People are essentially and fundamentally playful.
Maybe I like this idea because I make games for a living, but maybe not.
Maybe this is what the whole universe is about?
The universe exists entirely out of itself. There is no cause of it happening. It just is. It exists to exist.
The world is playful in its essence, because it is like a play, no concrete reason for it. This is the Zen standpoint on the meaning of our universe. We people, spawn out of the universe, we are part of it. So our purpose is the purpose of the universe.
There was a Dutch theorist Johan Huizinga who wrote a book called Homo Ludens, which means “Man the Player”.
It discusses the importance of the play element of culture and society. Huizinga makes it clear in the foreword of his book that he means the play element OF culture, and not the play element IN culture. Much can be said about play ‘in’ culture, like it’s a method of socializing, learning and bullshit like that. But wonder about the playfulness OF culture! Why does it exist? Why do people exist at all!?
The universe is playing a game. Culture exists to add more to this game. It is just more fun for it to be. In the same way we exist, because it is more fun for us to exist. It is wrong to think that this is a game being played with us or against us. For example the struggle for survival in nature. There are no winners and losers here. As I wrote, it is just there to be playful. There is no prize. Each moment of the play is there just to be there, and to be experienced.
People like to think of themselves as being separate from nature. That the world existed here by itself for thousands of years and suddenly here we come! Watch out world! Now we’re gonna do some serious damage haha!
This is just human selfishness and ego. We are nothing different than nature. There is no difference between a human and an apple.
Alan Watts liked to say “We call it an apple tree because the tree apples. And the earth peoples.”
Just as an apple tree grows apples, the Earth grows people. Human beings are a function of the current state of the universe. People are not separate from the world, they are an outgrowth of it. There is no division. We can say as Michael Jackson used to say WE ARE THE WORLD.
We are the world looking at itself. That’s why you come into existence. You are here to experience and just experiencing is in its essence playful. Because there is no real reason for it, it’s just for the fun of it.
Some of the definitions of “play”:
– To deal or behave carelessly or indifferently
– Activity engaged in for enjoyment or recreation
– A move or an action in a game
– Freedom or occasion for action
– Movement or space for movement
– To perform
– To pretend
– To flirt
The existence of the universe is an opportunity for movement and for freedom, and that makes it fun. Why are you consciously experiencing the world? It is just an opportunity for the universe to experience itself. You are the eye of the universe, looking at itself, from a point of view of a human on a little blue planet. That makes it even more interesting and fun.
Homo Ludens is a terrific idea. Everything we as people do is playful. Even seriousness is just there for fun. Also pain and other horrible things. It is like in the story of Adam and Eve. We gained knowledge of what is good and evil, so we became godlike, because from that point we had free will, we could choose on which side to be. Isn’t that fun!? I always cheer for the villains in movies. I always hope that Darth Vader wins or that the replicants won’t die in Blade Runner. It’s like this with pain, it’s there so we can have a choice. So we have more knowledge of the possibilities. That makes it more interesting.
There isn’t a real meaning to it all. There is no real meaning assigned to pain.
Christians like to say that it is noble, that pain is a spiritual path. Bollocks. I don’t even feel like explaining how stupid this is.
Scientists like to say that pain is a defense mechanism, so that when you touch a hot oven it hurts and you remember it. Fine, but what reason is there for you to EXPERIENCE IT!? Can you imagine a robot being built with heat sensors touching an oven? Now it will produce electrical signals which will make its robot arm move away, this might be interpreted as pain. Fine. But is there any concrete reason for a conscious experiencer of this pain?
Absolutely no reason for it. So also there is absolutely no reason for your existence.
Sad? Not if you look at it like this. You are just there to be. You are a person sitting in a cinema watching the movie. It’s a roller-coaster ride, built for self-amusement…
I have to quote Bill Hicks at this point:
“The world is like a ride at an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think its real because that’s how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills, and its very brightly coloured , and its very loud and its fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time, and they begin to question – is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us. They say, ‘Hey! Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride…
…and we kill those people.“
So… HAVE FUN!