The gamemakers

We all have our defaults.  Are yours helping you?*
(Seth Godin)

our instincts, our cravings, the things and places and ideas we burn for, the intuition that shells up from somewhere deep inside us**
(Elle Luna)

Knowing who we are and what can be our contribution provides us with the power to be playful – I am thinking about values, talents and passions which make it possible to be playful in the things we have to do, even in the things that are definitely not our first choices.  Of his book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi writes:

‘In fact, one purpose of this book is to explore ways in which even routine details can be transformed into personally meaningful games that provide optimal experience.’^

Csikszentmihalyi names these “microflow” activities.  I am being reminded – and I need to be – how we can play our games within the activities of the day.  Johan Huizinga writes of playfulness as something we have known and lost and are able to regain, something always useful to the vibrancy of ancient societies (Huizinga was writing at the beginning of the twentieth century so his choice of words sounds strange to our ears):

‘This temporary abolition of the ordinary world is fully acknowledged in child-life but it is no less evident in the great ceremonial games of savage societies.’^^

There are times when we get to thoroughly play our games and other times we can be playful within the games of others: flow and microflow:

‘”The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow.” […] In normal life, we keep interrupting what we do with doubts and questions. […] But in the flow there is no need to reflect, because the action carries us forward as if by magic.’*^

The ultimate aim is to be so free and flowing in our playfulness and gamefulness that it becomes possible for us together to create new games that bring in a better future for the one or for the many.

(*From Seth Godin’s blog: Getting the default settings right.)
(**From Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must.)
(^From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.)
(^^From Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens.)
(*^From Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, including a quote from a rock climber.)

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