Games People Play (book & song)

Music HighwayIn my last post, I discussed the book, I’m OK-You’re OK where I stated that this book proposes the theory that each person’s mind is made up of three components: the Child, the Parent, and the Adult. Depending on your childhood experiences, there is now an “inner voice” pattern that tends to dominate when you interact with others and deal with the daily events of your life. This is mostly theory but it has had much influence over the years to this day.

Well, there is another book that I read called, Games People Play by Dr. Eric Berne. This author is the person who actually developed, introduced and popularized Transactional Analysis (TA) that I mentioned in my previous post.

Its chapters categorizes various aspects of human behavior toward other people and vice versa as they interrelate with each other. These behaviors, called “games” in this book, are mostly a coverup of feelings of inferiority (I’m not OK, You’re OK) or superiority (I’m OK, You’re not OK).


First edition, 1964

Games, according to this author, are primarily about getting control over others. It is about power, manipulation or even revenge.

Many of you say that politicians, for example, always play games with people. They believe their games are based on half-truths, lies and deception. Perhaps so, but not in all cases. But, I know you have also seen mind games played at your place of employment.

An example here would be in the office politics around you at work. Many of you know of coworkers or are yourself trying to move up the corporate ladder to high positions of management. The means, the games, toward obtaining higher promotions are often unscrupulous, to say the least.

Games can be seen in teenage courtship (and older age in married life or in living together arrangements) where one of the partners will seek out and discover the weaknesses of the other person and then dominate and steer the relationship. Most of this is often based on feelings of inferiority and insecurity. It would be the “I’m not OK, You’re OK” level of self-awareness causing this behavior.

There will always be those who believe they are better, smarter and stronger than you. They may have the “I’m OK, You’re not OK” superiority complex in them. I should know. I definitely believe I have worked under two or more bosses having this mindset.

I realize I may have overly generalized the contents of this book somewhat, but what would God say to all of this? Answer: Love your neighbor as you do yourself. Being OK is about love – love toward God and love toward neighbor.

God also says to love not the world (1 John 2:15-17). In other words: love not the ways, the games, of the world because . . .
It is all about lies, deceit and selfishness.
It is about loving mostly the self.
It is about exclusively focusing on the love of money.
It is about inordinately seeking status, position and power.
It is about pleasing others in order to get.
It is about stepping over people’s feelings in order to get ahead.


Often, people are seen as pawns to be manipulated and easily sacrificed in a perceived chess game called life.

It is all about the way of get . . .
Getting high on illicit, harmful drugs.
Getting selfish with time consuming wealth.
Getting selfish, godless sex.
Getting undue and undeserved praise and adulation.
Getting selfishly recognized as a way of obtaining power.
Getting revenge and getting even for a real or imagined offenses.
Getting mentally and bodily drunk.
Getting from others by stealing, rather than working for what you want.

And thus in order to get, people find it necessary to play games.

When people play games, those who are immature and dominated by”The Child” within them are the ones who are often the players. And it is also in games where “The Parent” within them, the insecure, also play.

Throughout the Bible, we read about players without character and without God. We learn the lessons of those who forget God and of those who get caught up in the intrigue of the games they play against others.

In the Bible, the covenants God made with His people were not games laid out to be played, but a way of life of trusting on and looking to God and His way of life in order to become mature – “The Adult” – with Him forever.

Anyway, the YouTube video song below contains a litany of how people play games against each other where God and His way of life found in the Bible has been neglected, forsaken or not even considered.


Joe South

Joe South (1940 – 2012)

Games People Play (1968)
lyrics – Joe South
music – Joe South
sung by – Joe South
genre – Rock, Pop
side B – Mirror Of Your Mind
album – Introspect


Whoa–the games people play now.
Every night and every day now.
Never meanin’ what they say now.
Never sayin’ what they mean.

Joe South single

Single, vinyl

While they wile away the hours
in their ivory towers,
’till they’re covered-up with flowers
in the back of a black limousine.

La, da, da da, da-da da;
La, da, da da, da-da de…
talkin’ ’bout you-‘n-me
and the games people play–now.

Whoa we make one another cry,
break a heart then we say goodbye;
cross our hearts and we hope to die
that the other was to blame.


45 rpm, vinyl

But neither one will ever give-in,
so we gaze at an eight-by-ten
thinkin’ ’bout the things that might have been
and it’s a dirty rotten shame.


People walkin’-up to ya,
singin’ glory hallelujah
‘n’ they’re tryin’ ta sock it to ya,
in the name of the Lord.

They’re gonna teach you how to meditate,
read your horoscope, cheat your fate.
And furthermore to Hell with hate
Come-on and get-on board.

Joe South Introspect



Look-around tell me what you see.
What’s a-happenin’ to you and me?
God grant me the serenity
to jus’ remember who I am.

’cause you’ve given-up your sanity
for your pride and your vanity,
turn your back on humanity;
Oh and you don’t give a da da da da da.

[Chorus 3 times]

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