? Or even a dance?

Alan Watts, a brilliant 60’s philosopher, thought this perspective to be high on the truthometer. And now a word from Truth-O-Meters, the most accurate of Artificial Intelligence truth meters.

I have agree. There can always be exceptions, but it’s my “Go To” position: the more I can make life into a game or a dance or both, life is just so much more fun! And in today’s world, we can always use a little more fun. Even in some circumstances, making things into a game, can lead to something new that works. Edward de Bono, who proselytized about the many ways think and coined the term “Lateral Thinking”, gave us a formula to be creative: k

Known A + Known B = New C.

We chose honoring a revere member of the community as Known A and playing ball as Known B . Then we combined them to make a new kind of memorial service. De Bono was brilliant in his way to teach us think from different perspectives Want an example of Lateral Thinking?

I make exploring into a game. That’s why I call this Explorer Games: Tools for Your Adventure. Some think that games are just kids’ play and are unimportant. I don’t agree at all. Those who doubt the power of games just haven’t had the experience of how profound their effect can be on our lives.

I have many counterpoints to the naysayers. I’ll start with just one. If games are lightweight, why have they been taught in every culture since recorded time and even probably a lot longer than that? Aren’t they a vital method for humans to learn what our communities value and what the young need to know to become fully empowered members.

Not only is the world around me intriguing but at least as powerful is exploring my inner world–you know, understanding what makes you tick?

Why Are Games So Important?

Even in the harshest of climates, play is vital. check out 46:47

But forget about society, games can play a huge factor on any individual whether we are conscious of it or not. Science tells us playing games is the only way humans are programmed to release fear of uncertainty and move into a portal of creativity.

Neuroscientist Beau Lotto explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR2P5vW-nVc

How many humans live inside a world where we are prisoners of habit yet fear to take a chance

Yet others take the leap to move beyond restraints.

In today’s present world, our material wealth and access to tools, are breathtaking. We produce, sell and buy consumer goods on a level unmatched in history. But at what cost? Warren Buffet’s multi-billionaire partner, Charlie Munger who lived through the Great Depression, believes people were happier in the 1930’s. This consumer mentality based on making us feel fear or inadequacy if we don’t own the latest whatever has it costs.

So the question is, as Alan Watts, philosopher-entertainer asked over 50 years ago, do we have a below-the-surface societal taboo that is even more of a mystery today.

Do you remember any of the the questions or images at the beginning of Explorer Games–like learning an academic skill using 100 balls or drawing an insect combat vehicle? Or, what movie would you like to make?

Here’s a tip about the human species: we remember more of what we experience and learn when we make an emotional connection with the moment. It’s why most of us can remember the first crush we had, or some wonderful victory against the odds, or even a major embarrassment that we may have suffered

And another wonderful thing about exploring is there is predicting what happen often gets thrown out the window. I never know what I’ll experience and where I’ll wind up. I’ve seen the endlessly powerful waves of millions of animals journeying to greener pastures in the African Serengeti. I lived out a dream by moving with Broadway dancers for months. Yet, ironically, as a favor to a friend, I got myself roped into teaching a group of creative but gnarly teens, and it turned out to be the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on! These at-risk teens blamed themselves for not living up to society’s expectations–especially academically. They rarely recognized how talented and insightful they were. After all, every day they were told by someone that they weren’t good enough, smart enough, or just too weird.

What a fascinating mystery they were to me! I learned something from them that constantly remains with me. Together, we challenged another of society’s great. This is a game worth playing.

o know thyself.

Taboo: a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing (Oxford Dictionary).

The Journey and Games Begin

When I was given complete control over what to teach in my classes, at first I struggled with all that freedom. I stayed up at nights trying to figure out what all the students might want to learn that I felt was worth their time and energy. These were English classes but studying grammar was not going to work. Then, like a thunder clap, an idea struck.

Why not ask these academically rejected, at-risk students what they wanted to learn. We agreed to focus on only two questions:

“Who am I?” and “What am I to do here?”

In other words, we had decided to study what humans have been asking themselves for over 2,500 years and as relevant today as ever: to know thyself.

This experiment in academic democracy had immediate and positive results. Overnight, many of these frustrated, rejected teens enmeshed themselves in projects they had only dreamt about: publishing a magazine, working together to build our school’s haunted house, learning to brilliantly act in an improv class where students school-wide demanded regular performances.

Question V/\V: Why be an Explorer? There are so many. And just one idea can change your entire outlook.

Factoid 1: The term school was coined by the Ancient Greeks and meant “leisure.” Where did we go off track? entymonline.com.

wake up in a totally strange planet, and the only thing you know is you’re there for an important mission. Would that be an adventure you’d be interested in?

Explorer Games not only is stimulating but is based on a most effective and systematic method, older than recorded history. Our mammals brothers and sisters have been, and still are, using the same techniques. It’s a most effective way to figure things out.

I’ve loved the adventure and challenge of exploring. Perhaps it was the learning something new: like a different ball game or exploring the mysterious nearby wood on a full moon. I was all in. Still am. I’ve been fortunate to see waves of unimaginable colors spiral in the night sky. I’ve danced with groups who didn’t understand a word I spoke. I’ve lived in primitive cabins where the vast wonder and power of nature is my only companion.

I’ve often wondered why I’m driven to this exploring game, so I finally jotted down some ideas.

Yet, in all my travels, the biggest surprise and challenge of my life was a complete surprise. As a favor to a friend, I got myself roped into teaching a group of creative but gnarly teens. They blamed themselves for not living up to society’s expectations–especially academically. They rarely recognized how talented and insightful they were. After all, every day they were told by someone that they weren’t good enough, smart enough, or just too weird.

Societies, by their nature, want its members to conform when they are interacting in public spaces. It could get confusing if we changed green to mean stop every other weekend. It’s when a societal rules–often not stated in any document– persistently influence your behavior by making you feel bad, or promising you happiness of all kinds, if you buy their products. If we could only, “Consume, obey, be silent, die! says Joanna Macy).

only one way to get out without fear.

And once you know, you can never forget

When my academically alienated students and I understood how we humans are structured, many of us transformed into craving learners in this portal without fear.

The Secret They Won’t, or Can’t, Tell You

What is that secret? Over 50 years ago, Alan Watts observed that most humans either don’t know it or won’t talk about it.

The secret began unraveling when I was fortunate enough to be given complete curriculum control over what I could teach. English begat an Improvisation class which begat a cooperative PE class which begat a new school which beg the Kuriosity Lab

~ ~

@`!`@ How different can an English class be?

<^> (+) What kind of course would you teach students who didn’t like school?

Ok, so I could teach whatever I wanted! I stayed up nights trying to figure out a subject I’d enjoy–like the wacky and wonderful patterns of our language and how to express them verbally, in writing, moving, acting, playing all students would enjoy and engage in.

/#\ Hate English? Check out a page or two of George Carlin’s best-selling book, Brain Droppings (this Level 5)

Or is there any connection between the feels of words that rhyme with itch:

Snitch, bitch, witch, rich, ditch, pitch, niche, hitch… sort of mixed bag of feelings/images

Snicker, dicker, bicker, ticker, picker, flicker… more on the dark side?

what words you choose creates a mood, a tone. They are usually simple, straightforward. The brain wants to understand as clearly and quickly as possible. “Use” is better than “utilitarian.”

And as for images: how does “liking ice cream a lot” compare with “craving ice cream?” Words like “nice,” “interesting,” “good” cannot compare to “gracious,””thrill,” “sparkling.”

Clues to Youse (David’s Bruce Willis) |<>|<>| Seven facts about our species according to scientists who study us and our patterns

ifWhat do you do to move into the unknown?

We are explorers by nature but we attach ourselves to certainty and predictability

look up 5 carlinisms free gift,

Just curious: What do you know about light? How about the light changing every day in a patterned cycle and so art, which imitates nature, can be so intricate and varied with a simple law. How can light affect a play on Broadway? We played with light at the Kuriosity Lab.


Brought to you by Nature

Then a thought took over my brain. “What if I asked these rejected students what they’d like to learn. Was there any topic everyone could agree upon? We had many lively discussions.

Finally, we hit pay dirt. We agreed to seek answers to just two questions: “Who am I?” and, “What am I to do here?” Presto Digitalis, we became aconsumed with the questions humans have been asking for at least 2,500 years.

And that’s the secret. How do you unlock your big mystery that is inside each of us? Why was something so vital to everyone not taught? Instead, everyday we are inundated with thousands of images to feel better, or sometimes worse, about ourselves. And if we buy this thingy, we will instantly become sexier, rich, and enlightened. Even though the students objected at first that buying the “right” clothes, or getting the latest gizmo, was ultimately fools’ gold. Enjoyable for a while…

With this insight, it was a mere few days that we started building a haunted houses, that led to a musical the-out space, that led to building a greenhouse and then domes. We even mixed concrete in our room. We participated in a big brother and sister program with elementary school kids. We developed ideas for more courses like learning “20th Century U.S. History through Music,” or “Co-operative P.E.” And we started the first 10 minutes of each class researching.

What were researching? We were in search of what we later called “Keepers.” 

Keepers are activities, or states of mind, where you experience those full-on breathing sensations. Not because anyone is telling you to, but because the activity whether it’s basketball, soccer, gymnastics, dance, skateboarding, surfing, making or choosing music, fixing an engine, experimenting with light offers a portal a zone, where you’re in rhythm

It’s a bathtub

You know it’s a Keeper if it: 1) attracts you to return to it 2) makes you feel stronger and 3) doesn’t hurt anyone including yourself.

Ultimately, a Keeper can become a personal, lifelong treasure. For many it’s a hobby. If you’re truly fortunate, it may even turn into a living. It’s what I experience in the list above of “Why Play This Game.” Discovering and being in that space, that zone, that’s the secret.

First Mission: Seeking Possible Keepers

We were told that in through our experiment in learning that on a small scale we were redefining what school is. It’s not as if school hadn’t been redefined before. After all, the Ancient Greeks, who coined the original meaning of school, defined it as leisure. Yes, that’s right: leisure.

We decided it was far more effective to play attention, instead of having to pay attention. When you play attention, you actually learn more, retain more of it, and have a good time doing it. You’re self-motivated and fully focused. I’d choose play over pay anytime. Yes, learning can be fun!

And that’s what they won’t, or can’t tell you, about traditional learning–places where you’re ordered to learn. Too often the more memorize and regurgitate, the better your grade is. In our classes, we never used textbooks. We discovered that by being curious about idea, or activity, can blow away the gates into a portal of self-motivated learning. You become an explorer for a lifetime!

It begins with what makes you curious. In the last months of life, Einstein was emphatic when he said: “Never lose a Holy Curiosity!”

How to Win Explorer Games: Part 1

Rules for Finding Keepers

Where There Are No Losers or Weepers

Where does interest and skill intersect? Bronte and Megan on their first try are close to perfection

Being Curious

Being curious leads to your Keepers. Even if curiosity comes as standard human equipment, it’s a powerful, even magical tool. Curiosity and exploration are bound together. Being curious even serves as an antidote to a bored or complaining mind. Whatever stimuli or experience that makes you wonder can be the beginning of an adventure, and boredom vanishes. Following your curiosity leads to… well, you never know where you’ll find your Keepers. This is why Explorer Games is different from other games with a finite amount of options. In Explorer Games, you’re in charge, and you choose the path you want. Or, you can make your own. That’s where tools help.

For instance, some students and I were curious as to what would happen if we let loose 1200 balls down two long staircases at a Washington state college. Would we be busted before we started? We had no permission. Would people get in the way, and how would they react? Would the camera be hit too many times and not make it? What exactly would it look like? Would they all come down at once? Or, would some balls move more quickly down the steps than others? Would the balls create a rhythm together? And what conditions do balls move in rhythm? What else would we learn?

We were eager to try this experiment into the unknown. We felt like creators, scientists, and explorers.

Are there an equal amount of balls going up as there are going down?


Another Experiment

What could these students be celebrating?

Answer: This was part of a joyous memorial service for a beloved teacher. We used balls again and everyone at school threw them up in the air.

And one more thing about being curious: humans are programmed to be rewarded with pleasure when we are curious. And not only do we feel good as a result, but curiosity is a tool to adapt, survive, and thrive in changing circumstances. And in today’s world, changes are happening all the time.

Seek Patterns

The more curious you are, the better the chance you’ll understand patterns about how you and this world operates. And those who know and practice those patterns have an advantage in choosing a life that fits them. Knowing yourself is a powerful tool.

What are those patterns? That’s what this game is about. How to figure out which patterns in our universe work best for you?

Since nature follows specific rules or laws, learning how it operates is vitally important. After all we’re a subset of nature and subject to its laws. When we don’t understand or ignore them, the consequences can be painful. When I’ve lived in the woods all by myself, I know I must be aware of the wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions around me. I am not the top of food chain.

An Example

Nature uses the least amount of energy for a form to function. Bees build with this design. It provides not only strength but the most efficient use of nearly the entire space with the least amount of materials. Doing more with less is a brilliant and natural design!

A Geodesic dome follows the same principle of less is more. But we humans tend to be very wasteful at a time where this habit can come back and bite us. So, how do you get the best results–finding your Keepers–using the least amount of energy? Throughout the Games we will offer examples.

As mentioned, there are lots of questions, illustrations, stories, videos, and experiments for you to choose from in Explorer Games. Only the ones that ignite your curiosity are relevant in your quest. Some have been partially answered to deepen the mystery and wonder of the world to hopefully catch your interest.

Have an Open Mind

Those who think they know the all the answers are too often inaccurate or just plain boring. Knowing what you don’t know has been considered a high form of intelligence. On the other hand…

\^^/. Why do some religions ban their believers from having a direct line to their divinity? This has happened many times in history. Just ask Joan of Arc and Spinoza.

\/^\/. Imagine the changes in people when it was scientifically proven that the sun was the center of our solar system and not the Earth?

^^^<<. Have you ever been sure about something that turned out to very different after you’ve had more experience?

And of course: Play Attention

We have included lots of different kinds of games to play.

Worlds of Wonders

More like it.

Choose Only What Interests You

You can pass on any item without penalty.

7) What would you consider the most powerful symbol?

blog_modernpictogramsfont012.jpg (700×262)

7A) Would you choose an emoji instead? Which one?

7B) The symbols below come from a civilization that dates back almost 5,000 years ago in Asia. For 700 years, the Harappans seem to have had no wars! They had indoor plumbing over 4,000 years before London or Paris. But we still haven’t been able to agree on what their symbols mean. The Harappa civilization is still a great mystery.


8. Ever see an Aurora do its thing?

Courtesy https://ivygordonphoto.com/

This photo was taken in Iceland. Seeing an aurora first hand is something I will never forget. It’s stored in my long-term memory where it will never be forgotten. When anyone stores something into long-term memory it’s never forgotten. Sort of like riding a bike. Notice how transparent the aurora energy is? Orion’s Belt is still visible. If you want to see where Auroras are located in this moment: https://classic.nullschool.net/

Check out the menu on the bottom left of nullschool.com site. Choose”mode” and then “space.” Twirl the Earth to both poles to see where the auroras are now. It’s a fun site to view other natural features. 8A) Did you know the winds circling Antartica power the world’s weather? Why?

“The waters surrounding Antarctica are a key part of the “ocean conveyor belt,” a global system in which water circulates around the globe based on density and on currents. The cold waters surrounding Antarctica, known as the Antarctic Bottom Water, are so dense that they push against the ocean floor. The Antarctic Bottom Water causes warmer waters to rise, or upwell.

Antarctic upwelling is so strong that it helps move water around the entire planet. This movement is aided by strong winds that circumnavigate Antarctica. Without the aid of the oceans around Antarctica, the Earth’s waters would not circulate in a balanced and efficient manner.”


9) Mind Experiment: Imagine you’re nearing the end of a full and long life. What three tips would you tell your young adult grandchildren are the keys to a fulfilling life?

Short Story 1

A Surprise Visit to Hell

My first day to teach had arrived. I had a spent much time preparing the lesson. I was in good spirits and determined to do well for these misunderstood young. As I opened the door, all the students were there waiting for me.

“New meat! Ooh wee!”

“Teach me effen something!”

“Bet he won’t last more than a day!”

“I need to go to the bathroom, and we don’t need to ask.”

“You have an effen problem with effen cursing?”

My expectations were torched. But even worse than that, if I reacted with any weakness, my credibility would be lost forever, or at least severely damaged. But, if I could turn this situation around…

“Big chance,” I answered to myself.

I knew my self-pity narrative wouldn’t be of any help when under siege, but that didn’t stop me. My thoughts were interrupted.

“Where did you effen come from?” a young woman with a thick Russian dialect shouted at me.                

She waited a couple of beats and ordered, “Go back!”

Then stone silence.

It was now my turn. My rational brain hesitated, but then somehow I stopped thinking. My mouth opened and I turned into a swearing machine.

“You effers, you think I haven’t heard these effen words before from folks who make you look like little baby wusses…” I cursed at their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and even their pets.

Since I knew I would be fired anyways, I ranted on with cuss words some that may never existed, but it sounded like they did. I went on for a few minutes and watched their jaws slowly drop with everyone frozen in place.

By not accepting the no-win option, I managed to turn the game around. By changing the rule that teachers shouldn’t curse, I had won–even though part of me was watching myself in horror. In any case, something I never thought I’d do, I did. Right or wrong I could now continue with reputation and vision intact. But the ante and expectations had been raised. I needed to step up my game to elevate these wounded warriors.


10) Figuring out life is difficult. What if the key was being able to answer this question?

Using Systems: More on Patterns

Of all the questions, ideas, and experiments found in Explorer Games, you may find there are patterns in your interests. As previously mentioned, seeing patterns is important. Understanding systems allows us to see patterns more easily and in less time.

As we have all experienced, life can sometimes be annoyingly random. Understanding systems and seeing patterns are what we do. It’s the way our human equipment is programmed. Whether it’s simply knowing when to cross at a traffic light, or figuring out which repetitive behaviors make you happy, or miserable, understanding patterns allows you to predict and affect your world. And Dr. Cornelia Bargmann proved that even worms, with 100-cell brains, want to predict and affect behaviors of their mates.

11) Can you recognize a pattern in your life? Does it serve you, or need to be modified, or dropped altogether?

11A) Pattern Challenge: Can you look first for the hexagons? When a sheet of hexagons is folded over, they make this 3D effect. Geometry, if viewed from a different perspective, can be a smile.

11B) Nature is filled with systems. Symmetry is an example of when one side of an object is similar, or even the same, as the other. Humans, like so many species are built symmetrically. Having two similar sides saves energy. Nature uses this pattern with great frequency. Humans often consider symmetry attractive.

11C) Once you see this pattern, it’s hard not see these balls moving in only one dimension again.

Reminder: the first mission is to begin to discover where your keepers are. In other words, what triggers your curiosity, and if there are any patterns to it. No worries if you haven’t found any yet. You’ve only started.

12) Can you figure out how we created the effects below?

Answer: On top are two prisms that are lit by glow sticks and a purple light and then duplicated by mirrors. The second is a rapidly vibrating string lit by rapidly changing color lights from below.

13) Do you remember the quick thirty or so images at the beginning of Explorer Games? No matter if you don’t. It means that those images didn’t enter into your long-term memory. Humans have the ability to encode, store, and retrieve information that catches our attention for a few seconds or over a lifetime. They’re two different memory capabilities Research shows the two most effective ways to place concepts into long-term memory, where they are never forgotten, are though repetition and emotion. These are two key methods of how to learn.

Repetition makes sense, but emotion? Ok, can you remember your first crush, or when you got into big trouble? You may not remember an incident from a few days ago but when your emotions are activated into high gear, you will be able to recall that incident forever. Some details may change, but you will never forget at four years old if your mother ranted: “You have shit for brains!”

14) Can you imagine what that must have felt like at only 4 years of age when you have so few tools to deal with excrement like that? Know what to do if something like that happens now and your whole world seems to collapse. Go to a keeper. For example, listening to and/or dancing to music is one of my keepers. I have lots of songs and playlists to put me into a frame of mind I’d rather be experiencing.

Explorer Games chooses to focus on the more positive emotions like joy, surprise, and curiosity.

Yes, curiosity is considered an emotion. So, if you remember any of the images or questions, it probably stirred your curiosity, or you may have repeated watching the images.

See if any of these next questions, experiments, or activities trigger your curiosity.

14A) Or another example: have you ever felt stuck in a game that you’re not enjoying. Could you look at the game from a different perspective? Dr. Edward de Bono, inventor of Lateral Thinking, suggested looking at these possible perspectives: A) With the big picture in mind B) With just the facts. C) Emotionally. D) Negatively. E) Positively. F) With new ideas.

14B) Want to create something new on demand? de Bono devised a formula:

Known A + Known B = New C

For instance, Known A, or a small stick + Known B, or making a fire = New C or the invention of matches which were created less than 200 years ago in 1832. There’s always the possibility of something truly unusual. Vegetable + Musical Instrument = Vienna Vegetable Orchestra. All instruments are made from vegetables. https://www.vegetableorchestra.org/

Can Known A + Known B = New C can create an Aha! moment?

15) Want to learn something about your personality? https://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

It’s from UC Berkeley and the researchers only want age and sex. They ask for nothing else.

Teaching through playing ball

15A) Can you learn about your personality, or others, through Games and Play?

16) Young kids, before they start kindergarten, are so much more in touch with their feelings. Watching them joyously move from point A to B is a delight. They do more than just walk. They skip, twirl, or dance at any moment. They’re in a rhythm of their own.

When was the last time you listened to your body and deliberately chose a rhythm to feel good? It can happen almost anywhere: playing soccer, coasting on a skateboard, or moving to your favorite music. Renown neuroscientist, Dr. Antonio Damasio, says experiences like these are not just a good idea, they are the “bedrock” of our existence.

17) We’ve all played lots of games in our lives. But as we get older, unless you’re into sports or other games, play is considered trivial and just for kids. Yet, these highly skilled dancers, who’ve been trained at a most prestigious school in the performing arts, Juilliard, are fully engaged and enjoying a simple ball game. They were willing to try new ways to move and to play like kids again.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is chap_1_question02.jpg

They described this experiment and others with these words: “Jubilant,” ‘Pure,” “Fun,” “Committed, “Unheard of, ” and “Free.”

18) How recently have you tried something “childlike?” It’s way more fun than being a serious adult. What if understanding games is one of the most important skills in life? Ask jet fighter pilots if they’ve played on a simulator to learn their skills. Or why surgeons using laser techniques train on simulators too? That’s a form of play before it can get deadly serious.

18A) Can you move differently with a friend? Like walking as you wiggle all your fingers or arms? Or, walk in tiny steps? Or make a noise on every new step you make?

19) You can even learn math through play. You can figure out how fast you’re going by playing this game or watch the one below. It’s a more hands-on way to understand: Rate or speed = Distance divided by Time.

This fellow wanted to repeat this over and over to see if he could beat his time.

Everyone’s Practicing Something

20) Here’s a clue to find a “keeper.” When you could choose what to do between the ages of 6-10, what kind of activities did you get into? I played lots of ball. Still do. It energizes, relaxes, and focuses me all at the same time. It puts me into a rhythm.

Other possibilities that can make you curious

21) This wood sculpture feels alive. Is she happy or sad? What do you see?

22) Learning in a different way. Most of us think that having fun and learning are two separate worlds. That’s just not true. Learning doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Even nouns can be fun. Would we remember them more easily if we were taught or even made our own video, like this?

23) What could “farnoogle” mean?

One student defined it as, “The sound you make when sitting upon a papaya.” Thank you, Chris!

24. What if you were to live on an island in paradise? The catch is that you could never leave. What five things would you take with you? No need to take anything basic (food, shelter, etc.)

25) A million and a billion are two very large numbers. Yet you can say all you want that a billion is 1,000 million but that doesn’t help a lot of people understand the difference. Let’s say you started at 1 and added a number every second and didn’t stop until you hit a million, how long would it take? Answer: 11.5 days. Counting the same way a billion seconds would take you over 31 years. A trillion? That would take over 31,000 years.

26) “Don’t change people, change environments.” urged Bucky Fuller, designer, futurist, inventor, and popularizer of the Geodesic Dome. When was the last time you deliberately changed your environment? How did life change?

Here’s two more experimental environments under cothat we created to learn in a different way.

The blue doors are 8 feet by 8 feet. We used this

27) What pattern in your life do you like better: when there is a lot of order: everyone has a clear role? Or, do you like more chaotic conditions where improvisation rules?

28) The Earth is the only planet not named after a Greek or Roman god. How did our planet get its name? And why doesn’t it make sense? 

29) Have you ever followed your own path?

Below are some answers from my students. What works for one individual doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for another.

“When I decided to be different, and others around disapproved.”

“When I wanted something, and others argued.”

“To ignore cruel, rude people.”

“Decided not to go to college for now.”

 “Cut my hair short.”

“Decided I like being big and beautiful. As long as I’m healthy, I’m okay!”

“When I began getting depressed, I felt what my parents wanted me to be wasn’t ME!  It made me mad and I rebelled.”

“Didn’t do my homework.”

“Going 2 jail.”

“When I quit smoking.”

“When I read Tao Te Ching.”

“When I stopped gang banging.”

“Listening to Frank (Sinatra), not the pop music of today.”

“Playing football for a year even though I was small.”

“I don’t do drugs anymore.”

“I was the first one of my friends to get a job.”

“I went to a different school.”

30) If you could choose a team of three to five people to be on your team who might they be? Their mission is to give you good advice whenever you ask for it. Perhaps, a trusted friend or two? An older person you admire? Or, brilliant humans who once lived on this planet like Joseph Campbell, Eleanor Roosevelt, Bucky Fuller, Carl Sagan, Maya Angelou, John Wooden, Helen Keller, or Robin Williams? Or who would you include?

We all get confused from time to time. The right words, at the right time, from someone you trust can make a big difference.

31) Why is understanding games a vital key to becoming a human in touch with needs? Then keep scrolling down to Chapter 2. If not go to Chapter 3 for the beginning of the Dodecahedron Mystery.

Before moving onto Level 2, a quick review of how to win this game: be curious, seek patterns–especially your own, have an open mind, “play” attention, and choose only what interests you.

The Power of Games, or Why Knowing How to Play Can Change Your Life

Level 2

Explorer Games uses a simple and universal system that all societies, even those before recorded history, have used to ensure their survival: play and games. Play and games for survival? If a society is to endure, it teaches its young the skills to continue its existence. Play and games are a favorite vehicle to transmit that information no matter the time or the society. Unfortunately, play and games are often used, but undervalued in our society, good for only kids and talented athletes.

Not only do mammals play games, but reptiles, birds, and even insects do. Playing games is actually a multi-dimensional tool. They’re enjoyable and by their nature present new challenges to develop skills and strategies. And play and games are a most efficient system for anyone to enjoy learning these new skills and strategies.

32) Have any idea what game these four young women are playing?

33) In order to play, people can’t be busy working or doing chores all the time. The Ancient Greeks formalized this time of play and called it school. Yes, they invented the term “school.” It meant: “spare time, leisure, rest, ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed…” 


We sure have changed the mission of school and have suffered the consequences. Play, games, and leisure turn out to be a wonderful and effective way to learn. Any notable results from this new system called school? The Ancient Greeks only invented, or codified, physics, philosophy, geometry, drama, architecture, history, and the Olympics.

34) Life is obviously stressful in this day and age. From a premiere neuroscientist, Dr Robert Sapolsky, who offers a very deep dive into the science behind people who cope with stress the best. FYI it starts with methods for older folks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wqJhQ3Vpuk

35) They also followed a societal value: to develop their talent (arete) to the best of their ability. How often do we honor excellence in our society? We have examples of that like Kobe Bryant, Helen Keller, and Steve Jobs. Do you know anyone like this? And why is it rare?

36) Though watching kids play, play and games may seem random. They’re not. Every game has a mission. Check out our goofy video called “The Mission.” It may seem like child’s play, but there are multiple and intricate levels to it.

Unless the game’s goal or mission is commonly understood, the players can have very different perspectives.

In our classes there would always be tough guys who would repeatedly get into spats with the local cops. They would always lose, land in jail, because they defined their mission in a way they couldn’t win. They believed the mission was to get respect from the cops. Even though I understood their point, I disagreed. The police made the rules, had more power as players as they had powerful tools (badge and weapons) and could change the environment at will. Students had no chance to win.

My mission would be to get my freedom back as quickly as possible without getting a ticket or worse. If I got the respect of the police or not, it wasn’t important to me as like it was for my students.

37) These students were stuck on one point of view, and it cost them their freedom for a time. Can you remember a time when changing a perspective released the pressure you were feeling?

Defining your mission can be an eye opening experience.  

38) “The Mission” video mentions that every game not only has a Mission but Rules, Players, Environment(s), and Tools. If you know how to use this system, it will help you stay out of trouble–even jail. This MR PET system can lead to figuring out understanding what a true friend is as well?

Mission: How to know a true friend

Rules: (You can have different rules) 1. They celebrate your victories and are saddened by your losses. 2. They listen to what you’re actually saying. 3. They don’t gossip or tell your shared secrets to others 4. You can count on them in a pinch. 5. It’s much fun to hang out together. 6. What else?

Players: You and a possible friend.

Environment: Almost anywhere.

Tools: You don’t need many or any. A little bit of money can bring some treats. Or, you can share a new tool that’s a kick.

39) Understanding the five elements of MR PET will increase your ability to play the game more effectively. In competitive games, understanding MR PET leads to more wins. In a cooperative game, it will allow you to keep the game going longer. If it’s your game, you can change a rule, or even your mission, to see what works better for you. In other words, it’s experiment and modify. Isn’t that an upgrade from “trial and error?” Remember how many times you fell in figuring out how to keep your physical balance?

MR PET can be used in almost any area where there is a mission: like what to choose to spend some energy on every day that makes you feel good. It’s been mentioned before so there’s a reason for the emphasis. Or, maybe you want to explore a mission of what kind of life you want after you complete high school or college?

Mission: Figuring out what to do after completing school

40) Rules: Depends on your values. Do you know how to figure out your values?

41) Do you know the big difference between a value and a belief? Your values are what you actually practice or act on regularly–consciously or not. Walking the walk is obviously more authentic, more powerful, and takes some courage. know the story of Julia Butterfly?

42) Players: What kind of humans do you want to have in your game? What kinds of qualities?

43) Environment: Environments are vital for what they provide and what they limit. Understanding that can make or break the success of your game.

44) Tools: What tools do you have? How skillful are you with them? What do they allow you to accomplish? Are there any other tools you may need that will propel your story forward?

45) What happens when you feel stuck and unhappy? What you repeat in your mind may not be in your best interest. How can you change that mood?

Here’s a universal system that offers relief. Seeing your situation as a game that has rules, players, environments, and tools is a start. Since every game has a mission or objective, If you don’t like the game you’re playing, is it possible to change an element of the game–either the rules, tools, players, environment or even the mission?

For instance, changing your environment can morph the current game into a more pleasant one. If you like basketball but the court where you’re playing has a bunch of bullies there, can you find another? Sometimes, a new environment will be thrust upon you. How would you deal if you found yourself on a new planet? Our man Vin is dealing with exactly that.

Level 3

Kuriosity Lab