Re: [ox-en] "Play" (was: Re: The Abolition of Work)
- From: Benni B?rmann <benni obda.de>
- Date: Sat, 22 Dec 2001 12:19:40 +0100
On Fri, Dec 21, 2001 at 04:35:08PM [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED], B. Fallenstein wrote:
Using "play" may make one sound overly optimistic, but it definitely
emphasizes freely chosen activity, which allows for free association. At
the same time it does mean a lack of physical or mental effort.
Nice idea. For me - with gaming as my second hobby (after oekonux ;-)
- this sounds good. I tryed to address the for me obvious connection
between gaming and self-unfolding doing in the german list, but
received not so much resonance. So, i try to discus it here, but my
english is maybe not good enough to express some thoughts i have not
clear in german, too ;-)
The obvious problem with play is that it suggests not being serious
Thats not a problem. At first play is a real serious thing.
Recommended reading: "Homo Ludens" by Johan Huizinga. I am shure,
there is an english translation avaiable. And second: If someone is
addressed as "serious" today you have a good chance, that this
"serious" realy means "making money with it". So, what we need is a
society, which is not so "serious" in this sense but of course more
serious than capitalism in all other sense. For me play or gaming - is
the obvious thing to envolve out of this contradiction. Of course
playing at societal level, this is than similar to Selbstentfaltung at
This can be taken as an advantage, because the idea
that play is not serious is tightly tied to the idea that if you take
something serious, it cannot be fun, and vice versa. This, of course,
runs counter to the idea of self-unfolding as a possible basis of
society, and attacking the notion could well prove helpful.
Oh, it looks like you say the same :-)
But there is a not-so-obvious problem with "play," too, which is that it
essentially has two very different meanings. According to Chris
Crawford, the ancient Greek had two words: padia and agon. One of them,
padia, is playful exploration, as is usual in children's play. The
other, agon, is competition.
Hm, maybe the english "play" and "game" goes in the same direction.
Not so strong divided, but game also feels more "serious". I guess
this after reading the results for both terms in dict.leo.org, but
maybe i am wrong.
The play we would want to base a society on is paida-play. But since
English doesn't make the distinction (nor does German, for that matter),
I feel the word is not clear enough. In other words, I fear that
replacing "work" by "play" could be mistaken or subverted to mean
promoting competing all the time for all sorts of resources. I
understand the die-hard capitalists as promoting competition as
agon-play (even if they may not use the word play).
I disagree on this. We had a large disussion about competition vs.
cooperation on the german list (in fact more than one ;-). Your
statement is near to what Stefan Mn. thinks about competition. My view
For me competition and cooperation exists together in a dialectical
sense. They need eachother. There is nothing "good" in cooperation and
nothing "evil" in competition and both does not exist in pure forms.
1. You can´t compete if you don´t cooperate in the sense, that you
bouth know what is the competition about. In a game you compete, but
you do this on the base of a cooperative agreed set of rules. In a
more political sense, capitalism as a society of competition, which
only exists because people cooperate.
2. Vice versa you can´t cooperate if you can´t compete. That sound not
so clear for most people. But for me this was cleared with the theory
of free cooperation from Christoph Spehr. Unlucky there is no
translation available as far as i know :-( But for my point it maybe
enough to state, that if you are bound to an existence cooperation you
are unfree and this is not realy more an _free_ cooperation it is a
forced one. So you need at every time the chance to go out of the
cooperation (or in other words: compete with it), to are real in
cooperation in a free sense.
More practical there _is_ competition in free software. Competition
about the best solution of a problem, for example. But: This
competition works in an cooperative environment. In capitalism it is
the other way around: If i cooperate (for example in a merger of two
firms) i do this in an competitional environment.