Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Play: Living a Deeper Life

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. Yes, 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
-Truth and Method by Hans-Georg Gadamer
-Relevance of the Beautiful by Hans-Georg Gadamer
-Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture by Johan Huizinga
-In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity by Josef Pieper
-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.

1 comment:

Kathy Carroll said...

W., intriguing concept! Before I could respond, I would need "play" to be clearly defined from your perspective. Do you mean hobbies? Recreation? Leisure time and activities? All of the above?

This could be a whole series of blog posts.