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I'm re-reading Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse. It's a slim, thinky little book made up of one hundred and one aphoristic chapters intended (I think) to make the ordinary unfold for the reader in previously unseen patterns.

I barely grasped any of it the first time through, and this time I'm doing only marginally better. It starts with:

There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other, infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

It ends with:

Infinite players are not serious actors in any story, but the joyful poets of a story that continues to originate what they cannot finish. There is but one infinite game.

And all 99 of its other parts are written in the same clear, pared-to-the-bone style, brilliant examples of simplicity in prose. The one I was reading this morning on the bus was:

The exercise of power always presupposes resistance. Power is never evident until two or more elements are in opposition. Whichever element can move another is the more powerful. If no one else ever strove to be a Boddhisattva or the Baton Twirling Champion of the State of Indiana, those titles would be powerless--no one would defer to them.

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emeraldsedai
Jan. 21st, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
Wow--you studied with Carse? That's really kind of cool.

I understand that this particular book of his doesn't reflect his personal warmth or spirituality as much as Breakfast At The Victory does, but Games seems be his most admired work.

Hey--I think I recognize your icon. "Band of Brothers" slash art?
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