human motivation is actually based on a timescale that is long, sometimes even longer than our lifetimes*
The hero or heroine is by definition a “generative” person.**
The generative person knows that something must die for something to begin. The classic hero and heroine know they cannot return the way they came, they can only go forward.
We hold on to all kinds of things that we think define us but few things do – we’re just going through the contents of the loft, so many things we haven’t thought of, never mind touched, in the last four years. We can hold on to an old life in a similar way, instead of letting go, letting some things die, like seed falling into the ground, dying as a seed but growing something new and flourishing.
In his book The Art of the Graphic Memoir, Tom Hart shares something of his own harrowing story of the loss of his two year old daughter Rosalie, his writing and drawing becomes transformative for him:
‘the act of making your book or project or story shouldn’t merely be one of “telIing a story.” It should change you. […] I had to create a new relationship with my dead daughter.’^
If we overlay James Carse’s “template” of finite and infinite games some powerful things come into focus more. Remembering that a finite game includes a selected or elected group of people towards a goal with a deadline and who always play by the rules, Carse offers:
‘If the prize for winning finite play is life, then the players are not properly alive. They are competing for life. Life, then, is not play, but the outcome of play. =Finite players ply to live; they do not live their playing.’^^
We may think of ourselves when we just want to get through the day for the evening, or the week for the weekend escape, or work for retirement when we’ll be able to do the things we want to do.
An infinite game, though, includes as many as possible for as long as possible and when the rules threaten either of these, they are changed. Of the infinite payer, Carse writes:
‘Infinite players die. Since the boundaries of death are always part of the play, the infinite player does not die at the end of play, but in the course of play.’^^
The infinite player or generative person knows they give of themselves, when they let go in order to let come, something will happen. Every life is valuable in this way, every person generative.