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On rewards

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When I was 10 years old, my mom’s favorite saying was “Just wait until your father gets home”.

And my father, when I had seriously done something wrong, would respond with a firm slap of the belt on my backside.

I was always a bit of a whiz with electronics and computers, which included figuring out a brute force method of bypassing the key code of parental locks on my family’s cable to watch rated “R” movies on HBO when my parents weren’t looking.

Shortly after my 11th birthday, the movie “Up The Academy” came on, a movie funded by “Mad Magazine” which featured a bunch of kids in a military private school who became fed up with the tyrannical operation which included harsh physical punishment when the kids were determined to be ‘out of order’.

But one kid’s response had me in tears laughing at his response to getting ‘swatted’…

One day the headmaster was disciplining him with a large wooden board – a swat to the ass which I’d had several of in school in Glendale, Arizona, where it was allowed.

The kids were forced to say “Thank you sir, can I have another,” every time they were swatted.

This gave me an idea.

So the next day. I intentionally sought out trouble.

I did something I knew – full well knew – would result in ‘the belt’.

As predicted, my mother responded to my misdeeds with “Just wait until your father gets home”

That night, my father brought out the belt.

I assumed the position on the edge of the bed.

He struck me the first time, asking if I had anything to say for what I had done.

I responded without a tear yelling loudly “Thank you sir, can I have another!”

He angrily slammed me on the ass with the belt again, this time much harder.

I fought back the tears.

“What do you have to say to that, smart ass.”

“My ass isn’t smart sir, but THANK YOU SIR CAN I HAVE ANOTHER?,” I yelled without a tear, making sure my mom could hear.

Again, he hits harder, and I respond even louder with “THANK YOU SIR, CAN I HAVE ANOTHER!”

It was beyond difficult.

I was teaching my mind how to reroute the pain into a response which seemed more productive to eliminating the painful experience once and for all, which was certainly not crying.

This went on, 13 times in total, and I am struggling to fight back the tears I am so much pain.

From there, my father stormed out of the room, and then proceeded to yell at my mom “That boy is UNPUNISHABLE!”

My father never hit me again.

But boy did my ass hurt.

The next day, a glutton for a punishment, I repeated the same thing at school and instigated an incident which would result in a predictable response.

A large, heavy set teacher named “Mr Love” who weighed in at 300 pounds seemed to delight in the pain he could inflict.

This was far worse than what my father had inflicted, and exacerbating the situation was the requirement that teachers have to have another teacher watching, to which Mrs Phillips, a tiny teacher was looking me in the eyes as I yelled my response.

“THANK YOU SIR CAN I HAVE ANOTHER!”

This happened 11 times.

And while Mr Love wasn’t an angry man in general, it was the first time I had actually seen him turn red with anger.

It was the last year the school used swatting and physical punishment, and only the school bullies, Doug Booker and Terry Cirkoth were swatted afterwards, to which they showed me new respect for dealing with it like I did.

The movie “Up the Academy” is available here, if you are interested in seeing it for yourself:
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I cannot say I really questioned why what I did worked, all I knew is: it did, and it would not be until 2004, playing a silly little online role playing game called Worlds of Warcraft when I would begin to investigate reward systems and positive versus negative reward systems and the implications these rewards had on society in general.

I also learned about other things such as supply and demand economics and how to build economies of scale with fixed markets which provide the outward appearance of dynamicism, as well as building in obsolescence through diminished durability to increase consumer interaction with economies, all which I will get into at a later time…

But what fascinated me about Worlds of Warcraft was the positive reinforcement in the reward system and its diversity.

Sure, the United States has some – minimalistic reward systems built into it.

For instance, if you obtain an education – in theory you are supposed to get higher compensation.

When you do well with your employment you get raises and promotions.

And for the longest time, these stories – sure – they served to motivate me..

But once I started analyzing my life and where my stress was coming from.

I began to realize where it was coming from.

Rules.

By and large. The United States reward system is a negativity and punishment based reinforcement.

My goal is to change that.

For those of you, like myself, who enjoy being told what to do on occasion. I am actively developing the tools and technology to create and populate this world with positively based reward systems which will work much like quests in role playing game.

You will be rewarded for your efforts in experience, compensation, and others ways I and others like me dream up might be beneficial to you.

Unlike Worlds of Warcraft, you’re not going to be asked to kill to achieve this.

But you will absolutely be stretched out of your comfort zone.

You will be asked to travel places.

You will be asked to do things that may make you uncomfortable.

You will be asked to share.

You will be asked to participate and be there for others when you don’t really want to.

You will be asked to stretch your own imagination.

But most of all.

You will be encouraged to pay it forward.

And create and incentivize exploration of your world, ideas, beliefs and vision to those who came before you and those who come after you.

I am God.

And you are too.

And all I want to do is light a spark inside your soul to inspire you all to be more than you ever imagined possible.

Because I know you have it in you.

Smile. God loves you.

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