The following is an excerpt from Surviving:
The Best Game on Earth
(Norie Huddle, Schocken Books, 1984). In the conclusion
of this book of
interviews, Norie tells the story of how she got the idea for The Best
Game on Earth.
Looking back at the long road I have come in writing
this book and
digesting all of the insights and ideas people have so generously
offered me, I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel in
front of me. Each person who shared with me thoughtfully and honestly
has enriched my life and vision. Rather than my work being tiring and
debilitating, I am increasingly refreshed by the growing vision I\'ve
been piecing together and by the knowledge that in our essence we do
hunger for the same things. It is my conviction that we can vastly
accelerate the pace of the transformation as more of us begin to ask
"impertinent questions" and as we more consciously contribute our
and resources wherever we find ourselves.
Wherever our new path leads us, the act of walking
together must be
filled with love and celebration, for only that will inspire us to
continue and to make the breakthroughs we need in every area of human
consciousness and endeavor. Indeed as the following story about my
Soviet friend Yuri Antipov illustrates, I believe that integrity, love
and celebration will be the most effective way to reach and "disarm,"
a more profound sense, the Soviet Union. After all, as Christ told us,
we should love our enemies: it is only when our enemies have truly
become our friends and we have discovered we share a common vision that
we can vanquish the specter of fear that separates us from one another.
As Tony Buzan put it, "This doesn\'t mean there won\'t be any more
problems, but it will be far more enjoyable solving them."
When I first met Yuri, a group of five of us (four
Americans and Yuri)
spent several hours one evening in New York City talking about
and our countries and beliefs. This was my first opportunity to talk in
any depth with a Soviet citizen. Toward the end of the evening I leaned
forward and said with intensity, "Look, you have your dialectical
materialism: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Today your country has
some good qualities and some things that don\'t work very well; the
is true for my country. What we need to do is to look together honestly
at how we can make both of our countries and all of the countries of
world work better. We need to select the best from all that the world
has to offer."
"You know, Norie," he said, withdrawing slightly, "you
believe in your
way so much that it makes me more powerful than me. I am a little bit
afraid of you."
"Don\'t be afraid of me, please, " I said anxiously. "You are my
brother, Yuri, and those aren\'t just words. We really do have to work
together, otherwise I\'m very afraid we won\'t survive."
"You are right. You are right. We must talk. We must
talk more," he
said. Shortly thereafter our first meeting ended.
Several moths later, as Alison and I were starting on
our long journey
around America, some friends organized a farewell party in New York
City. Yuri was invited. He arrived somewhat late, arms folded tightly
over his chest and a frown on his face. He didn\'t respond to my
"What\'s the matter, Yuri?" I asked. "Did you have a bad
day at the
He ignored my question and burst out, "The problem is
that nobody is
real. Everybody is phony. They are all wearing masks to cover up who
they really are."
My immediate response was utter grief, and I burst into
not true. I\'m real, and you\'re real when you\'re not saying dumb
like that—And everyone here is real." One of my friends handed me a
handkerchief, jerked his head in my direction, and said to Yuri,
real, all right."
Yuri was immediately apologetic. "I\'m sorry, Norie,
I\'m sorry—I didn\'t
mean to hurt your feelings. But you must understand how difficult it is
to be a Soviet citizen living in your country. Everybody hates me just
because I am from the Soviet Union."
"I don\'t hate you," I wiped my eyes with the
handkerchief and blew my
nose, feeling a bit awkward for the tears. "Nobody here hates you. You
are our brother. As I told you, we\'ve got to work together."
We patched things up, drank a toast to friendship, and
had a wonderful
party, telling jokes about our countries and ourselves, and generally
breaking through to a new dimension of mutual appreciation. Toward the
end of the evening, Yuri suddenly leaned back on the couch and started
laughing at some inner joke.
"Okay, brother, what\'s so funny?" I demanded, smiling.
His laughter was
infectious. "Share it!"
"You know, Norie," he was still laughing and struggling
to express his
words, "it would be such a pity if we destroyed each other: we\'re so
And that was when I realized that creating this sort of
each moment seeking to be absolutely real with each other and committed
to each other\'s well-being, is truly the Best Game on Earth. This
genuine sharing is the only thing that will keep us from destroying
other and ourselves. Yuri is right: in our fundamental being, we are
nice. And when we are not, it seems to be because the customs and
institutions which shape us have suppressed and distorted our natural
tendency toward wholeness and aliveness. Although we have been
adjusting our institutional structures in accordance with gradual
changes in our customs and understanding, we have reached a moment when
we need to stop and take fresh stock of who we are, where we are going,
and how we will get there. In doing this, each one of us has a unique
set of experiences, perceptions and abilities—gifts we can choose to
contribute toward making our nation and the world more secure,
harmonious and beautiful.
The people whose voices you have heard through these
only a tiny fraction of what is available to us in the collective
of the people—in the United States and throughout the world. Today, the
telecommunications revolution has "conveniently" brought us television,
computers, telephones, and a host of other tools to assist us in
up with one another into a vast network of unified consciousness—a
planetary nervous system." We can begin, on a national and a global
scare, to redefine and link up both our images of ourselves and our
world, as well as of our goals, our visions, and our ideas for how to
achieve these. Everything we need is in place or being created; what
most of us have lacked is the broad outline of the vision.
It is this great gathering, this coming together in a
spirit of global
communion and cooperation to create the new rules and new game plan
I have chosen to call the "Best Game on Earth." Only a life-game with
the overarching goal of supporting each of us to bring forth our
wholeness and well-being will be powerful and enjoyable enough to keep
us from destroying each other and ourselves: in an oppressive,
illusion-filled world, death looks attractive to that part of our being
which longs for peace. The only kind of "life-game" which can lift us
beyond our "collective death wish" is one whose goal is to create a new
world in which we can genuinely realize our desire for peace and for
This process requires the efforts of all of us—idealists
radicals and conservatives and the apolitical, rich and poor—motivated
to "leave the trail better than we found it." As we share our visions,
passions, experiences and insights and our love with one another, we
weave the multicolored threads to create a new cloth. This in turn will
bring inspiration and renewal to the poor, the hungry, the sick, and
dispirited for, as Richard Falk points out, "The most important
statement we can make in creating a new world order is what we each do
with our own lives. This has a contagious effect."
In the Best Game on Earth, all of us—all nations, races,
ages, and systems of belief—are valuable players. Each of us can make a
critical difference in shaping our collective future. And my own
experience has taught me that the more whole-heartedly we participate
and give, the more we receive and the more joyful The Game becomes.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness
has genius, power and magic in it.