Let’s start from the premise that any type of organization in Dual Universe or any other online game with a guild functionality, can be great fun and perfectly viable for its members. Provided the group as a whole flows well together, despite the organizational structure and coordination being defective or less than optimal. On the other hand, people usually join organisations because they resonate with them or feel attracted by something they see on them. To put it very simply, each organization (offers something that) meets the demand of a player. Who in turn will join by affinity or perhaps because their friends have joined. For example, if you feel like a pirate and find a clan of pirates that you like. A clan where everybody understand each other well or are in one way or another related, will provide many possibilities to work well together and have fun while doing so.
And the same can be said of those who feel they are the subjects of a monarch, republican citizens, brave warriors or knights of the Zodiac. If one finds a tribe of peers and feels comfortable (in his environment), like a fish in the water, it is easy for it to be very enjoyable, which in itself will be the clan’s greatest success and reward.
Now, this is not what I will deal with in this exposition. But rather, among other things, what is the price that we as members consciously or unconsciously pay in exchange for the benefits and advantages. Or to put it another way, how much do we value ourselves and to what extent do we cede our power to others, assuming certain toxic or abusive behavior on the part of the “authorities” or “superiors”, for having given priority to certain results or profits.
We will begin to note that within the set of political organizations that give so much life and charm to Dual Universe, we find very different ways in the nature and exercise of power; as well as in terms of structure, administration or internal functioning. However, this can also be said about business, industrial or other types of organizations. But this time (in this brief essay,) we will only focus on those organizations that have been named by their creators as nations, states, republics, kingdoms, federations, confederations, alliances, communities, and so on.
The relationship with power
Specifically, our approach -not without some irony- will be directed at the different classes of members and their relationship to power. Because as we know in most clans not all members have the same rights and duties. Nor do they receive the same treatment. “As it is in life, so it is in game”, we could say.
Even though there are as many permutations on the organizational structure as there are organizations, it holds true that each one of those organizations would fit into three major categories or paradigms. Or perhaps fall somewhere in between, combining elements of each category as a hybrid.
Naturally, the consideration of only three paradigms is simplistic out of necessity. Perhaps even arbitrary. We could certainly create many categories and subcategories, but it is not my intention to create an exhaustive list of all possible combinations. I am trying to draw a clear generalized picture, illuminating certain aspects or details about organizations. Details that might perhaps at first glance go unnoticed by many members of the Dual Universe community.
So, the fact of taking only three governmental paradigms and describing them very succinctly is only to the practical effects of expository clarity and economy in writing.
And just so we are clear. There is no value judgment here regarding these types of governmental systems. All are valid, because they -as I said before- constitute an offer that tries to cover the demands of the different types of players. And because it is a game, what the heck! A fun journey that can be experienced in many ways and from different points of view; a formidable virtual adventure where we can learn so much from the human race and from ourselves, in the best possible way: by playing.
Having said that, let’s go with the first one:
1. Paradigm of the Supreme Leader
This is one might be the most frequent in DU and corresponds to organizations whose highest leader (usually the founder) assumes and holds power in an autocratic and absolute or quasi absolute manner. Assuming “de facto” the role of dictator or tyrant within a system of a totalitarian state. Although much of it may be adorned with departments or organs, where sovereignty resides actually in the unquestioning supreme leader who, in broad lines, has the last word on everything. One might say this leader plays in “God mode”.
This supreme leader will enjoy the experience with the inestimable help of his close clique of admirers who surround and attend him, either in friendship, for convenience or to thrive. They are always chosen by hand, by the grand leader or by one of his main subordinates.
In this paradigm the remaining members of the organization, the subjects, lackeys or cheap labor are there mainly to comply with and fulfill the designs of the supreme leader. Benefiting in exchange for the protection, strength and opportunities offered by the organization as a whole. Which, in turn, allows them to act with respect to members of other clans in a way similar to their leader; with which they obviously have identified themselves for the majority to enjoy certain desired advantages… In exchange of losing their voice and vote in the important decisions that concern all members of the organization.
This does not seem very far from the “social contract” of Rousseau, right? Only here we have dispensed with the lustrous patina illustrated. For the rest, the statutes of the organization (if any) are irremovable, except if the sacrosanct will of the supreme leader determines some modification…
Needless to say that in this climate manipulation flows freer than wine. While transparency … I’m sorry, did someone say something about transparency?
An organization like this can nevertheless be as strong, rich and effective as any other, if it is well coordinated and directed. As long as its citizens feel more or less fulfilled.
2. Delegator Leader Paradigm
Another recurring theme in the virtual universe created by Novaquark. I find this type of government and organizational structure extremely interesting due to its contrasts, the tapestry of lights and shadows.
Here we yet again find a charismatic authority. A central figure of power and, unlike the previous paradigm, a well regulated delegation of power among its members; a systematized distribution of the functions among the different legates, where all of the members are, under certain equally regulated requirements, eligible for the different positions in the different areas of production, management and government.
That is to say the leader, like a Caesar Augustus within a system modeled mostly by him or herself, delegates or shares some of the power with the members of his organization, while ultimately and fundamentally still holding sovereignty. Thus, in the most advanced variants of this paradigm power is distributed and shared between the leader and those responsible for the administrative structure, which sometimes responds to the classic model of separation of powers: the legislative, executive and judicial branch of government.
In any case, whether it is a nation, a republican state or a monarchy, the group of members still has a clearly subordinate and passive role with respect to the governing powers of the organization. In this sense, it matters little that the citizens get to elect some legates every so often or on special occasions.
The citizens do not decide directly on the important matters that concern them. Matters they leave in the hands of their so-called representatives, who act with greater or lesser transparency. Because at the end of the day the average citizen is too busy with their own affairs. Usually in such a way that they usually don’t care about whether there is more or less transparency. And if they did they could send their “representatives” a legal request or proposal. “He who does not cry is not breastfed”, you know.
However all of this, together with a complex and growing bureaucracy, is commonly assumed as part of the “democratic game”. Without a doubt everyone is playing something there. Although it is not on equal terms. But everyone is free to call this democracy (etymologically, “people’s power”) for the simple fact that its citizens are periodically able to choose their representatives, who in turn will decide for them in matters that are relevant to them.
When the citizenry shows up in mass to these periodic elections, it is said that the nation enjoys good democratic health. One could also say that someone who makes love once every four years enjoys a healthy sex life. Well, let’s move on to the third paradigm.
3. Sovereign Community Paradigm
Finally, we can consider the rarest governmental type. Not only in Dual Universe but in any other game with guilds. For now I have only seen two cases that conform to this paradigm. One of them does not reach 40 members and another has less than five and it’s just the crew of a spaceship that hasn’t been built yet.
Its rareness has a lot to do with the fact that the special characteristics of this style of organization requires a certain maturity of the person. A certain interior disposition that neither books or seminars can give.
Only the own personal experience can do this. An extension of one’s own consciousness, where the intellectual information that one begins to understand in the head, goes down to the heart, to the feeling, through the personal or group experiences.
It’s at this point that the person who has begun to accept himself unconditionally, warts and all, begins to value himself more, treating himself better (good self-esteem). In the same way, he can then appreciate others and treat them as he would like to be treated. Or as he likes to treat himself. With respect, dignity and integrity. And because you are experiencing these things you can in turn project them to your fellows. Because you can not give what you do not have or, in other words, you can only give what you have or, better yet, what you are.
The application of this to an organization becomes clear and evident in signs like these: Community self-management, decentralized structure, equality of the members in the framework of a diversity of functions. Transparency, trust, cooperation or mutual aid. The decision making process of an assembly, where each member has one vote. Agreement by consensus.
Here the sovereignty resides completely in the group of members who, gathered in assembly, decide directly on the relevant topics of general interest, also choosing those members in charge of executing the popular mandate; fulfilling the will of the citizens as a whole and not the other way around, as in the previous paradigms.
Therefore, it is the government that is at the service of the people and not the other way around, as we see in so many organizations, no matter how much their leaders put forth the reasons and rationalizations of all kinds to justify their actions, while they calmly and cool headed talk about “democracy”. Even believing it.
Furthermore, in a community of the third paradigm, the members elected to carry out the assembly directives (and those elected by them) exercise their functions comfortably and freely within a basic procedural framework approved by the citizens in assembly.
So, again, the government (council, directorate etc.) is only an executive instrument directed by the people (sovereign), through assembly. That is to say, the people have ALL the power and the government just follows and applies the people’s will (or the people directives), within a given framework where legates and each branch can move freely to accomplish objectives.
The leader of such a community, a community we can call a fraternity or brotherhood, endowed with emotional intelligence and communicative skills, understands by experience that when you trust your fellow man and see him as an equal, treating people as you would treat yourself, this person tends to open up to you and willingly and enthusiastically give you the best of himself or herself. People then naturally channel their natural talents. That is when the attentive leader knows how to reward and stimulate him or her with words or actions. This produces a genuine loyalty which has nothing to do with control, pressure or manipulation.
Of course, all these characteristics of the third paradigm organization do not guarantee success by themselves. As much as these are advanced dynamics that require greater awareness, the individuals involved still walk like everyone else, learning by trial and error in the process. Just like any other organization.
However, when this group of humans are in tune with each other a natural synergy will result in experiences of fulfilment and enjoyment, that you won’t easily find in another type of organisation. This is well known to those who have experienced it. And it’s the closest thing to a close-knit well travelled family, where respect, understanding and unconditional service flow naturally. Where its members share from the heart and assist in good and bad times. Just because they love each other, willing to be there for each other for as long as they have to be.
Some provisional conclusions
It is obvious to many people that, given the special characteristics of a game like Dual Universe, it may take some time until the leader and his or her circle of trust can have clear evidence of the goodwill and loyalty of that member. Discarding the possibility that this member is an infiltrator from a rival organization.
It is the security risk of rival organizations in Dual Universe or in ”real life” that it becomes difficult for even the most intelligent and well intentioned leaders to consider that more advanced profile of government that is their initial vision. At other times it is possible that the available staff is the obstacle. There might not be enough harmony or collaboration to carry out the vision of the leader. And other times it is simply common sense or prudence to adopt one governmental style over another.
In any case, the facts surrounding the leaders and legates as well as the functioning of the entire organization, will speak for themselves about the nature and mood of said guild.
And the facts are already there, in front of us, telling us very relevant things, if we are willing to see.
Then, in regard to the status of members, a careful look easily reveals the following facts or dynamics, in most organizations:
Not all members have the same dignity or receive the same treatment. There are classes, castes, elites and plebeians, first class citizens, second class citizens and so on.
Irreflexive assumption, learned, normalized, of the hierarchical order and the presumed differences of value or dignity between one and other human beings.
Low levels of respect and toxic or abusive behavior within an organization are, to some extent, assumed to be normal and not especially problematic for people with low self-esteem. Who have somehow become accustomed to it.
Cession of power of many individuals to deposit it in the hands of a few. Who are seen as stronger, more powerful or more capable. Personal disempowerment in exchange for advantages or benefits.
The statutes and constitutions of organizations are usually filled with more or less pompous and solemn articles about the rights and freedoms of the members. However, the meaning and value or real role that they are given in the organization varies from leader to leader, from legate to legate and from member to member.
This sounds to you, someway?
Many cultural, sociological and psychological implications can be extracted from such apparently normal or common dynamics or decisions. And surely our approach and experience in the game can be revised and improved, so we can better enjoy our time in DU (and maybe in life too). There is abundant material to reflect on. Now that we still fly (at the time of this writing), sweetly asleep in our cotton space beds, there in the cryotubes, on our way to Alioth.
So we could ask ourselves, how much does the organization to which one belongs to (and the position one occupies in it) say about oneself? Why do we attract certain attitudes and not others?
To what extent do these various roles of leader, legates and members reflect the desires or achievements of the people who breathe life into the character?
While we throw these questions in the air, I find it appropriate to remember a phrase from the famous film “Cross of Iron”, that the peculiar and irreducible Sargeant Steiner dropped a presumed superior: “A man is generally what he feels himself to be.”
I’d like to thank Masteredred, leader of Diverse Unified Accord, because my talks with him inspired me to write this essay. Also special thanks to Falstaf for his splendid labor in idiomatic issues, to make this text better and easier to read; and the entire team of Outpost Zebra, this magical “Land of OZ”, for they make it possible that you can read articles like this in such an open and friendly environment. Equally, I want to mention the good role that the Dual Universe Historical Society is playing, facilitating this type of writings. receiving the attention they deserve from a growing and enthusiastic audience, here in Dual Universe and beyond.