“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, March 27, 2014

games and reality

Adam is learning to eat by himself like a man – admittedly, more like a medieval man, when table manners were still not quite developed yet, and everybody pulled off pieces of the roast with their hand and dribbled gravy. Adam has figured out how to take the spoon that he has used to scoop up cheerios and yogurt and raise it in a stuttering arc to his mouth. Of course, the reason that the yogurt is there is to make the cheerios adhere to something and that something to the spoon, which makes the payload loss a lot lighter as the spoon approaches mouth.
When he is finished eating, or when he is tired of eating – either because of the food, or because he is tired of being strapped in the high chair – he makes a royal gesture and throws the food off the table, sometimes in a grand sweep.
This reminds me, oddly enough, of something I used to do when I was a kid. I must have been nine years old, in that area, and I had learned to play monopoly. I’d play with my sister, or sometimes Mom  and Dad and my sister. And I’d be losing. Suddenly, I’d feel infuriated that I was losing, and I’d upset the board. I’d sweep my hand over it.
This, of course, won me an early bedtime, or various other punishments.
However, I find it interesting now as something other than the indication of temper. It is a spontaneous defining gesture – that is, a gesture that begins or ends something – but it is not considered in the game. It is not even prohibited by the rules, since the rules don’t consider it at all. It collapses the game. The gesture is like the popping of a balloon – the world rushes in with the hand that sweeps the pieces off the board.
In  popular ontology, we would say that the world is “real” and the game is not. However, reality, logically, has to include both the game and the world and everything else that one can think of – in as much as the thought happens. The confounding of existence with a set of values – with what is important, or serious, etc. – is a symptomatic cultural pattern one learns, perhaps, at the table, or interrupting a game that one is losing by creating equal loss for all players.
However, as so often when I am writing and watching Adam, the next paragraph was lost, along with the thought, as Adam – like the reality principle itself – rushed in to pound his hands on the keys. So this is what it is.


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