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Homo Ludens

Games, or the acts of playing – activities, that possess little logical consistency – are normally differentiated from reality and regarded as a purposeless, usually pleasurable activity through which rules are learned or invented, or which take place according to rules. Because play is seen as parasitic with respect to a reality that, whatever its nature, is always “hard,” the distinction collapses when reality is viewed not as somehow given or “objectivized,” but rather as a construct or, as Vilém Flusser describes it, a project, at which point the comforting foundation is pulled out from beneath the philosophizers, leaving them to playfully project or devise the world through continual experimentation with rules in the bottomless void. From this position, one’s first question is not what is necessary, but rather what is possible, from which the subset of the necessary – reality, as it is commonly understood – can then be sifted out. \

For Flusser, the entry into the virtual world and the ludic machine that is the computer – which can be repeatedly reprogrammed by changing its rules, and which represents a universal machine – make play the basis for a way of thinking in probabilities and scenarios of potentiality. When the world is viewed as a game, through which the subject (the one subjected) becomes a project and plays with similarly constituted others and with the world, what opens up is not absolute freedom or randomness, but rather the dizzying bottomlessness of being able to follow or experiment with the rules of the game. These rules may succeed to widely varying degrees, or they may lead to failure, but they also present the possibility of leading a “beautiful” life (perhaps an alternative or different one as well?) and experiencing a utopia: “[…] we are all played players […] and pieces of the game […].” (Post-History, 2013, p. 104)

Original article by Florian Rötzer

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homo_ludens.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/05 17:47 by