Telephone Game: The Hidden Force of the Invisible Hand

The Emperors of China strove to keep knowledge of sericulture secret to maintain the Chinese monopoly. Nonetheless sericulture reached Korea with technological aid from China around 200 BC, the ancient Kingdom of Khotan by AD 50,[15] and India by AD 140.[16]~

As society’s understanding of money changes with the advent of bitcoin and especially in relation to the comparison of money to a telecommunications network, we might begin to change many paradigms in regards to transactions and communication protocols (language). As our global network grows and intensifies we may become more “in-tune” with the entirety of information signals nature as a whole has to offer. We might think of this in relation to the Telephone Game where:

…as many players as possible line up such that they can whisper to their immediate neighbors but not hear players any further away. A phrase will be told by the judges and the first player whispers it as quietly as possible to their neighbor. The neighbor then passes on the message to the next player to the best of their ability. The passing continues in this fashion until it reaches the player at the end of the line, who says to the judges the message he or she received.

Interestingly this game is said to have no winner instead:

…the entertainment comes from comparing the original and final messages. Intermediate messages may also be compared; some messages will become unrecognizable after only a few steps.

It is also interesting the culture implications such a game can have, especially in relation to language:

Today, the name “Chinese whispers” is said by some to be considered offensive.[3][4][5][6] Historians trace Westerners’ use of the word Chinese to denote “confusion” and “incomprehensibility” to the earliest contacts between Europeans and Chinese people in the 1600s, and attribute it to Europeans’ inability to understand China’s culture and worldview.[7] Using the phrase “Chinese whispers” suggested a belief that the Chinese language itself is not understandable.[8] The more fundamental metonymic use of the name of a foreign language to represent a broader class of situations involving foreign languages or difficulty of understanding a language is also captured in older idioms such as It’s all Greek to me!.

The author would like to suggest this type of game arises from a type of friction that works perfectly against a type of force.  A force we are not hitherto aware of because of the exact cognitive bias that blocks us from seeing the obviousness of it. It might then help if we relevate this first from different angles.

In relation to Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand

The concept of the Invisible Hand has become one of the most well known of Adam Smith’s writing’s even though he seemingly only fleetingly mentioned the phrase 3 times.

From the Theory of Moral Sentiments:

The rich…are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society…

From the Wealth of Nations:

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

If we can at all begin to think implicately we should be able to easily see the meaning alluded to with the phrase “invisible hand”.  We might better understand this phrase by trying to define what it is that drives our social reality, or our social/economic growth.  Depending on our view of what life is and in relation to civilization then, it can be shown that the observation of an invisible hand, or a type of natural or implied current/direction, is itself and indicator of a force.

In relation to the Impossibility and Impracticability of Keeping secrets

We might further understand the significance of this relevation by thinking about the “universe” or at least the life and nature on our planet (earth) as a whole.  Can we imagine for a time, the entirety of all the “networks” in the world speaking and listening together and passing all of their market data to each other network. The ducks learning and listening to the waters, so then they can translate for the wind, which carries the calls of many birds, and transforms these signals into weather which in turn directly and dramatically effects our daily lives. We in turn, simply as a part of this whole, arise civilizations, and begin to effect the “nature” we see as apart from us. It should be quite easy to see this different and not fragmented perspective of what ultimately connects the entire cosmos.

This kind of perspective has been extensively inquired into and documented by (among other discussions and groups)  by Jiddu Krishanmuriti and Dr. David Bohm.  See such discussion here.

It is this we should understand in regards to keeping secrets among small social circles and whether such a concept is even truly possible:

Alice has a Secret she doesn’t want Bob to know, and/or in other words she cannot or will not tell Bob.
Alice, for whatever reason, tells Mary her secret, and asks Mary not to reveal it to Bob.
This leaves a coincidence of wants for Mary to try to tell Bob the information he needs in order that they all might gain without betraying Alice and without Alice ever breaking her own want to not tell her secret directly to Bob.

This is a network, much like the black market of social communication, but nonetheless it certainly exists, and it would be difficult to argue it is not one of the main driving forces to our reality, whether social or spiritual.


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