But the severed It of institutions is a golem and the severed I of feelings is a fluttering soul-bird. Neither knows the human being; one only the instance and the other one only the “object.” Neither know person or community. Neither knows the present: these, however modern, know only the rigid past, that which is finished, while those, however persistent, know only the fleeting moment, that which is not yet. Neither has access to actual life. Institutions yield no public life; feelings, no personal life.*
A plan is the product of a particular design studio. The sketch, on the other hand is something made by a particular person and bears the traces of its own making.**
One without the other is a finite game: one over-plans and solidifies, the other over-dreams and evaporates.
Together, though, an infinite game takes form, as James Carse would want us to remember:
‘We do not play against reality; we play according to reality.’^
When we do – remembering Wallace Stevens speaks about bringing the power of imagination to the pressure of reality – we are bring openness to our planning and substance to our sketching.
Christian Schwartz would recognise something of a description of his dynamic and static poles in the words of Buber, Pirrie, Carse and Stevens, believing that the dynamic (I, sketches, infinite, imagination) must produce the static (It, plans, finite, reality), else it is “spiritism,” a “fluttering soul-bird,” and the static must stimulate the dynamic, else it becomes institutionalised, a “golem.”
One should not overcome the other, but they must work together. Wallace Stevens sees new possibilities emerging out of the power of imagination playing upon the pressure of reality, and James Carse clarifies:
‘Infinite players do not oppose the actions of others, but initiate actions of their own in such a way that others will respond by initiating their own.’^
Some will be happier sketching, others planning; all are involved in a greater game, one of including the other, allowing the other’s presence rather than forcing their absence in the end just a healthier way to live:
‘Positive mental health is a presence, the presence of positive emotion, the presence of engagement, the presence of meaning, the presence of good relationships, and the presence of accomplishment.’^^
(*From Martin Buber’s I and Thou.)
(**From Anne Pirrie’s Virtue and the Gentle Art of Scholarship.)
(^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)
(^^From Martin Seligman’s Flourish.)