The Dark Side of Go

I am well aware of the healing effect that the mental practice of Go can have on a person. But, as they say, all medicine and all poison. Go has its own dark side, manifested in addiction, nervous breakdowns and other unpleasant things.

Let’s talk about it. Have you looked into the dark side of Go? How it was? How did you cope, or did not cope with the influence of the dark side of the force? :ninja:




TBH I’m less aware of “the healing effect that Go can have on a person”.

Maybe it’d be good to explore that: what is it supposed to be, what evidence is there for it, etc.

Note that this is distinct from the “mental ability development” effect that Go can have. This seems almost self evident: that Go is a great way to exercise the mental muscles.

But healing? Tell me more…


There is a book in english by a japanese writer on this.(Something about go to cure autism?).

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I will gladly do it. But this is just my personal experience, nothing more.

In short, under the influence of Go, I stopped smoking (I smoked 20 years before). Not “quit”, but “stopped”. For me, there is a difference between the two. Those who “quit” smoking often face psychological problems and physical discomfort and are forced to resort to the help of doctors, psychologists and various drugs. In my case, there was nothing of the kind. One fine day, after a year and a half since I started my Go studies, I realized that smoking was devoid of any meaning and stopped this practice. It’s been 8 years since that day.

At the same time, I stopped spending my life in computer games, where I spent an average of 4-8 hours daily for more than ten years.

And under the influence of Go, my understanding of myself, people and the world around me improved, which in turn led to a positive change in my attitude towards life, myself and the surrounding reality.

During my Go classes, I improved my mental health and now I am building a new life, freed from past shortcomings.

If it’s interesting, I started Go at the age of 33.

Here’s a story…


Continuing from this:

I will say that this can happen with anything … from collecting pins (hats off to Terry Pratchett) and stamps, to getting addicted to going to the gym (an otherwise beneficial activity).

Unless we are talking about objectively (in the chemical way) addicting things ( e.g. smoking, coffee, drugs, sugar etc), then humans can get addicted with any conceivable thing, depending on their own psychological condition, without that thing itself being addictive of having “a dark side”.

E.g. Ain’t no “dark side” in driving a car in and of itself, but once there is a competition for anything, there will be humans, often very extra-ordinary, that will rise to that challenge (and train in addictive levels and risk their lives over it). Here is the legend himself, Ayrton Senna (it is less than two minutes - a window to this man’s mind - definitely worth watching):

Senna was clearly a fantastic human being since he was at the same time extremely ruthless within the context of winning the competition (they could have both died in that crash or get crippled) and charitable (he spent millions for the poor) and willing to risk his own life to save others on the track once the sense of competition became irrelevant (he saved another driver by stopping and running through the track to shut his engine off).

Again, we are tackling a “human nature problem” here, no a “Go problem”.


Just now, as soon as I finished writing my previous post, I thought the same thing. There is no “light” or “dark” side. “Sides” are created and “painted” by people.


I watched Senna personally. (Google t.)

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I know one book called "Go as communication " which talks about a Japanese pro using (capture) go to entertain mentally disabled people. Not autism. Not cure.

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Also, I should add, this is quite an offensive statement.

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Well i apologize if so. Not my intention.

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Yes that’s the book i heard of and I thought it was not just entertainement.

You’re right, not just entertainment but a way to help people doing something which could help the joy of being together.

It could be difficult to interact when you’re different, the author uses also the example of grandsons and grandparents: the age difference could be a barrier, but the game of capture go can create a common place where kids and old people can be even and enjoy the activity together.


To provide some context, Wikipedia on the autism spectrum:

While psychiatry has traditionally classified autism as a neurodevelopmental disorder, the autism rights movement and some researchers see autism as part of neurodiversity, the natural diversity in human thinking and experience, with strengths, differences, and weaknesses.[6] Autistic people still have a disability, but need to be accommodated, rather than cured.[7][8]

So, as @Leira pointed out, it would be better to be more considerate of what the autism spectrum is, when talking about it.


Well, if you want to start throwing links… From the same page:

An autistic culture has emerged, accompanied by the autistic rights and neurodiversity movements, that argues autism should be accepted as a difference to be accommodated instead of cured,[407][408][409][410][402] although a minority of autistic people might still accept a cure.[411]

I could argue that Groin referred to the last group of people. I really think more communities should employ HackerNews’ principle about arguing with the most strong interpretation of the opponent’s take, and thinking that people approach topics with good intentions by default.

On the topic of dark side, I can definitely see that I and some other people sometimes use Go as a form of escapism. The abstract nature of the game helps completely dissociate from the real world, and I’m not sure where is the edge when it’s too much. I don’t think I have ever reached it once, but I believe I’ve seen a couple of times this effect in others.

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Not everything needs to be a debate.

If someone came in and said that Go were used “to cure homosexuality”, I’d also inform them that it is quite offensive. There’s something just very wrong behind the premise regardless of whether some small number of people might still voluntarily choose conversion therapy.

As far as I know, Groin is merely unaware of any such connotation, took that expression from somewhere else. “Not my intention”; I believe that. I’m not looking for any fault in it.

However, if someone else tries to argue in a loophole so that it’s still OK to say whatever, I find it more difficult to see that as an act of good faith.

All of that being said, I have zero desire in arguing about this, with anyone, at all.