Pisces Game Reflective Essay

Pisces Game Reflective Essay Writing your essay while your experiences are fresh in your mind, but after thoroughly reading this guide.

Context:

Sustainability has been identified as one of the global grand challenges of the 21st century. In order for future generations to enjoy a satisfactory quality of life, the current generation must find ways to meet humanity’s needs for energy, shelter, food and water in ways that are environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.

Participating in the Pisces Game has allowed you to confront first-hand the ethical problems associated with the Tragedy of the Commons as explained in the recent blog posts. Hopefully your personal experience has helped you identify the moral implications involved when facing such issues and develop your own opinions regarding how to deal with common pool resources.

Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to encourage deep personal reflection regarding the experience of the Pisces Game as it relates to CEE 300, engineering ethics, and sustainability.

Research/Sources:

1. Pisces Game experience, and instructional materials at actionethics.com

2. Online lectures on Tragedy of Commons

Audience: You can assume the reader has a general understanding of the Pisces game. You should also operate with the assumption that any member of the instructional team is your audience–thus please remember that your paper must reflect the concepts that we have been discussing in this class.

Assignment: Your assignment is to write a personal reflective essay regarding your Pisces Game experience. This essay is an opportunity for you to reflect on the Pisces Game as it relates to several important questions that you will have to answer for yourself during your education and throughout your career as an engineer. You do not need to explain the mechanics of the Pisces game in your essay, unless it is relevant to a point you are trying to make. You can assume the reader has a general understanding of the Pisces game. When writing your essays, please consider ALL of the following factors:

Morals

Here are some elements to consider in addressing the engineering ethics implications of the Pisces Game.

• What obligations do you have to other students? How is this influenced (or not) by their own actions and circumstances?

• What personal sacrifices are you willing to make to meet those obligations and why? Did your actions in the Pisces Game reflect your personal convictions regarding such obligations, or were they motivated by other factors?

• Would things change outside of a game setting and why?

Ethical Expectations

Thinking back to your original expectations regarding the Pisces game, consider the following questions. • What were the roles of expectations and communication in the Pisces Game? • When did you face difficult moral decisions, and how did you address them?

Fairness

The setup of the game is admittedly and purposefully unfair, but YOUR reaction was up to you. This question is NOT about the fairness of the game itself, but rather about your interaction with it. • Were your actions intended to bring about a fair outcome from an unfair situation, or were they mainly out of self-interest? Did you accomplish your intended goals? Why or why not? • What, if anything, would you change about how you played?

Engineering Canons and Sustainability

You should be familiar with the various ethics principles related to the fundamental canons of engineering. You may also have some familiarity with sustainability principles. If not, this is an excellent opportunity to find out more about them.

• Relate the Pisces Game to the canons of engineering ethics and principles of sustainability

• How do the lessons from the Pisces Game match expectations for engineers? Describe how your actions reflected these expectations or differed from them.

• Explain how you reacted to any moral issues in the Pisces Game which the canons did not provide the “right” answer for, or explain how you drew upon these canons for guidance in confronting moral issues not explicitly addressed by them.

Advice for Future Students

At the end of your essay, you will have an opportunity to include advice intended for future players of the Pisces Game. Imagine yourself before playing the Pisces Game – what advice would you provide?

• What recommendations or warnings would have helped you the most?

• How can you help future players succeed? Is success important?

• What did you learn about yourself? Does that match the advice you’re giving?

Although you are not required to answer each question listed here, address the topics listed, including: “Morals,” “Ethical Expectations,” “Fairness,” “Engineering Canons and Sustainability,” and “Advice.” Style: When drafting your reflective essays, use the first person (“I think…,”) and discuss the emotions that accompanied your experience (“I felt…”). You should discuss other students in parts of your essay, but only as they relate to your personal experience in the Pisces Game.

Grading: Your reflective essay will be worth 100 XP points.

High quality reflective essays will display the following qualities:

• Demonstrates understanding of ethics concepts relevant to the Pisces Game. You should refer to ethics concepts explained in blog posts, class discussions and videos or readings to support your essay.

• Shows evidence that the writer is attuned to his or her own action and the ways in which others affect his or her behavior.

• Your essay should convey to the reader that you understand the complexity of the issues involved and can speak with authority regarding them, without alienating the reader (e.g., incorporating references, using correct terminology, and writing with confidence).

• Provides personal insights into salient ethical issues raised by the Pisces Game. A great deal of personal reflection is required for this essay, and the product of such reflection should be evident in your essay.

• Communicates clearly and effectively in a concise, but thorough manner.

Assignment Guidelines:

  1. Due on critiviz. (Submissions via e-mail and Box will not be accepted). Critiques will not be part of this assignment, as this is a personal reflection and will remain private from other students. Critviz settings allow private assignment submission, which is what this assignment uses.
  2. Length: Part of your professionalization is learning to express a great deal of information in a limited space. In light of this, your essay should be between approximately 1000-1200 words.
  3. Filename convention: Please save your document as follows: first initial last name_PGReflection (example: JSmith_PGReflection)

6 thoughts on “Pisces Game Reflective Essay

  1. Brittany Hunter

    i will be doing a personal reflection on the Baltimore Riots that are currently going on

    Baltimore Riots
    I will be doing a reflection on the Baltimore riots, as of today Baltimore has declared a state of emergency. People of Baltimore have taken matters into their own hands. This all began with the death of Freddie Gray. His death was caused by a spinal cord injury. However it is said he did not receive proper medial care while in the custody of Baltimore Police. There are still many pieces missing to this case but that doesn’t give people the right to cause mayhem in the streets of Baltimore.
    My first impression was how could people get to this point; where they are setting fires and attacking innocent people. Now the city is on a curfew they must be inside by ten o’clock or get arrested. Schools have been shut down which children’s education is suffering. Those that are participating in the riots are only creating problems for the people in their community. This not a form of advocating this is only stupidity at its best. I learn more each day as I have been following this matter. However I cannot empathize with the people of Baltimore. I feel the people are portraying the bystander effect. All it took was someone to act out in public to spark this and its evolved into something that now has the president’s attention.
    Prior to all this a young man did lose his life however that does not give anyone the right to act in a way they have been acting. The president has made it clear that an investigation into the man death will be taken place. If his death was caused by not receiving proper medical care I feel those who are responsible will be given the sentence they deserve. Until than the people should not keep creating a bigger mess that the taxpayer will eventually have to pay for.

    Reply
    1. Thomas P Seager

      This one is more complicated for me than you make it, Brittany.

      Black men are being systematically murdered by white police. That’s not new. That’s been going on for hundreds of years.

      But now we have better evidence of the brutality than ever before. So people are mad, and many of them feel they have nothing left to lose.

      I’d rather that these protests were non-violent. I agree with you about the fact that these protests are hurting innocent people and increasing, rather than reducing costs.

      But just like I agree that police brutality does not “give anyone the right o act in a way they have been acting,” neither do I feel I have the right to criticize or judge. I don’t live in Baltimore and the fact is I never gave a crap about those neighborhoods until the riots put it on the news. Maybe you’ve lived there and you know the communities better than me. Speaking for myself, I can’t say I understand what their lives are like. I won’t judge, because I’ve never been there.

      If you’re willing to revise your essay, write more about yourself and less about others. How do the images of Baltimore make you feel? It makes me sad, of course. And I don’t like feeling sad.

      Reply
      1. Brittany Hunter

        Baltimore Riots
        I will be doing a personal reflection on the Baltimore riots, as of today Baltimore has declared a state of emergency, which I was surprised to hear. I cannot imagine being in the middle of the people who are fighting and who are trying to protect their city. People of Baltimore have taken matters into their own hands and I don’t think this will solve anything. It’s like trying to get attention by acting out for instance when I was younger I would act out in school to be a cool kid but as I got older I realized doing the best in school gets me the attention I was looking for.
        These riots began with the death of Freddie Gray when I found out he died it did make me a little upset because there is an ongoing controversy with the police and African Americans being killed by white police officers. It was sad to hear he did not get proper medial care while in the custody of Baltimore Police. If this would have happened to my family member I would be angry but I would not start a fight. However, My uncle was hit and killed by a car I feel the detectives are not doing their job to find his murder. I know I need to be patience and pray they are doing their job. There are still many pieces missing to this Freddie Grey’s case but that doesn’t give people the right to cause mayhem in the streets of Baltimore. My uncle’s case is not in my hands so in the case of Freddie Grey’s death it is pointless to cause these riots since it now in the prosecutor’s hands.
        One of my impressions was how could people get to this point; where they are setting fires and attacking innocent people. Schools have been shut down now children’s educations are suffering which is very important to me. No one should take away from another’s education. Those that are participating in the riots are only creating problems for the people in their community. This is not a form of advocating this is only stupidity at its best. I learn more each day as I have been following this matter. However I cannot empathize with the people of Baltimore. I feel the people are portraying the bystander effect. All it took was someone to act out in public to spark this and its evolved into something that now has the president’s attention.
        Prior to all this a young man did lose his life however that does not give anyone the right to act out. The president has made it clear that an investigation into the man’s death will be taken place which makes me feel like something will get done and people will be held accountable. If his death was caused by not receiving proper medical care I feel those who are responsible will be given the sentence they deserve. Until then I feel the rioters should not keep creating a bigger mess that the taxpayer will eventually have to pay for. This makes me upset that people can be so arrogant. However we cannot control people we can only control our own actions.

        Reply
  2. Patrick O'Leske (@soccerp93)

    Addendum 2 Personal Reflection
    Reflecting on my actions in the Pisces Game, I believe that communication was the most lacking aspect. After the first couple of rounds, the process seemed to be, “These groups are doing A, B and C to survive, so we need to do that as well to survive.” This thinking ultimately led to the decline of the population of the group since the pond was over-fished. The pond had to “recover” so that we could begin fishing again and a cycle of growth was followed by decline. It was easy to follow others because of the “if others are doing it so should I” mentality that can occur in large groups of people. Instead of using other groups’ actions to guide my actions, I could have laid out a plan, communicated that to my group and others, and stuck to it. The same occurs in the real world as well with many different practices, leading to today’s sustainability issues. It’s almost too easy to blame others for why you chose not to recycle, or too consume a certain type of fish that’s currently endangered, etc. because there’s no accountability. We have the freedom to practice these things without punishment. The same lack of communication as seen in the Pisces game affects our efforts towards sustainability. I think we need to hold ourselves more accountable before we can start making progress towards a more sustainable environment. While changes made by one individual won’t make a noticeable difference in the grand scheme of sustainability, if everyone tells themselves that they are going to practice sustainable consumption habits, then the collective changes can make a difference. The “Groupthink” mentality has gotten us to where we are now, if we begin to think as individuals, then progress can be made. Instead of saying, “I can’t make a difference because I’m only one person”, we should say “I’m going to practice A, because I feel that’s the right thing to do” and then communicate this to others around us. If we can communicate that sustainability is important, and communicate to people that it all starts with them, then I believe that a visible difference can be made.

    Reply
    1. jonathanedgington

      I agree that there was not enough collaboration between Zodiac groups and even members from within the the tribes lacked open communication lines. Without effective communication and trust it will be hard to build anything lasting or worth while.

      Reply
  3. Patrick

    Ethical Distribution of Resources and the Pisces Game.

    With a population of 7 billion people and growing, sustainability has become a growing movement among the last several years. Over the last several decades, resources have been utilized as if they were infinite, with little regard to the consequences of constantly taking without replacing. While we are only beginning to experience the effects of this practice, it has become obvious that we cannot continue at the current rate of consumption without undergoing the effects of overconsumption. The Pisces Game represents the struggle of feeding and maintaining a population and sustainable practices. In the real world, the solution is very gray in that there is not a direct solution to the problem, and the solution varies among each nation. However, in the Pisces game, the solution is fairly black and white, fish or be fished. The Pisces game involves the process of fishing a limited population to sustain a population. Overfishing is basically a requirement to keep your population alive. Those who chose to be sustainable eventually died off, and those who were selfish prospered.
    My initial hypothesis was one of optimism, that all groups would understand the significance of preserving the fishery. However, as the game progressed, it was clear that this would not be the case and that supporting the respective populations of each group was the clear goal. With the initial goal of sustainability in mind, only catching enough to support our population was quickly replaced by one of competitiveness. Other groups were catching as many fish as possible to sustain their growing populations and it became clear that sustainably fishing would not preserve our population. In an effort to keep the population alive, we began to fish as much as we could. With each group fishing to excess, the fishery began to dwindle until a few groups were fishing a majority of the fish, and other groups receiving very little. This led to the dying off of many of the populations as the resources weren’t available to sustain them at their levels. This effect can be described as an advanced version of the Tragedy of Commons, where a commonly available resource is over-utilized by a few people, in turn affecting the whole group. This is very similar to the trends we are seeing in the developed countries today, those with the available resources and access can uncover and utilize even greater amounts of resources to develop. The opposite effects are being seen in lesser developed countries, where access to resources can be limited and even nonexistent. While we have not reached the point at which our population has started to die off due to famine, I believe that if we continue at our current rate that would certainly be the case. The amount of time that it would take for this to happen is somewhat unknown due to our limited resources, but there will come a point at which we have exhausted all reasonably usable resources. When that point is reached, those that have lesser access (i.e. groups that fished less) will begin to feel the effects of the diminished resources first, and eventually, the entire world will see the effects as their resources begin to dwindle.
    The issue of sustainability proves to be one of ethics. The obvious solution to the issue would be to share all resources equally and consume only enough to support what you have. However, as seen in the Pisces game and in real life, the answer to the sustainability issue isn’t always obvious. Ethically, sharing would be the best option as everyone gets fair access to the resources they need and a level playing field would exist. This is rarely the case though because there are more factors that contribute to the issue, especially following a capitalistic economic model. Not only is access a factor, but also the world economy, politics and the distribution of resources as well. If country A needs a resource that only country B has, then some form of a trade agreement must occur. However, country B has all the leverage because they have an abundance of the resource that A needs. Ethically, they should create a fair and mutually beneficial trade, but country B has all the power to dictate the terms. Politics among nations also affect the ethical distribution of resources, due to the nature of treaties and embargoes. Another example of the unethical distribution of resources could involve Nation A needing a specific resource from Nations B/C for the production of a specific good. Nation A could have different economic goals than Nations B and C, who have a treaty in place for fair trade, but an embargo on Nation A, thus affecting the ethical distribution of resources as well.
    Overall, it is clear that sustainability is a much more complex issue than many assume it to be, with many factors affecting the solutions presented. The Pisces Game effectively demonstrated the overconsumption of resources by a privileged few, which in turn affected those who could not attain the resources necessary to sustain their population. This also shows the necessity of ethics in the consumption of resources because of the uneven distribution of resources among nations. Without a fair/even agreement on the transfer of resources, those who have less will continue to receive less and those who have more will continue to accrue more resources.
    Addendum
    In my personal experience with the Pisces game, I believe that sustainability can be attained, but communication among all groups is absolutely necessary for this goal to be effectively achieved. Some sacrifices will have to be made, such as the growth of the group population, but they are paramount to the success of every group. Sustainability cannot be achieved by one group, but must be prioritized among all groups. Those who overfish must be held accountable in some way for sustainability to succeed.

    Reply

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