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Monday, 11 April 2011

The Anarchy of Play

In an earlier post I described the work of play as inappropriate to its own conceptual structure, i.e. it is not part of play for it to be put to use in such a manner, as the solution to otherwise complex theoretical disputes. In the same way the solution to political/democratic problems is not to put an anarchist in charge. This is because anarchy like the concept of play might have a structural system but it is not a system meant for governing. It is a revolutionary or reactionary system, in that, it helps to show the errors with the current theoretical approaches.
What it?
Anarchy and play separate here I’d think.
Play is a fundamental system, it is how we learn, rather how we should learn in contrast with dogmatic learning or indoctrination. Although it is a fundamental system it is still not one that governs. In a similar manner, anarchy promotes freedom and works in reaction to the more perscriptive forms of government, but it is not a replacement.
So, while play works as a system for learning, it is still not a method for getting answers in a theoretical manner and therefore although it is offered by some (example: Linda Nochlin in her lecture ‘The body in pieces’ and by some Wittgensteinians) as replacement or answer in some philosophical problematic (i.e. by Nochlin as a way to get past the objectivbity/subjectivity divide in understanding art) this cannot be anything but a displacement of the problem. It is similar to the ‘quietist’ reading of Wittgenstein, which tells us that there is no answer and that this should be enough for us to be satisfied with. Philosophy then becomes a sort of unnecessary intellectual activity that only creates its own problems that ultimately may as well be set aside.

1. I don’t believe Wittgenstein held this quietist view in his philosophy.
2. I don’t believe play is a conceptual system capable of answering problems.
3. I don’t believe anarchy and play start from the same grounds, but have similar outlooks and (potentially) similar ends or goals.
4. I do believe play is a fundamental system for formulating understanding, but it is not a theory. It is an approach.
5. I do believe anarchy is a revolutionary theory based upon reacting against perscriptive or dogmatic systems of government.

3 comments:

Ent said...

I think Anarchism is a default setting for humans when governments get too contradictory. It is where we exist in most of our lives (family dinamics can be quite anarchic, as can other social relations)and it is only when our morals or a lack of importance of the governing system block the influence of said governments that it becomes all encompassing.

Play is a learning method, but also an appreciation. We 'play' music - that is not learning it so much as letting ourselves enjoy and revel in something. Sex can be play. going for a walk can be play - or am I confusing your idea for the word play with recreation or enjoyment? I could see it in this sense as being a sort of earthy spirituality, a relaxation into the non-logiced out parts of our existence...

I do realise I am speaking off the top of my head so I am probably incomprehensible as well as flawed in my opinion somewhere!

god-free morals said...

First point, I was drawing an analogy between the concept of play and Anarchism.

Also, things can be anarchic without relating to Anarchism and in the same way we can 'play' without relating to the concept of play. This only proves the conceptual confusion it does not solve it.

Finally, I find your suggestion about the innate morality to all of our political value judgements interesting. As a simple example we might say we have three bases for making judgements; theoretical, practical, and emotive. Where would you fit moral judgements? Or are moral judgements baseless and thus utterly subjective/desire driven?

If I'm seemingly taking you 'off target' then I'd point out that you did say Anarchism was a "default setting" where we existed [not lived?] "most of our lives" and it is (therefore) this default basis that we decide our moral rejection of contradictory governments. How do we decide to reject contradictory governments? Because we are naturally anarchistic and we have this basis within us.

I'd say that 'we' have no 'default setting', but that chaos can only be understood in contradistinction to order and vice versa.

Ent said...

A really good poem - http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/shelley/maskofanarchy.html