Parcel insert: the true meaning of snakes and ladders
Sometimes things go up. Sometimes things go down. This is true for hiking trails, flights and electrocardiograms. And for snakes and ladders. While ladders take you all the way to the top, snakes (or slides, sledges, etc. in newer versions) will throw you back. The luck of the dice decides over success and failure. Just like in real life: you can influence certain things with your behaviour, but it’s pure chance what you’re born into.
The Indian game Moksha Patamu, the predecessor of modern-day snakes and ladders, still has this symbolic character. Virtuous behaviour brings you forward, closer to nirvana; vices throw you back. The board symbolises life. As a player, you must choose the right moral path – no matter what may come your way. After all, karma is omnipresent and will strike at some point. Maybe only in your next life. This is something the controversial anthroposist Rudolf Steiner knew. Your essence doesn’t merely pass away but reincarnates. So behave decently.
In Western society, this concept seems to have been somewhat forgotten. The snakes and ladders game no longer has a deeper meaning, it’s all about winning. It involves crying, swearing and insulting. And – depending on your upbringing – victory is gained by whining. Annoyance wins. Far too often, this is also true in real life.
Let the games begin
To refresh your memory about the original concept of the game, the brochure’s design is based on a Moshka Patamu-esque version of snakes and ladders. Or rather two games – one on the front and one the back. If you’ve put an end to your consumerism and have stopped ordering stuff from Galaxus, a German and French version of the brochure is also available in PDF format for download or to print out. The instructions on the game itself are structured as virtuous and vicious actions. The luck of the dice will either move you forward or throw you back. It’s in your hands. So choose a pawn and let the youngest player begin.