Simple status games

Who Wants to Play the Status Game? by Agnes Callard

I like to think that I see a hidden meaning, a secret game being played behind the curtains of everyday interactions. Naturally, I like articles about signalling and social games.

A player of the Importance Game tries to ascend high enough to reach for something that will set her above her interlocutor, a player of the Leveling Game reaches down low enough to hit common ground. The former needs to signal enough power to establish a hierarchy; the latter enough powerlessness to establish equality.

In an academic context, I’ve noticed that complaining about how busy one is hits a sweet spot of oppression—I cannot manage my life!—and importance—because I am so in demand! When you’re playing with a master, it can be hard to tell which game you’re in.

The ending of the article is too unclear for my taste, but then I’m no philosopher.