Play and Participation

Picture by Paul D'Amato
Picture by Paul D’Amato

When you’re regarded as tourist by locals, someone who provides them with an income, you’ve certainly become an object[i]. It establishes the rules of conduct. You have to turn a person into an object before you can use them as an instrument that you can play to your own profit, and that person’s loss. That gives us a measure for this behavior. Inasmuch as you can make an object of anyone or even anything, and thereby severe the connection with it/him/her by separating yourself from it as a subject, in that measure you can use others and turn them into your instrument.

As it is with horses: if you turn your horse into an object, an animal-object you know that you need to force it to do your will, and you’ll need a bit and maybe spurs. If, on the other hand, you simply participate in the man-horse relationship where both you are equal, be it with different capacities, than you can play – in peace and clarity.

Participatory reality is situated far, far away from the subject/object world. It is a reality full of play following a basic pattern mentioned earlier: receive > transform > give. And every being in this reality is involved and engaged, and the closer they are to humanimals the more ways to play they find. Many interspecies’ games on YouTube recently: Dogs and birds, cats and mice, dogs and cats playing with each other having fun, clearly.

Play requires participation. To stand aloof, to remark and comment on the game from the outside, on players and their moves as a spectator may be tolerated or celebrated by the players of competitive games played in front of crowds of paying guests, but really it is cowardly behavior. It turns games and players into objects and makes it very easy to celebrate using, abusing them with comments that know it all better, and suggestions whose only purpose is to show off your knowledge. But in the games of life all of this is without any merit. These games have no outside; no one can escape participation. Those that refuse to play are nevertheless fulfilling their roles as irritators or obstructers. Even those that do not appear to make a move serve life’s games, as orientation mark in a continual flow.

The real joyful moves are made by those participators that play with real abandon; those that dare to risk themselves and/or their safety and lose themselves in the game. These players are a surprise and will be in wonder, maybe by something really new, maybe by inspiration, maybe by a rattling insight, or maybe they fall in love, find best friends or simply celebrate the unknown.

There is an art to relaxing into the games of life, to trust the game and your own capacity to stay afloat if needed. There is a deep joy to loosening up the self-position without awareness subsiding, the self transforming from witness to withness. What first positioned itself outside and above all matter, as witness to it all, now becomes a participator, someone with a lot of capacity for withness…

[i] And as a man you may finally understand what it feels like to be a pretty woman anywhere on the planet

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