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Education / Pedagogy, Neuro / Brain Research

Science Conference (EGC 2013): Improving Go Skilfulness by Biological knowledge (author: Dario Colombera)

I fell over Dario’s lectures firs time in the Forum of lifein19x19. The topics of Dario give a different perspective onto GO and own person.

Born in 1933 (Trieste/Italy), Dario Colombera studied at the University of Padova (Italy) Natural Science with graduation in 1963. He taught chemistry, geography, mathematics, and biology in two schools of Cervignano (Liceo Malignani) and Padua (Liceo e Scuola media clericali). For nearby 20 years (1965-1984) Dario was lecturer for the University of Padova with courses and lessons of Cytology, Histology and Embryology, General Zoology, Human Biology and several other practical courses. In 1984 he became full professor of Histology and Embryology at the University of Padua.

Dario’s academic researches have been mainly devoted to the investigation of evolutionary tactics and strategies from two different points of view:

1. Comparing the morphology of the chromosomes of several marine invertebrates and advancing some general hypotheses about chromosome evolution;
2. Analyzing the evolutionary significance of tactical and strategic behaviours in mankind.

Beyond his academic activities he is fond of GO (7 kyu), oil painting, languages and biological gardening.

With his life experience and scientific background Dario might give Go players a different approach to the method of a qualitatively playing, as given with following 1:1 reprint.

… with courtesy to scientist Dario Colombera




author: Dario Colombera


Dario Colombera (Italy) http://www.dariocolombera.it/

Dario Colombera (Italy, born: 8th March 1933) Source: http://www.dariocolombera.it

Since the laws of life are worldly known and easy to understand, our refusal to consider them in our everyday lives, although the evident, ongoing global mass extinctions, cannot be only due to ignorance or stupidity, but to a kind of diffuse mental illness. Therefore, the initial aim of this research was to find out the basic cognition, which is necessary to individuate and solve our primary existential problems. The most astonishing result of this investigation was the discovery of an innovative discipline, totally deduced from the acquisitions of modern zoology, with which every person may individuate and cure the usual but unknown insanity of his mind. Go, interpreted as an evolutionary model, is one of the basic element of this discipline.

Since then, I try to divulge it, in order to convince everybody that we shall be capable to maintain our status and richness if and only if the achievements of modern zoology, i. e. the laws of life, will be all worldly understood and respected.


As naturalist and searcher for inner truth, I have deeply pondered about the fundamental causes of our present ecological disasters, existential difficulties and ethical debasements. At present, I believe that the primary reason of our present world-wide crises is due to the fact that we disregard the point, that in condition of extreme selective pressures, too low or too high, our minds become irrational and out of any conscious control. Moreover, we are more or less rational and clever, when we are dealing with contingent matters, but our selection of interests and aims are usually irrational, since it is based on uncontrolled emotions, out of date traditions and conditioned wishes.

It follows, that we do not pay the due attention to the present global environmental degradation, which admonishes us to reconsider all aspects of our civilization in biological terms, with a scientific attitude and as soon as possible. Of course, the knowledge of the laws of life gives us all the necessary tools to understand and solve our present cultural inadequacies and ecological troubles [1, 2]. But, besides this and very unexpectedly, general zoology also provides us the fundamentals of an inner discipline, which allows us to optimize all our behaviours and to stop the subconscious activity of our minds, thus healing our objective but ignored mental insanity [1]. Of course, it is only after a sound mental rehabilitation, that we shall be able to face our actual severe ecological and cultural problems.

This inner discipline is easy to follow and very safe, since it is based on scientific achievements and can be easily practiced with a scientific attitude. I have already collected some evidence, that this discipline allows everybody to verify if his social, cultural and religious traditions are intrinsically sound in evolutionary terms. These censorious approach can be applied in whatever contest, since the laws of life prove that what is advantageous at one level of organization, is positive at all levels.

... seen on Facebook: "Extreme Go" – http://goo.gl/i7lfiP

… seen on Facebook: “Extreme Go” – http://goo.gl/i7lfiP


Now let see some few discoveries of general zoology and consequent implications [1, 2]:

I. Acting in the present instant is the only certain possession and duty of all living beings. Moreover, they and we are dynamic entities which can never stop acting.
II. If living beings do not behave in the present instant, with their utmost commitment, efficiency, prudence and energy’s saving, they and we shall extinguish.
III. In nature, infinitesimal advantages are enough, in order to overcome whatever competitor.
IV. In condition of low selective pressure, all living beings degenerate, firstly psycho-physiologically and then genetically. As far as people are concerned, we ignore that we can stop the ceaseless subconscious activity of our minds by a steady concentration on a determined object. Concentration is a well-known behaviour, which we commonly practice in our everyday lives, but regrettably we ignore its therapeutic benefit on our psyche. It follows that we never concentrate for the due time, which is necessary for repressing the subconscious activity of our minds.
V. In order to survive, we must know our habitats and then we should accordingly plan our lives with sound evolutionary strategies. Unfortunately, modern languages do not describe our real environments anymore and even to know and dominate the environment is useless, if we do not live alert at every present instant, instead of going around dreaming with open eyes most of our time.
VI. An over whole evolution is the most rewarding strategy in the long term, whereas specialization and parasitism lead to extinction. Today we cannot renounce to specialization, but we should not forget, that in condition of high selective pressure, we must be ready to face the most disparate difficulties.
VII. In natural conditions, predators and preys, bacteria and their hosts, harmoniously evolve together, both increasing their freedom from the environment.
VIII. Every person is unique at a genetic level and has his own peculiar vision of reality, his own niches and his own optimal evolutionary path.
IX. Happiness is a must in the struggle for life. From immunology we know that the immune system of a sorrowful animal does not function properly. From our lives we know that falling in love gives us the uttermost enthusiasm, joy and courage.


From these few observations, a very efficient inner discipline can be easily deduced [1], which allows us to survive in conditions of extreme selective pressures, either too low or too high. Another great novelty of this discipline is that we are not requested to change our style of life, our existential aims or our faiths. We are allowed to pursue all our previous habits and traditions, but with total involvement, utmost attention, extreme perseverance and absolute detachment from results. Even if poorly practiced, it offers immediate and crucial advantages. Moreover, faith, prophets and gurus aren’t anymore necessary, since it has been deduce from the laws of nature. Moreover, when you scientifically evaluate the outcomes of your discipline, you become the master and the teacher of yourself. In an age of massive ethical decadence, to be independent from prophets and leaders, offers a decisive existential advantage. I have already verified that this discipline is easy to practice and that its benefits are immediate. Even re-birthing, intended as freedom from subconscious conditioning, can be achieved in very short times, weeks or months. I call it “The Multiple Middle Path”, because everybody can practice it as he likes and because it is at the reach of normal people. It suggests two tactical and two strategic behaviours:

1. Live paying attention to what you do in the present instant.
2. Optimize all your behaviours, expressing in the order: highest efficiency and maximal saving.
3. When an inner stimulus pushes you to start a new action, stop for seven breaths.
4. Optimize your plans of actions, adopting the strategies that Go demands.

The effectiveness of these four disciplines is highly enhanced, when they are harmoniously practiced together, so as our existential needs and adaptive evolution demand.

As far as I know, it is the first time that an inner discipline springs out from a western culture, thus being rational, scientific and based on modern biology. For honesty and convenience, I must remember that these four disciplines are separately taught in the old Hindu tradition (see: tantra and karma yoga teachings) and in the Chinese culture (see: Tao Te Ching and Wei Qi). But, because they are foreign, ancient, disjointed, somehow hidden and devoid of any biological justification, we missed them.

The first discipline suggests: live paying extreme attention to what you do in the present instant. In the tantric tradition [3] we find an interesting practical indication: “When you’re busy, be careful about what you are doing in the pause between the two breaths “. The practical usefulness of this suggestion can be easily verified. The existential, perceptive and adaptive advantages of this discipline are numerous and determinant [1]. I just remember a few:

(I). On the contrary of all the other inner disciplines I know, it is easy to practice and quick to accomplish. It gives us immediate existential advantages and the silence of the subconscious mind occurs in weeks or months instead of years.

(II). We increase our capability to perceive infinitesimal fractions of time.
This implies a better perception of the reality, thus giving us immediate existential advantages. In general, it speeds up our reaction to stimuli, it improves our memory and it sharpens our senses and mental concentration.

(III). We reduce the subconscious activity of our minds, much more than practicing our usual attention. Under normal conditions, our concentration is shattered by the dreaming-like activity of our mind so that, for long periods of the day, we lack free will and self-consciousness. On the contrary, this extreme attention stops our usual subconscious mental activities and concomitant useless contractions of voluntary muscles. Moreover, it offers us a new perception of our reality and sooner or later new larger mental paradigms are achieved.

(IV). We immediately optimize whatever action.

I do not know any other discipline, which improves so much and so quickly all aspects of our life. I have already tested its usefulness, by practicing some sports, learning languages, doing asanas and facing very severe existential stresses. You will surely improve all your capabilities much better and safer than by taking drugs.

(V). This is the only discipline I know, which doesn’t require extra times.

It seems a trivial advantage, but ask a Westerner to “meditate” for just a few hours a day or to practice daily asanas (postures)! He just hasn’t time. Moreover, by means of this discipline you can reevaluate those events that you normally consider as boring and useless.

(VI). We learn to utilize those small fractions of time, which you have previously neglected, such as: waiting for the bus, for the green traffic light, for your computer’s programs to start, and so on. Times previously disregarded, because they seemed too short, turn to be the useful for a lot of purposes: having a tea, shaving, making a telephone call, relaxing, concentrating, studying and so on. Furthermore, you realize that all your present instants as precious, since they give you the opportunity to refine your personality.

(VII). We overcome severe emotional distresses. When this extreme concentration is practiced, the subconscious activity of the mind stops and thus contingent emotional discomforts disappear. For example: I. Actions, which would normally be tedious, become acceptable and don’t disturb your inner peace any more. II. If someone offends you with nasty words when you are alert, you’ll not feel hurt. III. The usual devastating emotional distresses, that we normally suffer because of heavy economic losses, heart’s sorrows, relatives’ death, sudden loss of illusions and so on, just disappear.

(VIII). This dynamic attention expands our perception of time. Our self-consciousness increases so much, that a day seems to last as long as a lifetime. Normally we just live with the opposite attitude. How many times I heard people saying: “Twenty years elapsed, and I have the feeling that they did not last longer than a single day”.

(IX). You recover that inborn, but presently lost happiness, that you enjoyed during your early childhood.

On the whole, I recommend practicing this first exercise with the consciousness, that the present instant is your only possession. This awareness can be very painful at first, because it erases all our usual certainties, which normally give us soothing but illusory safeties. But very soon, you will appreciate the sense of infinite freedom and the consequent joy that this consciousness offers.

The second discipline suggests: optimize all your behaviours, expressing in the order extreme concentration, optimal efficiency and utmost energies’ saving. Since we are not accustomed to be alert in all our present instants, acting and moving in unusual ways, improves and facilitates this practice. For instance:

(I). Move relaxing your muscles and you will spare energy, gain physical power and rehabilitate your joints.

(II). Make ampler gestures. Since we usually are too passive and idle, it is important to practice those unusual movements, which reduce our physical handicaps and stiffness due to a sedentary life and wrong postures.

(III). In the Karma yoga traditions [4], we find an interesting attitude, which is a must in order to optimize whatever action: never bother about the results of your actions, but always remain emotionally detached, in victory, so as in defeat.
The third discipline recommends: when a mental stimulus pushes you to start a new activity, stop yourself for a while, in order to verify your motivations. I have observed that for this purpose, seven breaths are long enough. Becoming aware of the invading presence of an unknown subconscious ruler in your life, you realize the necessity of behaving as a strategist, in order to regain your inner freedom. In the tantric traditions [4] we also find the same teaching: when you feel like starting a new activity, stop yourself and reconsider your motivations.

On the whole, this discipline offers three decisive advantages:

(I). You realize how much your usual behaviours are conditioned by your subconscious mind.

(II). You will detect your true personality.

(III). After these two bitter, sorrowful discoveries, you will understand the urgency of becoming the strategic master of your life and very soon you’ll enjoy a new, previously unknown inner freedom.

The fourth discipline suggests: optimize your existential strategies, adopting those of Go in your everyday life. Since the game of Go can be considered as the most simplified model of an extremely complicated event, “adaptive evolution” [5, 6], it is no wonder that by playing Go we may easily individuate some basic strategies of survival, otherwise difficult to discover. As an evolutionary model, Go expresses a struggle for survival between two similar antagonist species, since they have the same finite niches at their disposal, “The territory of the Go ban”. Both competitors have infinite evolutionary potentialities (the number of stones is theoretically infinite). Let consider each move as the expression of a genetic mutation, which allows the exploitation of a new niche. I remember that the concept of niche is more operative than spatial. The habitat is the place where we live. The niche is that part of the habitat with which we interact. Populations which cannot evolve any more (groups of stones without enough freedoms), die out.

Extinction is the rule in Nature, since living beings usually are blind in strategic terms. On the contrary, by playing Go we can individuate the fundamental evolutionary strategies of survival. Now let compare the evolutionary steps of living beings with the moves of Go players:

I. Evolution cannot revert to previous conditions. In Go, this unachievable event is avoided by the rule of Ko.

II. The struggle for life must be balanced. Thus, a system of handicaps has been instituted and the two players alternate their moves.

III. Not perfection, but over whole improvements guarantee sound adaptive evolutions. In Go also, not immediate gains but maintaining the largest number of evolutionary options is a prerequisite.

IV. Pay extreme attention in order to avoid perils, to discover all the possible opportunities and to make the most advantageous existential choices. In Go, the study of its tactics and strategies, together with maintaining a detached but intense attention, optimize our chances of victory.

V. In nature, infinitesimal advantages are enough, in order to overcome whatever opponent. In Go also it is safer to be satisfied with little advantages. If we are too greedy, we risk to be killed.

VI. The most economic species survives. Moves having manifold purposes are a prerequisite for winning.

VII. Beauty is an expression of efficiency and of an over whole sound evolution, both for living beings and Go players.

VIII. Living beings struggle for extinction, when their natural selective pressure lessens or becomes too high. This peril is avoided for Go players, by equalizing the chances of the two opponents, with the system of handicaps.

IX. The species, which is able to do more evolutionary steps, survives. In Go win the player who is able to make more moves: see the scoring with the Ing’s method.

X. The best result of a natural competition occurs when both contenders harmoniously continue their struggle. Therefore, I suggest to revise the present method of scoring, which makes impossible the draw, since it represents the best outcome of an evolutionary competition.

But I must warn you, that there is a lot of evidence that playing Go and being a scientist is not a guarantee that you will behave strategically and rationally in your everyday life. If you really want to face your existential troubles as a Go strategist, when you feel like changing activity, stop for a while and ponder about your next challenge or wish, as they were the strategic problems of a Go game.

The Multiple Middle Path must be practically tested, since it cannot be supported or denied by arguing and debating, because: firstly, it is based on scientific data and not on philosophical argumentation. The first three components of the Multiple Middle path have proved to be very effective for over four millennia of inner searches and all four are in accordance with those laws of survival, which have been discovered by our zoologists in the last three hundred years. Secondly, our languages and our sophists’ like mentalities are not fitted to face solve similar questions. Thirdly, when you practice them, you will perceive some unusual and unpredictable experiences, which cannot be expected within our usual mental paradigms.

(Source: LVII EUROPEAN GO CONGRESS (Poland, 2013) | Science Conference: Dario Colombera)

About LinuxGooo

I am a real Go Beginner… but I like to learn and have fun with. And I fell in love with playing for influence (mainly San-RenSei fuseki, Cosmic style) as white and black. … 26th Jan 2014 I started on KGS (as 6-7kyu since Sept), another global GO Server on the web. On 4th March 2014 I registrated on OGS (Online Go Server). In July I began to play on Korean servers, on Tygem (10kyu) and on Wbaduk (11kyu). If possible by time, I like to have reviews and analysis of my games, which helps to progress (beside observing/Kibitzing Dan games). – My special thanks go to different KGS teachers/players for audio lectures and individual reviews: Dsaun (N.Y.), Battusai, TapJoshua (4D), Troll (2D), MXHero (5D), Shygost (3D), Mingjiu Jiang (7P)… not to forget all the other KGS players who offered me their knowledge and shared their personal experiences. My special tks go to Dsaun for his audio lecture “Shape” (on 22nd Febr 2014) which was the first step into a systemtical learning. Currently I study with www.321go.org and with the first GO book: “Graded Go Problems for Beginners” (Vol. 1-4) by Kano Yoshinori. Volume 1: Introductory Problems Volume 2: Elementary Problems VOlume 3: Intermediate Problems Volume 4: Advanced Problems For individual “offline training” I experimented with and use different bot programmes: Aya 6.34 (1k), Oakfoam GNU Go 3.8 and Zenith 4.4. better known as Zen (5k-5D) (Rec.: Running these bots I use as front end (Goban) Drago.) For editing/rediting SGF files the programme MultiGo 4 is suitable. Have fun behind the board…


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