Between oblivion and susceptiblity

There’s this curious position. One of the things I’ve encountered a lot is people, when designing or prepping, bring a lot of prior assumptions with them when doing so. It’s ‘how things are!’. A lot of these assumptions aren’t even compatible with other assumptions, but they get dragged along out of reflexive habit. I’d gone the other way. But the curious position is, I’m thinking now, is that if you strip away all prior assumptions it doesn’t lead to something which is ‘the way it is’ and not an assumption. Even the big bang and the much latter formation of our planet is essentially an assumption. I don’t mean I’m questioning the hypothesis that it’s true. I’m referring to the physics of this universe – why are they set the particular way they are? Who knows – it’s essentially an assumption to carry them over. Why have some of those physics laws or more in a game, when that’s just carrying on an assumption of ‘how things are’?

But after that, once you’ve stripped it back that far, there’s nothing.  I suppose you could hypothesize what else there is. But I’m more into getting past assumptions and dealing with what there is – but once you strip away all the assumptions, there is no ‘is’. Even physics are gone.

And yet I’m still definitely against just carrying baggage/old assumptions. I’ve thought before that roleplay seem to, over time, purge more and more assumptions out of me, while most other people seemed to go the other way and have more and more assumptions reinforced in them as ‘how things are’ without question.

At least for my own position, I may have overshot in an effort to get away from that unquestioning assumption making and it’s a question of which particular assumptions I want to carry into a game. If any. If I don’t want to carry any, then I don’t want to design a game. This isn’t flipping to the other extreme where assumptions are carried without question and without any self examination to see whether assumptions are carried. This is the conscious identification of assumptions and then either the deliberate decision to carry one or more of these assumptions, or not design at all. And that’s only assumptions that have been identified, as much as one can make sure the only ones that get through are the ones you have identified and can percieve.

One thought on “Between oblivion and susceptiblity

  1. Perhaps a lot of this can be attributed to human laziness and various other cognitive support mechanisms. I find player assumptions quite handy tools – they allow for short-cuts and time-saving and, when challenged, role-playing (*groan*) challenge.

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