Resiliency as a Game

I coined the term wild resiliency to reference a particular style of resilience: the resilience that grows and is rooted in our love of life. Out of this love grows our willingness to transform, in the service of Life.
The intention here is to contrast this impulse for openness and transformation against the kind of resilience that keeps us bouncing back to old and bad habits, living in a stagnation of values and vision, domesticated to living in the corral with the herd, fenced in by the rules of should and should not….
James Carse, in his book, Finite and Infinite Games, speaks to this distinction well.

The finite game is played for the purpose of winning,
An infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

The rules of a finite game may not change;
The rules of an infinite game must change.

Finite players play with boundaries;
Infinite players play with boundaries.
There is a provocative lecture video, sponsored by The Long Now Foundation, of Mr. Carse speaking on how this distinction plays out in War and Religion. It is part of their Seminars About Long Term Thinking (SALT) series and worth the time it takes to listen.
About 57 minutes into the video however, in response to a question, Mr. Carse speaks about the role of poets as players of these games. And with a disturbing eloquence, he speaks about poets, as players of infinite games, being our hope for the future. I rate it as ‘must listen,’ particularly for poets, writers, and artists of all stripes.
You can also read a synopsis by Stewart Brand here.

3 Comments

  1. fatfinch

    07/13/2008 at 10:56 pm

    The Carse quote reminds me of Calvinball, an infinite game played with no boundaries and one which changed constantly. Here is an example: Calvinball

  2. Larry Glover

    07/16/2008 at 3:37 pm

    What a great example!!! Thank you.
    “Except ye become as children ye shall not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
    Perhaps too, children might be one of our best ‘teachers of resilience.’

  3. Poetry of Resilience — A Film and 6 Poets « wild resiliency blog!

    01/29/2009 at 9:19 am

    […] Poetry of Resilience — A Film and 6 Poets By Larry Glover James Carse, Finite and Infinite Games, speaks about the role of poets in society. And with a disturbing eloquence, he speaks about poets, as players of infinite games, being our hope for the future. I reported on a presentation of his worth listening to in, Resiliency as a Game. […]

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