Game Components:

BRICs = BRAZIL, RUSSIA, INDIA, CHINA: the grouping acronym used in Economics to describe the top global related economies in ascension. According to experts, by 2050 their combined economies will surpass the combined economies of the richest countries in the world (G7). Note that the BRIC countries are extremely different from each other with very distinctive cultures and challenges and therefore do not seek a political alliance based on commonalities but instead procure to establish a co-op, just like the one we all had in high-school, where we could borrow and exchange tools and skills in order to build things made from wood that wind up in our mother’s basements. Anyway, these mighty four will indeed very soon hit us like a ton of brics [sic].

Dionysian-Apollonian principles: Dionysus and Apollo are sons of Zeus (the king of all Gods) in Greek mythology and they each represent a set of governing principles of natural behavior and creation of any sort. It can be inferred that both sets of characteristics (see chart below) are the basis of conflict in every living system. Dionysus ever escaping from the forms that Apollo is ever creating for him. And it is just this unceasing conflict that is the essence of life itself; life is conflict. Dionysus without Apollo would be unmanifest pure energy. Apollo without Dionysus would be dead, inert. Each is necessary to the other, but in active opposition; for, as stage by stage the play proceeds, Apollo must build continually more beautiful, more enduring forms, which Dionysus, in turn, must continually surmount and transcend. (Orage, 1906: p35). Therefore, in a heightened sense these two are not necessarily functioning in contradiction to each other, but rather as complimentary forces to enable a life of balance. This conflict is considered vital in the birth of tragedy, as proposed by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who liked a good drama with a spike of humor.


Simpler guideline to help understand the game and reflect upon the balance or imbalance of work and play, duty and freedom:

MUST=Apollonian...discipline and order...mind and system.

WANT=Dionysian...release of pent-up energy and tensions.

The game concept behind this competition: By examining the governing principles contained in the Dionysian and the Apollonian models, I seek to analyze which of the four countries in the BRIC group will win the cup of economic supremacy by their attaining a life of balance while achieving economic success. Although these countries seek an alliance of sorts with each other, they are of course competing for the top honor, otherwise why would any head of state rise every morning?

*This competition was inspired by the World Cup of soccer which drives soccer fans like myself crazy every four years, and since I don’t play soccer I had to extravert the pent-up energy in some other way, because sometimes watching the game is not enough, I had to create my own!


Vanessa Ramos Velasquez
BRIC-ball is a bit like soccer but with a different team formation. There’s not necessarily a goal keeper for example.

As far as the Dionysian vs. Apollonian conflict, according to Nietzsche, a deprivation of one force leads to a reduction in the other. In a similar way, the two forces mutually add to each other - an increase in one force leads to an increase in the other. Hence the following rules:

Each country places their two teams on the field [Dionysian (d), and Apollonian (a)], to either battle each other, or to form one big cluster that plays well together and advances with a happy and workable balance to battle another country’s team cluster when any other BRIC team achieves that formation.

‘d’ and ‘a’ teams can have a maximum of 5 players each, thus representing the totality of 100% if they reach a fully successful cluster team by balancing their Dionysian or Apollonian characteristics in a 5d x 5a score.

The playing field is highly conceptual in its design and keeps changing requiring a concerted effort from the players to keep their focus amidst the fluidity of this game.

There’s a ball on the field, and it’s square with dots on each of the 6 sides, but the teams are only able to discover what to do with it once they reach a  5 x 5 balance between ‘d’ and ‘a’ characteristics. It’s only then they’re capable of forming the mighty cluster to effectively go forward with their grand game plan.

Collective red and yellow cards are given for bad performance. Among worst offenses are stalling the game and tearing each other to bits due to undiplomatic skills on the field. Bribing the referee is allowed as long as no one sees it.

Under a very special circumstance called the “Golden Move”, a player can achieve his/her own 5dx5a score and be counted as double player. Thus, if every player of a country makes a Golden Move, that cluster can be playing at a 200% capacity!!!

And please note it is a misconception that the Dionysian team is 100% made of women. Just as it is wrong to assume the Apollonian team is 100% composed of male players. Therefore, attaining the Golden Move of a personal 5dx5a score does not relate to gender or sexuality. Teams can form with any male/female ratio, and shemales are welcome too. Gay players count as one full player unless their country’s military system doesn’t allow them to enlist. That would be a shame since this is a Greek-based game system and everyone in ancient Greece was encouraged to be gay. But then again that was only because the Greek males were very Apollonian by nature and believed that to be the norm in order to avoid female company’s disruptive powers. But we moderns know that women are not the cause of destruction, “Mother Nature/Gaya” is an “It”, not a “She”. So for the sake of reaching a balance, everyone should just be who they are, so they can have more fun on the field and effectively progress with the game.

A team can also score a point by the way they celebrate having just scored a point. But knowing when to stop the tomfoolery to go back to business is equally important as players/teams who go on endlessly with their bacchanalia could end up getting a yellow or even a red card for stalling the game, as aforementioned.

I could be the referee of BRIC-Ball if I wanted to play God, but I should just defer this honorable duty to Zeus himself, whom I assume will be totally neutral as parents are not supposed to pick a favorite child. Thus Apollo and Dionysus spirits can compete freely on the playing field without any Freudian complexes.

If Zeus gets sick and is unable to arbiter the game, Nietzsche could step right in. If he has a tough time deciding a game result he’s allowed to call a friend, maybe Camille Paglia although it’s not known if they keep in touch.

The BRIC-Ball Cup sponsors could mirror the B*IC official sponsors of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa: the Chinese solar power energy giant Yingly Solar, the mighty Indian consulting business Mahindra Satyam, and the loaded Brazilian food product chain Seabra. No *Russian company sponsored the 2010 World Cup, but for the BRIC-Ball Cup they should pitch in as well, otherwise they may not get invited to the after-party.

A preliminary analysis of each country’s characteristics:

Brazil has made a lot of progress since the Darth Vaders of dictatorship when the population expected very little, were promised nothing and received even less. But not all was miserable...Brazilians had a fabulous Dionysian dictator: João Figueiredo. Who could forget his rich tan face and impeccably bald lustrous head talking on TV, interrupting the soap operas to convince the population of the great progress toward a democratic state? He even allowed the brilliant brains in exile to form a line and return to the country. And the young generation celebrated his Dionysian ways, or at least his effort in balancing his life forces, as well the country’s, by naming a disco dance move after him. I bet Figueiredo wore fishnet tights under his crisp military uniform. Ah, they don’t make repression like that anymore, he’s dead now so he cannot play BRIC-Ball, otherwise he’d be close to a “5dx5a” ideal player. Perhaps China can hire someone like him to help in their transition team when they’re ready.

In this economic game, Brazil and Russia are tasked with supplying raw materials. They both have so much oil that their citizens could bathe in it every day, if that’s what made them cleaner. That would actually be a good exercise of achieving a 5dx5a score. Except one shouldn’t play with their precious resources. Being frugal is a good Apollonian characteristic, just like when we’re told to respect our piggy bank and not break into it to buy candy any time we feel like it. If feels great eating sweets but when the bellyache sets in and we’re on the dentist chair the Dionysian tooth doesn’t feel so good anymore.

In general, providing raw materials to humanity shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Brazil, natural-born-givers that they are. However it would benefit them to realize at some point that if they give too much (all for fair-market price of course) they could wind up totally naked, which would be very Dionysian. The warm temperatures in that country enable its population to be very comfortable with very little (a very Apollonian ability), but c’mon what happens when they realize they have given away their own pants? As the saying goes in Brazil, “you cannot undress one saint to clothe another!” So hold on tight to your natural resources Brazil! They should find a way to sell beauty, it’s a natural resource that costs nothing to output, with only the cost of marketing as an investment and yielding very high profit margins. Brazilians have in fact taken a hint of such market demand by realizing the first beauty watchers washed upon their shores more than 500 hundred years ago, enthralled with so many pretty ladies walking about the jungles “au naturel”, the pau-brasil trees, the idyllic islands with hammocks to lay on and watch the sunsets. But this time Brazil is saying “bring cash!”. By this token, Brazil should increase tourism to maximize their earning potential: exporting a great vibe and the beauty of the land does not require cargo ships. See related topic below on selling things that cost little to produce, weigh next to nothing and can be made with minimal effort*

As far as Russia, they are known for tough raw stuffs, such as raw minerals that fuel heavy industries. That makes sense, after all Russia is also famous for great boxers, sambo fighters and the constructivist art style, all super chunky stuff. Ah yes, and their drama is also extremely heavy, just look at the Russian Army Theater for example. These people definitely don’t tread lightly, very gravid in spirit with tight economical smiles. When they do try to be funny like Gogol, sometimes they must seek exile. Domestically, their sense of humor is a bit twisted like the cab driver who was taking a friend of mine to the airport in Moscow. The driver turns to the back seat and at gun-point midway through the trip demands that she hand over all her belongings, but kindly offered to continue driving her to SVO to catch her flight. Hah super! Heavy fun indeed. Very hard to describe if that’s a Dionysian or Apollonian inclination, maybe both.

The problem with exporting heavy stuff though is the price of the cargo, the costly effects on the environment and the piracy in the high oceans of the Pacific. A proposed solution* is to export Dionysian light things that cost equal or more than heavy Apollonian iron, like what France does by exporting little bottles of perfume for a small fortune. This product also doubles as deodorant for people who like to avoid Dionysian baths and showers, preferring instead an Apollonian quick spray to keep them on Apollonian schedules while smelling Dionysiously delicious. And everything surrounding this perfume business is so finessed and minimalistic. Skinny models in tight gowns or butt-naked (depending on the Dionysian liberation level of the country), shirtless men, a little good smelling spritz into the hair and the air and voilá, rich industry! The Chinese, experts in “the art of emulation” have demonstrated a very effective way of appropriating this business model. If you’d like to discover their emulations, you can find them at the finest Chinatowns of any large city.

Which brings us to China and India, being tasked with supplying manufacturing and service. But if the Chinese want to compete in the service industry they could use a little practice, because so far they favor the chill vibe of Bahia, the laziest state of Brazil, where you order a drink and it gets served about two hours later.

At first look, China would seem the strongest contender, with enough of a population to deploy workers for every country if physically exporting people was an advantage. The U.S. for example is very happy anytime a Chinese escapes to one of its fine institutions of higher learning. But the Chinese government values their citizens so much that the international travel allowance for the Chinese population is still very stingy. So instead, they stay home and produce most of the world’s goods. But with their ascension of huge amounts of people into the middle class, the newly acquired buying power will in fact enable this massive group to buy the affordable cars they now make. If you have already breathed the ‘bicycle air of Beijing’, imagine inhaling the futuristic automobilistic clouds! Without lungs to spare and the increase in junk food consumption (a growing trend of modern Chinese life), the country will go into a health crisis and their population could be decimated by illnesses never before seen. Painting all the houses yellow to reinforce the Chinese “Harmonious” living will not prevent that terrible fate.

India on the other end has been used to pure chaos all along. Nothing seems to faze the Indians. If you’ve ever had to wait for the sacred cows to cross the roads before your driver can weave thru traffic in death-defying Dionysian maneuvers, you’ve got a glimpse of how they roll. But India is also really strong with research and development and their manufacturing sector produces a high number of IT brains, perhaps due to the custom of raising babies playing with king cobra snakes. What a nice way to start the day, these babies know how to live! These infants lose their fears very early on while acquiring the precious habit of knowing when to cut their losses. Two very important abilities in developing a technological mind. And of course this is a very good way to learn the balance of Dionysian and Apollonian principles. Thrills and Control!

Without much further ado, and Socratic Realism be damned, these players are ready to let it all out. Let the vuvuzelas drown out the mouthpiece of Euripides and we’ll see what comes from this very competitive game.

Vanessa Ramos Velasquez


Brazil enters the field and everyone is already cheering! Of course they are, look at all the beautiful and super talented Dionysian players, especially Gisele Bündchen (who actually has become more Apollonian since marrying and having a baby). But the crowd goes a bit silent when the Apollonians enter the field. The fans don’t know these players very well. With the exception of Kaká, the soccer player who belongs to Jesus, to his wife, and to AC Milan (this one for cash), these suited Apollonians have a very Dionysian side to them and are quite often entangled in some “things” highly featured on the news cycle. The two sides shake hands awkwardly but soon relax when one of the Apollonians invites the whole team and the referee for a barbeque afterwards. BBQ’ing is a Brazilian national sport favored equally by both Dionysian and Apollonian peoples.


When the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. and IMF volunteered the tip of economic shock-therapy to literally shock Russia into a market economy. Yeltsin must have sent a greeting card to them saying “Gee, thanks so f*#king much for your opinions”. A mantra still repeated by Putin every time he licks the envelope containing a check payable to the IMF. So, after the American Trojan Horse sent Russia into a further tail spin of an economic crash in the ‘90s, Russians have had a tough time discerning what’s Dionysian and what’s Apollonian. Proof of that is their hastily assembled team to play BRIC-Ball... for the sake of privacy let’s call this team the “elite”. It claims to have 5 players on each side but no one is allowed to investigate.


Had India had a soccer team, they’d be more used to the worldly festivity in the stands and acquiesce to BRIC-Ball fans. But that’s ok, they make up for the shortcoming with extremely festive spicy food. They have made an enormous contribution to the world since the spice trade over 500 years ago! So let’s give them a break lest some countries still be eating royally insipid food and only get Kentucky Fried Chicken after 10pm. Their Dionysian team is composed of film industry giants, while the Apollonians are telephone operators with impeccable English language skills.


It enters the field with 10 Apollonian players. When asked to obey the game rules and bring out 5 Dionysians and take out 5 Apollonians they start a fight with the referee. The 10 Apollonians finally convince Zeus to let the game go on as is by stating they ate 10 Dionysians before the game, a form of integration, and not to worry too much as those 10 Dionysians were all babies. Karl Marx, who up until now was just watching the spectacle in silence, can’t contain his anger and shouts out from the stands to the Chinese Apollonians they are messing up the game big time and totally misrepresenting the system. Zeus fears a backlash from all sides and surreptitiously lets the game go on as is, hoping the smog will dissipate without much notice*. *Some countries do notice the smog but as of yet don’t know what to do. They think not cleaning up after one’s own mess is infuriating, just like when the neighbor’s dog poops on their sidewalk and it doesn’t get cleaned. They really want to complain but have to consider the dog owner’s retaliation, who could for example no longer lend them the lawn-mower or let their kids come over to play.

Go to the next round...

Round 1 - Round 2 - Round 3 - Round 4 - FINALE






















Friday, June 11, 2010: Birth of BRIC-Ball



















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