Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Want To Play?

Play: Living a Deeper Life, or maybe I should say "Living Life."

I am working on a paper dealing with "play." It is actually quite a fruitful and practical source of study.

My research is considering the role of "play" in human experience, spending some extra attention on whether or not play is an element in the religious life, or more precisely in the religious experience. I am relying on Gadamer (and Huizinga) for an understanding of play. Then I am considering Josef Pieper and Ratzinger's criticism of play. With some clarifications from Guardini and my own thought, thus far I am concluding that play does have a role in our lives--it is actually vital to human living, to the human part of a being's living. Further, it also has a role in the religious experience (even a certain role in liturgical life) and that it actually is a way of being that is only entered into with risk and thus results in a rich and deep encounter with the content of that religion: with Truth, with Love, with Goodness, with Beauty, and therefore in a way (some more than others perhaps) with Christ. I am relying on Giussani's thought to help support my conclusion.

A wide variety of thinkers have written on this phenomenon:

The Future and Its Enemies: The Growing Conflict Over Creativity, Enterprise, and Progress by the libertarian Virginia Postrel (***I strongly recommend the chapter on play in this book.***)
Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
Relevance of the Beautiful by Hans-Georg Gadamer
Man, Play, and Games by Roger Caillois
The Religious Sense by Msgr. Luigi Giussani
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI)
and one of my favorites On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs by Fr. James V. Schall, SJ

Any thoughts or comments/questions would be appreciated. Comment here or email me at wperales@yahoo.com.


Blogger Tom W. Bell said...

What a coincidence! I read your blog post only minutes after I'd begun researching the state regulation of games of skill. Those are the sorts of games in which chance does not determine whether you win or lose. In most states, when chance predominates, the game constitutes gambling. Classic examples of games of skill include video games, bridge tournaments, and carnival-style ball tosses.

I doubt you would find any of that legal stuff relevant to your own task, but it does at least show that academics can have a lot of fun playing around with playing.

4:01 AM  
Blogger See Jay run said...

Hello William,
I intend to get that book
THE FUTURE AND ITS ENEMIES after reading about it from your link. Thank you for the info. I am interested in humour and play and I hope to get back to you on this.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

From what you've said, it sounds as though the religious experience of play takes on what is an almost identical understanding of its role in the human experience through the practices there of by the human being. Regardless, of one's conscienciousness toward one's own conduct while engaged in what Gadamer would consider relevant or true of play, you seem to have developed a parallel structure whereby to measure what may constitute what is a true or fulfilling play experience. Be that religious or not, it stands outside of humanity to experience only, and one cannot own play in any other way but to identify with its use.

1:42 PM  

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