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- "the brain is always creating some kind of ceaseless inner fiction, or is at play within itself."
I'm a fan of this idea, and it goes beyond imaginative capabilities, it bleeds into everyday interactions with yourself and others. Your brain is constantly feeding you perceptions about yourself and the world around you that inherently alter how you react to things. This inner narrative can be a detriment to relationships both between yourself and others, or it could bolster them. The brain, whether you like it or not will assign some sort of meaning or reasoning to everything in order to understand it. However, for arts oriented people (because they're the only kind of people I'm in regular contact with in my social environment) the mind is also living in some imaginative, non-realistic place in which it is creating stories, pictures, etc. as automatically as it perceives reality.
"the illusion of mastery of the circumstances of life"
Personally my favorite games are rooted in chance, poker and Settlers of Catan for example are two games I love to play. They are both rooted entirely in chance but are games that I will say "oh I'm good at poker". I don't dictate the cards dealt or played but knowing how to adapt to the different endless variations of it is what leads to the illusion of mastery of circumstances. The mastery of play isn't a matter of being able to roll the number you need for the resource you need to build up your settlements. It's completely random and you're at the mercy of it but since you're the one rolling the dice, you're the one choosing to bet or fold you are led to believe you're in control. Same concept as completely random things like slots where you pull the lever therefor you're the one making it happen and you believe in your mastery of randomness.
- "There is truly a sense in which a mind plays its own recordings and has its own streams of consciousness, very little of which is actively under control. But human passivity in these respects contrasts with the active nature usually attributed to waking play and usually thought to he essential to most modern definitions of play. "
What is to be said of Lucid Dreaming, then? If the defining difference between dreaming, day dreams, illusions, and play is a conscious involvement of the player in the latter, where does Lucid or Active Dreaming factor in?
1).“The massive amount of money spent on games of chance might mean then arguably that is the most important form of play in the modern world.” (Pg. 70)
2).“One might say that the rhetoric’s of progress and of fate are rivals for the human soul.” (Pg. 75)
In the first quotation it seems that the rhetoric of fate is governed by the out come of life, and from what is being said, we all want that fate, that chance that unknown thing that will have an outcome, ether negative, or positive but something to hold on to- fate in my eyes is what is necessary for there to be hope. A pursuit of something in this case with play that lends to a belief in a greater thing then what is tangible or the everyday, whether that be a god, or the winning lottery numbers it keeps the “losers something to lose” and the fundament reason play is integral to human existences, it gives us the hope that we are not just alone, it lets us live in a state of risk without well having a sever consequence. The rush and wonder that comes with a game of chances is only comparable to sex, food, and death. With the rhetoric’s of fate theses can be manufactured and manipulated and put in a “magic circle” where life can move on, changed but still life. Fate then is the wonder and hope we need in all play for it to truly be human.
This leads to the other quotation that what we would like to think of the world in are sophisticated and progressives minds, (rhetoric’s of progress) could well serve as a blinder to the archaic scenes that have been passed from father to son, mother to daughter. To say that God’s and fate are just as much play as spin around in a green meadow alone is play, or chess, or even reading. The diorama that comes with play is that parts of it are meta- bigger then human thought even, a soul. A soul that has yet to really be understood fully yet, play is like us living, and thusly ever changing us- we are what play asks us to be, not what we may think play is. Play is, and we are to a form of play.
“On Schechner's behalf it might be added that dreams, daydreams, and illusions could be included as a pan of his bottom-up view in Western thought, particularly as this seems to be the case neurologically, as it will be shown later. There is enough known about these oneiric phenomena to see that they have a kind of pervasiveness and automaticity of their own. They do seem to resist attempts to make the good things in life always a part of conscious control and choice. They constantly present us with other images of ourselves that seem to persist despite our desire to the contrary, so that even if we are usually reluctant 10 give dreams the ontological status of play, they do constantly permeate our thinking-and it is not certain that when this happens it is not itself a kind of play of mind.” p. 57 "Play is, as it were, a halfway house between the night and the day, the brain and the world. And as such it chatters to itself with the kind of unpredictable relevance and irrelevance that the dream life does." p. 61
I have always been extremely interested in the function of dreams in our lives. I've heard theories that dreams are our brain's way of preparing us for certain situations, doing "run-through"s in preparation for the real world. There are countless instances in Biblical texts of god communicating with humankind through dreams. Personally, I always saw dreams as pointless, just-for-fun movies, without any continuity, symbolism, or correlation with real life. Maybe that IS the point, though. Imagined worlds seem to be just as relevant as real-world worlds. Don't know where I'm going with this.
"Dice are symbolic of chance (see left) as well as divine will or fate (see below), and play an integral role in the historical development of games from backgammon to Dungeons and Dragons."
"Many modern games use dice to introduce elements of chance and probability into gameplay. Some like Yahtzee place standard six-sided dice at the center of play whereas others like Dungeons and Dragons use dice with up to twenty sides for mediating the outcomes of complex events and player actions in a fantasy world."
Does assigning numerical values to concepts such as fate and chance change or diminish the concepts themselves? If fate is predetermined then is a game decided before it even starts? Is chance is completely random then how can it coexist with fate?
- "In his own words, the purpose of play is 'to hallucinate mastery.' If such 'illusory mastery' is indeed the spirit or motivation behind adults' play in games of chance, as it is an account of children's play, then it is surely a definition of play that escapes the limitations of the progress rhetoric."
It's interesting to see how base some human traits and characteristics turn up through the close examination of trends, patterns, and like attitudes/experiences. I've long been a believer that much of humanity leads similar, if not identical lives, but see things differently simply by misinterpretation or a lacking of perception to notice the common trends and uniting factors that make it the human experience rather than the personal experience. While I can't completely agree that the purpose of play is definitively to hallucinate mastery, from my current perspective I think that such a frequency in purpose of play one chooses throughout their lives is extremely interesting and worth more investigation. Funny how nature vs. nurture can vary this trend, but only by so much.
- "Play is, as it were, a halfway house between the night and the day, the brain and the world. And as such it chatters to itself with the kind of unpredictable relevance and irrelevance that the dream life does, though aided somewhat by the rules and structures of the external world within which social, if not solitary, play is mostly cast. This correlator brain model is certainly a neat anthropomorphism for the theory of play as broad rather than narrow and passive as well as active. In this thesis those other voices in play may not be those of God, nor those of the external universe, but they are certainly the voices from within one's own head, though perhaps that is indeed the same thing (p 61)."
This is interesting to me because the more we know in the fields of neuroscience and biology, the more we learn that many of the things humans create mimic our own selves, brains, and internal structures; for example, the way that a computer works is eerily similar to the functions and systems of our brain, all works of fiction are autobiographical in some way, that all architecture and art that we create is similar to our own bodies and the way they function. In the bible, it is said that humans 'were created in god's image,' with features and thought processes similar to god's. I've always wondered why an immortal being would fashion their creation after themselves, especially since the universe is so vast and strange compared to the only little planet that (as far as we know) hosts life. Why wouldn't a omnipotent beings make creatures vastly different than themselves, even if just for fun? They're immortal, what else do they have to do? Humans created the lore of gods to explain everything about life on Earth, fashioning gigantic and unseen beings that are both human and not human that impact our lives in the way of earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, etc. People claim to hear the voices of their god in their head, but it always seems to align with their own 'sincerely held' opinion anyway. Each god from each pantheon I have ever researched has incredibly humanoid traits and emotions: greed, lust, jealousy, loss, heroicism, and etc. Especially common is the idea that the gods are just playing games with our lives, like we were pawns in their intricate chess game. If humans fashioned gods in our own image, and humans play games, then of course humans would create a pantheon of gods who played games.