Previously, I had been thinking that civilized contest among people should have rules that prevent the use of non-productive strategies. For some definition of productivity, maybe it means don’t hack other peoples’ computers, maybe it means something physical structure or that something has to be manufactured or transformed, maybe it just means don’t damage something someone else constructed within the confines of this contest.
Perhaps that’s too naive? Take Chess for example, built into the game is the requirement to kill pieces to win. What fun is a game that is not confrontational? What fun is a game in which the loser is not destroyed? The need to win seem to, at least at this moment, far outweigh the need for reason and civility.
One wonders if there is another way to frame competitions so that they are still fun and exciting but somehow punishes destruction or interference of opponents productive actions.
Perhaps one important thing to distinguish, for myself, is the difference between symbolic exercise and “real world” contests. In real world contests, winning typically have physical meaning of achievement as a part of the winning process: the battle is won, by the process of my army advancing, and in the process of winning we achieve the original goal of physical control of the space.(and the same sequence for hacker taking control of a computer, the taking of control is physical “real world” acquisition) In civilized humanity, we have added thoughts and declaration of rightful status of the winner(e.g. ownership)–after we win, we acknolwedge related believes: that this was ordained by some higher power, or that we believe we are superior in ownership than former owner, etc. and this civility is not a 20th century thing. Ancient contests are won and written about with similar theme as well. The winner always justifies the status of the winner beyond the mental and mechanical efforts it took to win. AFAIK
What my mind demands of constructive competition is that it be constructive in practice and constructive in that mental narrative that eventually expounds on how rightful and great it was for he winner to have won. I suppose here is a near equivalent of nonnegative contest.
For those who insist on breaking things as a means of innovation, I believe this is the answer. In physical world, as well as in some rigid rule based society, it is impossible to progress without breaking things. And it maybe discovered later that given the means available, destruction is the most efficient way to progress. (And this includes little progress as well). So reallistically we allow for breaking things.
In principle, with the voice that declares us the rightful winner at the end, we would point out that the destruction represents deconstruction of something that is wrong. This is probably why people destroy statues of thought leaders when their thoughts have failed to lead to happiness. This could be the destruction of some mental constructs, or some social norms, etc. something nonreal is destroyed.
So therein is the problem. Is there a way to frame constructive contest, in the real world, that has a natural utilitarian narrative? What is the minimum of such formulation?