Life as Play -- by Dunja and Ljubodrag Simonovic [from their book 'A New World is Possible']
[Here's the latest from one of the great philosophers of our time, Ljubodrag 'Duci' Simonovic--that he's a great sports hero, too, makes Simonovic's work that much more interesting, authentic and endearing to me. It has been incredibly difficult (yibega!) to get this English adaptation of the Serbo-Croatian original sorta right--not that I'd presume this edition is anywhere close to being really right--but to get a just balance between his voice (which I have carried around in my head, yibega, since I met him at the first ICDSM meeting in Belgrade's Sava Center, October 2001) and the finely honed and discretely delineated ideas about saving what most of us have pretty much written off as hopeless: the future of the human species.
Now, Play is something I've always been interested in and done, for better or worse, all my life--I'm nearly 62 and have never stopped playing long enough to grow up and get a real job--right now I'm in Lodz, in Poland, playing King Lear in a polyglot production, a reconsideration of Shakespeare's fattest tragedy, Cut To The Brains, conceived and directed by my old homeboy, sports codependent and crimey, Steppling, in the cadre of the Polish Natl Film School--but Simonovic has something much more intricate and essential in mind than the foolery we aged children get up to. His Play is more like an essential, liberating and life-sustaining force.
So here, Red Star Belgrade's shiningest star indicates that the human (and humane) imaginative spark, though faint and badly deprived of the oxygen of hope, has not yet been totally extinguished. The murderous destruction that currently sustains global waste capitalism--and that we've been forced to accept as our obvious daily bread--can only be halted, and humanity redeemed, if we return to the ancient pursuit of liberation through the search for and practice of physical, intellectual, and (if you will, yibega!) spiritual grace.
I never saw Simonovic play, but I got a feeling he was poetry in motion. --mc]
Extract from the book “A New World is Possible”, by Dunja and Ljubodrag Simonovic, Belgrade (Serbia & Montenegro). E-mail: email@example.com.
LIFE AS PLAY
Freedom is the essence of play. In a world in which there is no freedom, free play is not possible. Only libertarian play – as an integral part of the social (political) movement that tends to create the new world – is a possibility. It has a tendency to liberate Man's playing being by superseding the ruling relations and the repressive normative confinement which are a part of the prevailing play-forms that are in fact a way of letting off the steam of non-freedom, and as such represent "chain rattling". On the contrary, regardless of its intention, play is being reduced to the creation of space for an illusory "happiness" within the existing world, where man hopelessly seeks to discover his own mislaid humanity – and sinks deeper and deeper into the mud of despair. Libertarian physical culture does not campaign for "free play" but for free Man, that is, for a new society within which free play will represent the utmost (self)accomplishment of Man as a universal creative and free being. Genuine play is attainable solely by superseding the existing world, that is, by totalizing the world through Man’s libertarian and creative practice, and in that context through the turning of life itself into a creation of his playing being. One does not arrive directly from libertarian play to the genuine play through the use of new forms of player proficiency, but by way of the society within which Man has achieved freedom. True play is a result of the libertarian struggle that generates the new world.
The most important characteristic of libertarian play is life-creativeness. Destruction is a totalizing life power of capitalism; life-creativeness is a totalizing life power of Man. As distinct from the animal which is unconscious of its natural life-creation ability (procreation), Man is a self-conscious life-creating being that creates its own world. The essence of the animal’s life-creativeness is determinism; the essence of human life-creativeness is freedom. Man’s playing being represents the anthropological basis of his life-creativeness, and play is the supreme form in which the life-creative nature of Man is realized. The “major” religions have also acknowledged the life-creativity principle. Development of Man’s self-consciousness as a creative being and creator of (his own) world represents the basis for the theory of the world as a “divine creation”. “God” is a symbolic incarnation of creative powers alienated from Man, a manifestation of Man’s independence from nature and the placing of human powers “above” those of nature. By means of the idea of “God”, Man becomes an autonomous creative power and, in that sense, a specific (unique) cosmic being: creation of the world is a conscious and willful act. Historically, Man has been in subordinated to the (real or imaginary) universe of a metaphorical and politically instrumental nature that serves as means for obtaining eternalness for the ruling order. Human life-creativeness is imaginary: creation of imaginary consciousness becomes compensation for depriving Man of the ability to create the earthly world in his own image. Capitalism has degenerated and instrumentalized Man’s life-creating powers: they now serve to preserve the capitalist order that destroys both life and Man as a life-creating being. Libertarian play is guided by the spirit of life-creating pantheism: all that lives and creates possibility for life should become a unique life-creating being struggling against capitalism.
Libertarian play requires visionary consciousness of a utopian nature. It represents the supreme form of Man’s change-creating practice by which the objective possibilities of freedom, established within a civil society, become realistic possibilities for Man’s liberation. This affirmation of Man’s life-creating powers is accomplished by the surmounting of civilization’s barriers and diversions. The life-creating power becomes the basis of the self-creation of both man and society as a community of life-creating beings. Man used to be a toy in the hands of “superhuman” powers; it is necessary that he become a free playing being, while life in its entirety should become a form of affirmation of his own playing nature. The basic relation, though, is not one of play/player, but of society as a community of free men – Man as a universal free creative being. The moment when Man becomes a self-conscious and unique life-creating being is when the true history of humankind begins. Play per se does not contain what-is-yet-to-be, for this is not what defines its utopian nature; it is a specificity of man as free self-creating being: man is not what he is but what he can be.
Space and time
Man lives in inhuman time and in inhuman space. His attitude towards time and space is given by the ruling order. In the contemporary world capital is the master of both time and space. This goes for the capitalist determination of time, in a context of the capitalist totalizing of the world by repressive and destructive commercialization (“Time is money!”), which turns the world into a labor-consumer concentration camp. An “objectification” of time has taken place: time as a virtual or abstract phenomenon becomes a power of destiny (“It’s a matter of time!”, “Time will tell!”…). The speed of capitalist reproduction conditions the dynamics of social life. Using science and technology as means for acceleration of the profit-making process, capital increasingly “diminishes” human existential and spiritual space and at the same time creates a growing gap between people, one that is not measurable in meters, but in a feeling of loneliness and despair that has reached epidemic proportions. Acceleration of capitalist reproduction makes human time, which represents the duration of life, run out more and more quickly.
“Measuring of time” in sports is a typical example of the instrumentalization of “physical” time and space in order to overmaster Man. In sport, space and time are given dimensions, independent from Man. This relates to closed space and to definitive time: upon this ground, and within this framework, basic relationships and basic values of the existing world are being reproduced. Sport is an area where quantitative and mechanical “mastering” of time and space are most perceptible, one of the major features of “technical civilization” used by capital to turn natural forces into a vehicle for the destruction of human time and space. In sport, Man exists outside of biological and historical (cultural) time and finds himself in an area of mechanical time. “Sport time” is a phenomenal form in which the process of capitalist reproduction pulsates: development of capitalism conditions the “openness” of sport time and of sport space. This is the essence of record-mania. In sports where “competing against the chronometer” dominates, results are not being measured only in minutes, but in seconds, tenths and hundredths of a second. From the point of view of the development of human powers, such improvements are nonsensical and of an abstract value for Man. There is an endeavor to preserve the dominant principle citius, altius, fortius at any cost, and, along with it, the belief in the “progressive” nature of the ruling order. Consequently, the “history of sport” is being reduced to a sequence of numbers that increase in a linear manner, and to which names of un-personalized “champions” are adjoined. Sport “progress” does not represent a moving forward, but is reduced to limitless and increasingly intensive circular movement that occurs on the sport track, which is supposed to halt history and hinder Man’s striding away from the existing world. The record is not an expression of the development of human powers but represents a quantum of destruction of Man as a biological and cultural being. The “quality of play” is being measured by the quantity of occurrences per time unit (scores, points, passes, jumps, sprints…). Spaces of some future time are not being developed in sports. Instead, the ruling relations are being reproduced, at a higher quantitative level. A sports spectacle represents a symbolic form of complete integration of Man into capitalist time and space. The Olympiads (the “holy” four-year period ending with the Olympic Games) represent a mythological time that annuls historical time in order to attain “eternity ” for capitalism: modern Olympic Games are a reincarnation of the “immortal spirit of antiquity”.
Motion through space is the basis of the (existential, libertarian, visionary) relation of Man to space, from whence a notion of space derives, as well as the creation of the concept of space which surpasses the directly perceived and experienced living space, and represents the ground for creation of the notion of “world” and of the existence of us, humans, in it. It represents the basis of Man's uniqueness and of his libertarian self-consciousness. What differentiates human motion from mechanical and animal motion is the fact that it requires a change-aspiring relation towards the existing world and a moving toward new worlds, which means that it possesses a creative, libertarian and visionary dimension. It is a historical motion - the essence of which represents freedom measured by development (accomplishment) of Man's playing being and by an increased certainty of human survival. Space is not a given fact that defines the framework of playing, neither is it an emptiness in which the world exists. It represents a possibility of creation of a new world and is, as such, a symbol of Man’s openness toward the future. The creation of life and life itself become inseparable contents of time, the "measure" of its "duration", of the "boundaries" and of the "dimensions" of space.
Through playing, man ceases his existence in the given time and space and creates his own (human) time and space. "Expansion of space" results from Man's creative practice, opening possibilities for the development of humanness. In authentic play, space is limitless and time is endless. The challenge shifts from the variety of outer world forms toward the richness of the inner, creative, interpersonal... Through playing, the duality of the "outer" and the "inner" is abolished: genuine creativity represents a "transformation" of the world into an experience of humanness. The real world is what Man carries inside and what he creates together with other men. In this sense play becomes "fascination", a sense of life taken to the extreme – through experience based on the creation of life - instead of evasion as a compensation for a deprived humanness. The "duration" of playing time and the "dimensions" of the space are conditioned by a flourishing of the senses and emotions, by human closeness and creative life... "Comprehension" of humanness is the basic and the sole authentic "dimension" of human time and space. It requires the annulment of all forms that mediate between man and world, forms that transform the world into "otherness". Attainment of Man's playing being becomes the "source" of playing time and space. Playing, which is the most authentic human mode for totalizing the world, becomes a "metamorphosis" of historical time and space into "purely" human time and space, and, in that sense, a specifically human universe. Fantasy represents an essential aspect of human time and space, not as an escape from the existing world and daydreaming, but as a projection of a future world and the creation of novum. It is, anyhow, a sort of time that has no quantitative dimensions, no comparison that annuls all humanness. Man’s becoming a human being is the authentic content and the authentic measure of human time.
With the expulsion of Man from nature and the creation of a surrogate "natural space" in the form of cities, halls, stadiums, shopping malls – physical motion loses the uniqueness and steadiness that it can have solely within a natural environment, and becomes a phenomenal form of the ruling relations. Libertarian play inclines toward a genuine natural space. Instead of creating special spaces for physical exercise, the way it used to be in antiquity (stadiums, hippodromes, gymnasiums, palestras) which are assigned the status of cult sites where, through physical agonic activities, men tend to achieve a harmony with the cosmic order and to elicit divine erotic enchantment – nature itself should become a cult site where the life-creating cult would be worshiped through life-creating activism that enhances the natural through development of Man's playing being. Genuine naturalness, in a word, authentic motion, is possible exclusively in nature, which for Man represents not only a physical, but also a historical, esthetical, living, and visionary space – which means that nature is the sole space in which man can experience the wholeness of his own natural, human, and historical existence. Nature “enters” Man by means of motion. When man steps into the water and starts swimming, this experience not only sets the basis for other bodily activities, but it also influences the development of his senses and opens new spiritual spaces – which becomes the basis for the development of the creative imagination; his perception of the possible is being completed through his ability to move; he actively realizes a contact with nature and atones with his own natural being. Richness of the inner life-creating impulses can be experienced and refined in the space where life thrives in innumerable and astonishing forms. Senses react to the swinging of branches, the quivering of leaves, to the richness of sounds, scents, colors… When he finds himself in a glade full of flowers or by a mountain stream, Man finds out that he is fascinated. A spontaneous, authentic human reaction – fascination, that reason accepts with surprise and unease. Man does not disappear within the richness of natural forms and motions, the way it happens to the animal; instead, he becomes a human being. His rapport with nature occurs through personal experience that becomes a creative and motivating inspiration contributing to the further enrichment of his personality. Man’s need for free physical activism should be also comprehended as a need to go beyond the environment in which he, as a man, is encumbered. In that sense Man perceives a “return to nature” as existence within a space that is neither given nor defined with artificial boundaries, but in which he can, over and over again, create new horizons by means of his own physical and spiritual activity. For Man, natural space is at the same time spiritual space; physical motion is at the same time spiritual motion. When human sight perceives mountaintops protruding through the mist, this represents a symbolic “fusion” with the world that exists “beyond”, and that becomes an imaginary space of desired humanness – the vision of which is an inspiration for the creation of the new world, and not for escape from the existing one. At the same time, a sip of fresh mountain water develops Man’s longing for a life in which he would exist at one with nature and, thus, with his own natural being. Nature as life-creating life, the thriving of life in an extreme variety of forms and the unity of all forms of life – induces Man to create life. Hilarity, fascination, exaltedness – these are all erotic reactions stimulated by a stay in nature. When Man’s senses are better developed he can experience nature more intensively, absorb its scents, sounds, colors, motions, merge with nature more completely and more intensively and be nourished by its power. Being in unity with nature means being in unity with one’s own primary life-creating powers. Replenishing the power of nature represents an inspiration for creative activism, not for the adaptation of Man to the established (life) rhythm. Living nature “never repeats, but renews”. However, it does not represent a mere surrender to the rhythm of life which then acquires an abstract, mystical aspect: Man is the creator of his own world. Only when fear of nature (through mastering its rules) is eliminated and the esthetic sense (playing being) developed, does Man attain a chance to experience the richness of natural forms as creative, libertarian inspiration. In authentic play man comprehends and experiences himself as the utmost form of life-creating natural being.
With animals adaptive-existential activity dominates. In the course of the struggle for survival, a qualitative jump occurred in the development of living creatures, in the form of Man: with the development of instincts, senses, physical mobility, and of the intellect, the development of creative powers took place – which became the basis for the “detachment” of Man from nature and for setting up an active (change-aspiring) relationship with nature. While creating a civilization Man has not developed his own playing nature “inherited from animals”, but has developed his own specific playing being which continuously “breaks through” the limits imposed on him, in the form of an established “play”, by the ruling order. There is no continuity of animal play in the play of Man. A similarity of behavior between some animal species and man does exist – based on which Huizinga made the wrong conclusions. Through playing, man does not confirm his animal nature, but his human nature – becomes Man (unique personality), while the animal through “playing” becomes an animal (a member of the species). Engendering (one’s own) freedom is the essence of Man’s play, unlike animal play where natural exigency is being reproduced. Creation of play as a symbolic form, which as such represents the highest point of humanness, provides human play with a special aspect. Apart from this, unlike animal play, human play tends toward creation of new worlds, which means that it has a visionary disposition. There is no “tenseness” between animal and civilization, upon which philosophy of play insists; this “tenseness” exists between Man’s libertarian and creative nature and the repressive/destructive capitalist civilization.
Man’s body represents his immediate nature, his elementary and natural existence, and the basic possibility for his achieving a unity with Nature, his “un-organic body” (Marx). A distinction should be made between civilizing and cultivating the body; between disciplining and humanizing the body; between the repressive and the libertarian pedagogy… In sport the body is civilized “by means of discipline”; libertarian physical culture endeavors to humanize the body by means of cultivation: free physical development requires free development of the personality. In sport, the body is molded, which means it is systematically mutilated in order to achieve the imposed prototype that incarnates the principle upon which the ruling order is based. Sport and physical exercise do not just nurture the body; they nurture Man. A relationship to the body is in effect a relationship of Man to other people, to the world and his own self as a man. Man as a universally creative being “corresponds” to a creative body. Instead of acquiring skills for performing certain motions (exercises), attaining abilities to create motions, the meaning of such a body and of such abilities as enable the articulation of a creative (playing) personality of Man – this represents one of the most significant challenges for libertarian play. In playing, the dynamics of biological rhythm obtain a human, and consequently, cultural, that is, libertarian (visionary) dimension. The rhythm of motion becomes a spontaneous expression of Man’s creative pulse and, as such, a non-replicable indicator of humanness, its “sign mark”. In lieu of the ideal of strength, speed, rigor (which are oriented toward the creation of a liege/performer nature and consciousness that should eventually bring about the turning of Man into “lethal flesh” and a vehicle for destruction of life) the challenge should shift toward mobility, softness, coordination, self-control, intention, spirituality, tremulousness, motion toward man and nature, harmonious development of the entire body – which corresponds to Man’s universal creative potentials and to his human (individual) complexity. Creative mobility is a basic aspect of a healthy body. It requires surpassing of the artistic motion as a way of producing artistic forms and sensual effects (object, color, sound…), and affirmation of the genuine playing motion that represents a creation of humanness in an immediate form. Physical movement becomes an expression of Man’s playing nature, which means that its essence consists of Man’s motion toward another. Man’s relationship with his own body, as an immediate nature, is possible exclusively by means of another human being.
Development of a universal creative body and of lavishness of motion is the basic condition for development of mind, Man's libertarian and creative personality – which is one of the key objectives of the libertarian play. This represents an essential difference between physical culture and sport, which requires an ever earlier specialization that disfigures not only the body, but also the mind. Rousseau was one of those who perceived the existence of the conditioning linkage between the development of sense-based mobility skills and the intellect. From there derives one of his most significant pedagogical instructions: "Exercise incessantly his body; endeavor to make your scholar strong and healthy, so that he can be clever and intelligent; let him work and act, let him run and shout, in a word, let him be constantly in motion. Let him primarily be Man per strength and he will shortly be Man per intellect." In his developmental psychology Piaget has indicated the fact that sense-based mobility represents the first stage of the development of the intellect: based on concrete action-related operations the body attains knowledge that represents the foundation of the whole of cognitive development. From there derives a conclusion that stereotypical models of motion limit the development of intellect. Imposing a defined model of behavior at the same time represents the infliction of a defined model of thinking (which means stereotyping and maiming the mind), but also of interpersonal relations, the concept of the world and his position towards the world. This is most clearly expressed in Coubertin's "utilitarian pedagogy" which represents a modern Procrustean bed. It should not be forgotten that "physical education", which dominated in the 20th century, was generated in the grayness of the military gymnasiums and was, thus, limited to mere physical drill. Libertarian play represents an integral part of the overall culture of Man as a universal freedom-creating being. There is no cultivated body without a cultural man – there is no free motion without a free man. The intention of libertarian play is not to limit and deform Man's instinctive actions through aggressive exercise, nor to create valves for their release in the form of violent and destructive behavior, but to help those actions attain their refined expression while respecting Man's individual personality. It is, therefore, not a matter of developing a model of (physical) motion that should be imposed on Man, but of encouraging the creation of motions that would enable each individual to express his own specific and non-repeatable personality.
Creation and imitation should be distinguished. Like many other "naturalists", Hebert rejected the emancipating heritage of the physical culture and reduced body motion to behavior imitation of the Brazilian Indians. Instead of humanizing the body and the body’s motion through the cultural (emancipating) heritage of modern society, "naturalizing" the body and its motion occurs through re-introduction of "primitive" motions which represent spontaneous expressions of its original naturalness, and are not limited by any imposed stereotypes that destroy Man's vitality – as happens with the aristocratic and Christian physical cultures. What we have here goes for copying the motions of the Indians, who are reduced to being "savages", taken out of their original historical environment (living conditions, hunting, war, religion, customs...) and are, thus, deprived of their cultural contents, and reduced to technical motions that are assigned the dimension of "naturalness". Man cannot attain his own naturalness by imitating the motions of animals or those of the natural environment, but by means of culture, in a word, by means of a creative activity in which Man’s concrete historical (social) motion towards another man dominates. Instead of "melting into nature", where Man loses individuality, development of humanness, which corresponds with creative discontent, should be the goal. Instead of immerging in the existing world, a new one should be created.
The most immediate form of nature-humanizing is body-humanizing. Outdoing the capitalist world, dominated by the dehumanization and denaturalization (robotization) of Man, requires humanization of Man's natural being (which at the same time represents his own naturalizing), in a word, liberation of the body (nature) from the destructive ruling order, and asserting the humanized original natural motion aimed at Man within which the libertarian creative essence of Man is being expressed. "Immerging in nature" is an illusory opposite to "technical civilization". What occurs here, in fact, represents Man's immerging in the existing world at a "lower" level of civilization – the way it happens with physical culture of the far East where Man as an emancipated personality, which, as such, in his position towards the world, tends to create a new world in his own human (libertarian and creative) image - does not exist. "Naturalism" is an off course in a struggle against the "technical world". The humanization of natural motion and not naturalizing of the technical motion is what we are talking about here. "The liberating transformation of nature" (Marcuse) requires artistic motion, and therefore a developed artistic being. Playing a violin does not merely require attained flexibility of the fingers, hand and arm (technique of motion), but also a development of an artistic (creative) being. In that sense flexibility of the human body requires a creative body: development of the esthetic feeling represents the basis for development of sense-based motion. It is a matter of a natural motion humanized by means of the emancipating heritage that forms Man's cultural and, thus, his playing being, and which manifests itself in a relation toward repressive (destructive) behavioral forms imposed by "technical civilization". Play becomes the utmost form of Man’s "embracing" the world and his most immediate relationship toward his own natural being, and also toward nature in general. Man does not "return" to his natural being by means of play as a specific sphere, but through transforming of his entire life into a humanized natural life: "humanization of nature" is achieved through totalizing the world by means of Man's playing being.
Regarding the relation between play, on one hand, and science and technology, on the other, we are not advocating the establishment of parallel spheres, but bestowing on science and technology an artistic nature which would enable them to become the means of humanization of nature and of Man's natural being. Rousseau's "return to nature" deals with the notion of a "noble savage" in whose behavior the principle homo homini homo est dominates, and, consequently, so does the motion of Man towards another man. Voltaire ridicules Rousseau and fails to notice that his "noble savage" has a metaphorical quality and represents a critique of the distorted aristocratic world deprived of naturalness and humanness. In the same way Rousseau and the philanthropists formed their "alliance" with nature in the struggle against the ancien régime, contemporary man should form an "alliance" with nature against capitalism – only now the struggle is not merely for freedom, but for survival.
In order to be able to humanize Man's natural being by means of libertarian (life-creating) play, Man's original natural motion should be identified and respected. Libertarian play tends to enable such a passage from natural toward creative motion as will not cause negative impact on the development of a personality and become a source of frustration. This does not mean that Man should return to the water, but that he should have a notion of his own original natural motion, of the psychological and physical consequences deriving from forced adapting of his system to concrete living conditions (standing upright, walking on two legs), and he should know what he must aspire in order to be as close as possible to his own natural being. It is complete nonsense to assert that Man was in “unity with nature” a long time ago. In pre-historical times Man was merely a part of the nature. In order to merge with nature Man had to become a man, which means a self-conscious being capable of having a relation toward nature and, based on this relation, to merge with it.
His playing skills are the basic expressive option of Man's playing being, and richness of expressive possibilities represents the basic precondition of the esthetic (libertarian). It is grounded in the cultural heritage of mankind and represents the utmost form of the refined body motion. In libertarian play skill does not present itself as independent from Man, from the (objective) social sphere, but as a form of specific (individual) human expression. Skill and the way of playing do not derive from play as a separate social sphere that possesses its own mechanics of development and its own rules, but from a spontaneous, creative relationship between men, where one man is another man's inspiration for play. In this context the playing skills developed in sport (giving up the ball, dribbling, etc.) can be productive. Genuine playing skills require annulment of the technical sphere as an intermediary in fulfillment of Man's playing potential, in the context of annulment of institutional (repressive) intermediation between men. The range of creative spirituality, opulence of sensuality and of interpersonal relations based upon solidarity and tolerance – which means the fullness of Man's playing being – this represents the basis of the playing skills and playing manner. Instead of "motion control technique", body, glance and vocal conversation should be introduced... The acquiring of skills through (body) motion control requires development of human powers, of a rich and unique individuality, and, thus, the fulfillment of individual predilections, and not the pushing (destroying) of humanness into the background and adapting Man to the "model citizen" pattern. Genuine human motion is aimed at the whole lot that impedes Man's overcoming the existing world, that restricts, molds, and degrades him... Development of playing skills becomes an expression of the development of Man's universal creative (playing) powers. This represents the basis for the development of the creative physical activism that attains its expression in bodily mobility. Healthiness, spirituality, harmony of motion – all are comprised in physical mobility as a supreme spontaneous play of nerves, muscles, tendons, joints, heart, lungs... Genuine bodily motion requires a genuine engagement of the organism. This does not merely mean "the exerting of a large number of muscles", but a harmonious activity of the entire system, from whence derives the "softness" of motion which physical "elegance". The ideal of harmonious physical development corresponds to Man's creative universality. Man's prolific creative life should become the basis for the development of his playing skills. No free and contented personality can exist if Man does not liberate his body and his motion from destructive capitalist civilization. The supremacy of libertarian and creative (playing) motion should be established, and this motion turned towards Man and the living world (nature) that has no intermediary but represents Man's genuine necessity for other men. Development of playing skills is being manifested as openness toward the future, as creation of novum, and not as "improvement" of the playing model that represents a ritual expression of submissiveness to the ruling order, within which Man is being reduced to a mechanical doll. The most important task of libertarian play is to enable physical motion, through the development of Man's artistic being, to become the playing motion by means of which Man will attain "unity" with himself as an undivided creative being, and society will become a playing community. Schiller's position "education by means of art is education for art" is one of the most significant postulates of the libertarian play, for education by means of libertarian play is education for the free society. Regarding the universal grammar of motion (skills), it provides possibilities for establishing of a comprehensive approach to body exercise, however, at the same time it enables creation of an artificial body language which is more of a technical (strictly defined motions, repetition, "objectivity" of the form being developed as an area alienated from Man, space defined in advance...) than of a cultural nature. Instead of assigning a defined model of body and motion, which is, in essence, of a repressive nature, a spontaneous motion which is an expression of Man's playing being, should be strived for: richness of motion is conditioned by richness of the playing personality and by development of interpersonal relations.
Human motion cannot be perceived merely from a technical or organic (purely medical) aspect. Not solely the body, but also Man as a historical and social being plays a part in the motion. The relations of men with other men, the world, nature, the future... is comprised in it. Giving up the ball is not an action of throwing an object from one position to another that has an "objective" form and technical character, but is a humanized (by means of cultural heritage) motion of one man toward another and, as such, represents establishing human community in an immediate form. This is what constitutes its concrete historical (social) nature and endows it with a "soul". Play is not an immediate relation of Man to himself, but requires the existence of a playing community of emancipated, creative personalities where the motion of Man towards another man dominates, and where homo homini mirrors humanness. Therefore, development of interpersonal relations represents a conditio sine qua non of play. The playing disposition is a potential human disposition that can be actualized exclusively within a community of free and creative personalities. Play is a result but, at the same time, also a supreme spontaneous form of Man's self-creation and a supreme mode for generating society as a community of free people. The spontaneity of play requires an emancipated personality. If this is lacking, the effort to express uniqueness leads towards extremism, narcissism, aggression, destruction... Richness of personality is a basic precondition for opulence of interpersonal relations and vice versa. Each new friendship opens up a new human space inside Man, develops his sense of humanness, in the same way a developed esthetic sense provides opportunity for distinction in music or painting, experiencing and creation of an abundance of tones, forms and colors. It is essential to develop a communal spirit while developing, and not destroying, individuality. The immediate goal of libertarian play is not to produce records, improve playing techniques, develop the play as a normative sphere and create a healthy body, but to create a healthy society within which creative personalities will be developed.
Man's need for another is the basic quality of this life-creating being. Therefore, Man's motion towards another, as a humanized motion of a live being toward another live being, represents the essential motion of Man as a specific natural being, and as such represents the basis of life-creation. Eros, as a synthesized live-creating energy, is the most important source of Man's motion toward another, based upon which life as a playing act can be developed. Love play between man and woman is the supreme form of play where the unrestricted playing being is expressed, in other words: "production" of humanness in the most immediate form. It represents the supreme form of humanization of Man's natural being. Life-creativeness represents the essence of erotic union with the nature and basis of erotic play. Without it, enjoyment in the erotic relationship is compensational, which means of an adaptive nature. Already in antiquity, in the homosexual (pedophilic) relationship, sterilization of Man's (society's) life-creating ability occurred, by means of partition of the erotic from the naturally reproductive (fertile). In the homosexual relationship Eros loses its life-creative disposition and turns into an anti-existential principle. Narcissistic, homosexual and lesbian Eros represent a clash with Man's natural life-creativeness and, therefore, with the likelihood of the erotic as a humanized natural relationship. The option of love play as the life-creating play between genders is being abolished, and the life-creating sexual relation is being reduced to technical fertilization of women – to technical production of children.
Play as a form
Philosophy of the play does not make a clear distinction between Man's playing nature, playing and play. Play is a form in which playing occurs and, as such, the way of manifestating Man's playing being. A distinction should be made between playing as fulfillment of Man's playing being (playing act) and play as behavior in accordance with the imposed norms. Play as a normative constraint has no tendency toward the improvement of Man and of interpersonal relations, but tends to reduce ("discipline") him to the model of a usable citizen (subject). It is a matter of endeavoring to preserve the ruling order and to reduce Man to the "dimension" which corresponds to that order. The ruling historical forms of play are behavioral forms deprived of humane (playing) contents, alienated from man. They are reduced to a behavioral model that is in fact a form of play in which the ruling relations are being manifested. Playing is reduced to the endeavor most consistently to imitate the assigned model of play, of which the rules should not be violated at any cost. Therefore, the play's "unchangeableness" becomes its crucial feature. The ideal of "perfection", by means of which "cultural" legitimacy and an infinity of the ruling forms of play are provided, is reduced to the complete submission of Man to the rules of play, as well as to the imposed esthetic pattern – which represents the "stage set" of the ruling order. Man's longing for another is being mediated by relations that estrange Man from other human beings and reduce him to the role imposed on him. A typical example is the "sport play": it becomes a mechanism by means of which Man is made to express other men's non-liberty. The intellectual sphere cannot be Man's compensation for the senseless life he lives, in the same way the love song cannot be a substitute for a lack of human closeness. Instead of endeavoring to define the notion of genuine life, which always occurs as a response to false life, the genuine human life should be lived.
Libertarian play does not strive for the creation of new forms of play, in a word, for assigning a normative constraint, but for the development of Man's playing being. Specificity and irreplicability, which derive from the specificity and irreplicability of Man as a creative personality, dominate. Instead of the development of play as a separate social area, we should have a propensity for development of the playing disposition "inside Man" and, on that basis, for establishing society as a playing community, where (potentially) each form of human activity represents at the same time a form of expression of his playing being. Libertarian play endeavors to annul the fragmented man that has been decomposed in accordance with the requirements of the fragmented world, where the requirement of "synthesis" is reduced to the development of technical expressions that should impress with a lavishness of color, sound and form and become a "compensation" for an increasingly impoverished humanness. It is a matter of superseding the world divided into the world of "misfortune" and the world of “happiness”, and a matter of "restitution" of Man's powers from alienated social spheres and of establishing the human Ego as an integral source of Man's relations toward the world as whole.
The form libertarian play does not represent a limitation, but an opening of possibilities for development of Man's playing nature and in that sense only one of the expressions of his creative nature: the development of forms of play is an expression of the development of Man's creative (playing) powers. It is not an issue of the form as an imposed pattern of behavior, and in that sense an ideal of "perfection", but of the form as a spontaneous and non-replicable expression of the specific moment in the Manifestation of Man as playing being which is symbolic of the libertarian and visionary. The "encounter" of men by means of the pure (esthetic) forms is a clash between soap bubbles. In a repressive society play as a form represents a repressive normative confinement that impedes the fulfillment of Man's authentic playing being. The endeavor to get through to the essence of humanness and to "catch" it by fixing human existence at the level of certain forms, structures, spiritual formations – inevitably leads toward preservation of the world in which such forms and structures are possible. The expression of play has to be of such a nature as to enable Man to realize his own playing being. Genuine creativity does not go for the creation of playing forms, but for the enrichment of the human personality and development of interpersonal relations. Play is neither a transcendental nor a trans-subjective, but an immanent and inter-subjective phenomenon: it is an immediate interpersonal relation and, as such, represents the supreme form of establishing a society as a community of free persons, in a word, the creation of the humanum in the untainted sense. Commitment to play means a struggle for the fulfillment of Man's necessities and abilities for play, and not just becoming skilled and imitating the imposed model of play – which appears as the "supreme human challenge". Instead of play as "cultural form" representing the basic possibility of playing, there is Man as a cultural (playful) being: the authenticity of play is the expression of the authenticity of Man. Play is not a criterion for determining a playing disposition and playing, reduced to the transcendental normative form, but the free realization of human playing (universally creative) powers. Play is the supreme and the most immediate form of experiencing the world through creating it, which means that it represents the most immediate and the most authentic form of Man's becoming human. In genuine play the dualism of the “being” (Sein) and the “ought” (Sollen) has been dissolved. Nothing is earlier than Man, above Man or exterior to Man. The so called "universally human" does not exist outside of Man any more (as an imposed or transcendental sphere); it is no longer the image of the "man" for which Man longs and exclusively within which he can distinguish "his own (human) look" – but Man as a free and dignified person becomes the creator and the "image" of humanness. Instead of the "perfection" model, the free man becomes a source of the esthetic inspiration: freedom is the substance of beauty. Schiller indicated the correct path: instinct for play is the instinct for freedom. Playing turns into the awakening of the lethargic (deterred) playing being, "enlivening" the senses, surmounting anxiety and shedding the snakeskin of the (petit) bourgeois. Instead of giving vent to the deterred being, spontaneity in play requires breaking through the barriers that constrain Man. What develops the playing disposition is not play per se, but humanness that developes as Man faces limitations, misfortune, and challenges imposed by life. A rich creative life is the basic precondition for the development and enhancement of the playing being. Genuine play is the expression of an extended horizon of the freedom achieved, an expression of enthusiasm for life, the supreme form of manifestation of Man's life-creating powers. Enjoyment in play derives from contentment with the engagement of life; interpersonal closeness in play is possible exclusively because of the closeness acquired in the process of struggle for a new world: Man's motion toward another at the same time represents Man's motion toward new worlds. The actual result of playing is not play, but Man enriched with spirit, emotions, sensuality, and enhanced interpersonal relations. The completed experience of humanness represents the "measure" of the richness of playing.
Libertarian play rejects a competition reduced to combat between people aimed at preservation and development of the ruling order, and advocates outplaying (similar to "outsinging" typical of traditional folk music) that in essence represents struggle against the established order of destruction and development of Man's universal creative powers. In outplaying, Man represents another man's inspiration, which means that Man's motion toward another is dominant in it – which is possible exclusively based on Man's need for another. In this context Rousseau's principle homo homini homo est attains its true value. Outplaying requires endeavoring to supersede what has already been achieved (for creation of the novum) through the development of interpersonal relations, and not through clashes between people based upon the socio-Darwinist principle bellum omnium contra omnes and the progressistic principle citius, altius, fortius. The principles of domination and elimination have been abolished within it and replaced by the principles of tolerance and solidarity, and all that creates life opposes whatever destroys life and restricts freedom. Instead of striving for victory and records, outplaying calls for an attempt to "enlarge" humanness and to create a new world. The key issue here is not how much, but by what means – where the starting point for defining humanness is not the repressive esthetic stereotype that tends toward "perfection", but Man himself. Development of the "quality" of play requires development of rich individuality and of interpersonal relations. In this context, the skills are not manifested in relation to Man as an independent ("objectivized") power (reduced to a dehumanized and denaturalized "playing technique"), but as specific (individual) human expression. Outplaying in the elements of play, where playing of one individual represents inspiration for the playing of another (like in traditional folk dances, jazz, love play...) creates the possibility for everyone freely to express his own playing being. Spontaneity, creativity, imagination – are expressions of the playing uniqueness, as an originally human uniqueness.
A distinction should be made between Man as play being, and Man as playing being. In the first case he represents an object, while play is the subject; in the second case he is the subject, and play is a result of the fulfillment of his playing being. Huizinga's homo ludens is not Man-player but Man-toy of superhuman forces. It is exactly the same with antique and Christian man, as well as with Nietzsche's Übermensch: he is a toy of the cosmic forces. With Fink and Gadamer the notion of play is being used to reduce Man to a phenomenological abstraction which is merely a masque behind which the concrete man, reduced to a toy of capitalism, is hiding. The emancipated playing personality requires a man as a unique life-creating being, and as such a creator of his world – and, thus, a self-creator. Through playing, the playing disposition turns into play that becomes the basis for identification of the limitations of playing and of the possibilities of its development.
In the capitalist world play is a vehicle for entangling the repressed working "masses" into the spiritual orbit of the bourgeoisie and, therefore, attains a "classless” determination – which is manifested in the well-known maxim "sport has nothing to do with politics". Libertarian play is not apolitical, but represents an inherent part of political struggle against class society. As regards Nietzsche, he perceives in play a vehicle for the creation of a "new aristocracy" in an exclusive organic (class) community. It is, instead, an issue of creating an organic community of free creative personalities by means of play. The new society cannot be created through play but through political struggle, however, there is no true political struggle if, at the same time, it does not represent a struggle for the liberation and development of Man's playing being. Schiller's fascination with play was directly encouraged by the French Revolution, which opened the gates for the new era. Likewise with Goethe, Klopstock, Fait... The struggle of the repressed and the awakened and, in that context, the belief in Man and in his ability to realize his libertarian being, provide play with a meaning. Without the struggle for the free world play becomes escapist and an empty form.
Play as a cosmic phenomenon
Play is a specific cosmic phenomenon. It is the most authentic human way of creating the human world, which means creating the new universe. In the act of playing, the process of cosmic life-creation attains a new quality – in which the specificity of Man as a cosmic being is expressed. In ancient Greece play is the basic cosmic phenomenon of a divine (metaphoric) nature and, as such, represents a symbolic incarnation of the ruling relations and values. It is the most original way for Man to integrate into the cosmic order. Man is the toy of the gods, and the world is their playground: the divine necessity for playing ensures survival of the human world and provides it with a meaning. Modern man is an emancipated cosmic being and, as such, the "nucleus" of the new universe. When Man becomes a self-conscious libertarian being, play stops being a privilege of the gods and the instrument for devaluing Man, and turns into Man's self-creation and the creation of the human universe. The essence of play is not determinism, which is fatalist in nature, but freedom.
A stance regarding the universe is a projection of the stance regarding the earthly living environment. In the contemporary world the prevailing stance regarding space (universe) is based upon the expansionist spirit of capitalism. By means of instrumentalized science and technology a "break" into the universe is going on in order to "conquer" it. Capitalistically degenerated science has the same stance regarding the universe as it has regarding the Earth: the universe has been reduced to an object of exploitation. The position of the "extraterrestrials" towards the Earth is a projection of capitalistically degenerated man's attitude towards the universe. Technology, based upon the quantity principle that corresponds to the ruling principle of capitalist reproduction (augmenting of profit), turns into the destruction of human life-creativeness as a specific form of cosmic life-creativeness. "Conquering the universe" becomes a vehicle for obtaining a legitimacy in the endeavor to supersede "traditional humankind" and to create the new (master) race of "cyborgs" that will be able to "compete" with the "intelligent machines" and to "conquer" the universe. At the same time, the myth of the "conquest of the universe" is being used for preservation of the myth of the "progressive nature" of capitalism, which is being identified with the conquest, and for creation of an illusion that technological development would ensure the survival of mankind. The way the Europeans were "discovering" the new continents, contemporary man will be “discovering the new worlds and populating them”. The Earth turns into a springboard for the conquest of space, and not into Man's cosmic home that needs to be preserved. The "conquest of space" project is based upon an assertion that the Earth will "certainly collapse", which contributes to a fatalistic surrender to destructive capitalist craving. The possibility that capitalism will destroy life on Earth is far more certain than the possibility that life on Earth will disappear – in five or ten million years. It is an issue that opens, by way of a cosmologic concept, the possibility of establishing a critical distance from the ruling order of destruction and toward creation of the new world: the stance toward the universe should function as a defense of life on Earth and of the development of humanness. The issue of the survival of humankind will be resolved on Earth, and not in space. Instead of "conquering of space" a clash with capitalism must take place in order to prevent the destruction of life on Earth.
The prevailing position toward reality, dictated by dehumanized science and technology, does not permit Man to comprehend the essence of his own human existence, and, therefore, the essence of the world he lives in, and the essence of the universe. Ancient peoples were closer to the cosmic essence of Man than the contemporary (petit) bourgeois, for they were, in spite of ignorance, prejudices, mythical consciousness – guided by symbols of a holistic nature: for them the issue of the universe was the issue of Man. Contemporary Man possesses an incomparably wider knowledge, however, the way and manner of attaining this knowledge deprive him of comprehensive humanness without which he can neither ask the right questions nor provide the right answers. The more Man knows about the universe, the more remote is the possibility for him to experience his own cosmic essence. Instead of human questions, Man asks technical ones imposed on him by capitalistically degenerated science and technology – which mutilate Man and annihilate the possibility for him to ask the significant human questions. Also, "primitive" man was conscious of what freedom and slavery were, in contrast to the "average" modern (petit) bourgeois who, being stuck in the nothingness of "consumer society" and the television screen that offers compensation in the form of an illusory world, has lost the notion of freedom. Capitalism deprives Man of his natural cultural being and transforms him into a technical vehicle for the employment of assets – a walking mechanical corpse.
Development of Man as a cosmic being is not possible on the basis of (mechanical) cosmic rules or by means of technical control of time and space, for they transform Man into a mechanical (lifeless) "being", but only by means of a quality that provides a possibility for a "union" with the universe – in which the cosmic essence of Man is included. The universe that is being created by Man is not comparable with the vastness of the cosmos. It has a qualitative, not a quantitative, dimension. Man's attitude toward the universe, which means his attitude toward himself as a cosmic being, can not be established by means of technology, but by means of the esthetic that can enable Man to supersede the quantitative dimension of the universe and reach (his own) cosmic essence. It is an issue of relating to the universe by means of symbols that enable Man, as a life-creating being, to experience the universe. By means of those symbols the phenomenal form of the universe can be superseded and his very essence can be reached – by means of which a dualism of the earthly and the cosmic existence of Man is being abolished. In that context a possibility is being created for the notion of "God" as the one, which supersedes the infinite quantum of the universe (the endless lot), where it is not an issue of "God" as a superhuman force, but of "God" as a constantly new, increasingly splendid product of the creative powers of Man that represents a symbolic incarnation of the "unity" of man with his own cosmic essence. "God" becomes Man's host in his own cosmic home. A new clarification of the notion of "God the Son" is needed: Man's life-creating power represents an autonomous cosmic force that enables Man – as a unique libertarian being - to be a creator of his own, which means of the new universe.
Man's "conquest of outer space" is being achieved through development of his playing being. This is an issue of a specific human cosmic dimension – creative freedom and sociable disposition – which means, it is of a new cosmic quality upon which space and time, that have no quantitative dimension, are based. In the physical universe, the passage of mechanical time is measured by movement through space; in the human universe, the passage of historical time is measured by the development of Man's creative powers, and eventually by his freedom. The physical universe is regulated by relations between celestial bodies (particles): the human universe is regulated by relations between human beings... Physical time is characterized by quantitative (linear) temporality: historical time is characterized by qualitative changes, which means by sudden rises. Human existence represents opposition to the cosmic laws of motion which destroy quality and reduce everything to the lowest (energy related) level (entropy). The cosmic life-creativeness is fatalistic: all that is being originated eventually disappears. Human life-creativeness is productive: all that Man creates becomes a (potential) basis for creation of the new. Solely Man is capable of creating something new, of being the demiurge of the new world.
Man will not "enter" the universe through a hole bored by a science alienated from him. Telescopes and space sounds do not direct Man toward his cosmic being; play does: the development of Man's playing being is a path that leads toward the development of his cosmic being. The key is not in the "conquest" of cosmic vastness, but in the development of spiritual richness and of interpersonal relations. It is an issue of "transformation" of the outer quantity into a human quality, of a "metamorphosis" of physical space through a widening of human space, which is not attained by means of technology, but by means of play. Cosmic space merely appears to be open. The openness of cosmic space is preconditioned by the openness of Man, which means by the development of his creative powers. Fullness of Man's creative being is what fills the cosmic vastness. A thought, a song, a painting, an embrace – tell more about the essence of Man as a specific cosmic being than do all the "space programs" combined. Finally, Man's stance toward the universe is a depiction of his stance toward his own self. The issue of infinity should be resolved in a manner that provides possibilities for Man's self-confirmation as a life-creating being. Man's unlimited creative powers are the "measure" of infinity: the enhancement of humanness represents widening of the boundaries of the new universe. The essence of the physical universe is determinism; the essence of the human universe is freedom. By means of freedom infinity attains an authentic, in a word, a human dimension. The occurrence of Man is the only truly cosmic occurrence; Man's becoming human is the only truly cosmic process.
Life as a play
In ancient Greece, the entire life of the Hellenic people was filled with agonic activities performed as a ritual service. It is a similar case with Christianity and other "great" religions: life is of a liturgical nature. In capitalism, the spirit of victory, based upon social Darwinism and progress (elimination by means of triumph that attains a better result/record), represents a totalizing power that conditions Man's life, the nature of the body, of motion. The "Sportivization" of society is a process by which the total domination of Man by the ruling order is established.
Not only play, but also the very approach to it is being dehumanized. "Bewilderment" dominates this development, for play as a form is being mediated by dehumanized and denaturalized spheres to such an extent that it is becoming a vehicle for the degeneration and destruction of humanness. Time, space, technical means... have been instrumentalized in it. Man is always present in a defined (assigned) time and space where the dynamics of the destruction of humanness (life) become more and more intense behind a masque of "elegance", "clarity", "functionality", "efficiency", "precision", "harmony", etc., in a word, through a spectacular act that makes the basic values of the ruling order non-esthetic (non-erotic). Where, in the contemporary world, the authentic position of humanness is given, Man appears as a fly in the spider’s web. Aspiring toward genuine play is not a theoretical project, but an issue of concrete political struggle. It requires the development of critical consciousness about the existing world – perception of the objective possibilities for creation of a new world and for development of the playing self-consciousness as a libertarian and creative self-consciousness; demystification of the present serves as an area where people will discover joy; development of interpersonal relations, of the artistic disposition, orientation toward nature, toward the emancipating heritage of humankind, development of the visionary consciousness... Instead of play as a form, the objective aspired to should be liberation of Man's playing being; instead of a tendency toward escapism and "distraction", the key motif of the player should be Man's life-creating necessity for another human being. Development of spontaneity does not require development of a normative consciousness, but rather the development of comprehensive humanness. Liberation of Man's playing being is the most important immediate task of libertarian play. This represents its specificity, as a form of libertarian struggle, compared to other forms of struggle. Freedom is a reasonable desire, and the awareness of a necessity is an indispensable, but insufficient, precondition for freedom. Genuine freedom does not consist of the possibility of choice between what Man can and cannot do, but between what he can – and wants or does not want to do. It is not based upon knowledge of the world, but upon the experience of Man.
The endeavor to create genuine play is not an expression of the hope to establish a separate social sphere that exists "parallel" to the "world of worry" (like Fink's "oasis of happiness"), where Man will futilely try to fulfill his playing needs and powers, but is rather an expression of the endeavor to create a truly human world where life itself represents the realization of Man's playing being. A critique of established play (world) is not the expression of an aspiration for "free play", but of an aspiration for life that manifests itself as the fulfillment of the universal creative (playing) powers of Man as an emancipated member of the human community. For libertarian physical culture play is not a separate area of life, but represents the entirety of human living within which Man strives to realize himself as a playing (libertarian/creative) being. Since living is understood as a series of interpersonal relationships, we are referring here to a totalizing man who interacts with other people proceeding not from separate areas of life (work, science, philosophy, play...) but from fundamental humanness: Man's life-creating need for another human being represents the basis of Man's motion toward another man. Life as play requires the abolishment of Man's duality as a social being and a "player", which means that Man, as a concrete social being, has realized his own playing being – which represents his original social being. The playing sensitivity is the supreme form of the realization of the sense of humanness, that is, Man's ultimate and most complex ability to experience another human being. It requires not only a creative body, but also a creative (life-creative) motion. The self-production of Man as a playing being is the highest human act and requires the (self-)production of the society as a community of free creative personalities. Man's need for another human being, from where derives Man's original playing motion toward another man, represents a genuine motif for play and the authentic basis for establishing of a society as a human community: homo homini is a mirror of humanness.
The significance of playing is not in the production of objectivity or form, but in the immediate development of humanness. The abundance of playing forms becomes the opulence of genuine interpersonal relations. By means of playing Man’s creative being is fulfilled in such a way that a need for artistic expression, as a compensation for non-expressed (non-fulfilled) humanness, is superseded. From the sphere of production of works of art by isolated individuals, who discharge their own desire for humanness through their works, play establishes the immediate relations between people, within which the opulence of Man’s playing (creative) being is realized. Play, as an interpersonal relationship, requires an emancipated man for whom “the freedom of each represents the basic precondition for the freedom of all” (Marx). This does not refer to people who know what “freedom” signifies, but to those who experience other people as their brothers, in every sense of the word. Play is the supreme form of performing humanness – the utmost human act of which the immediate result is a contented man. The attempt to preserve “humanness” in a form of normative confinement, or artistic form, is an expression of disbelief that freedom is possible at all. Replacement of the “imperfect” normative consciousness with a “perfect” one does not imply the creation of the “perfect” man. The normative sphere is not the one that should be changed. The sphere of fundamental interpersonal relations, that is, the ruling order, should be changed.
In the world that turned out to be fulfilled humanness it is futile to establish normative criteria upon which human existence is to be determined. In it, there is no more dualism of approach to Man in which the real and the ideal world are contained, which means that a model of man – a projection of life alienated from Man, has been abolished. In a society where Man is genuinely happy it is absolute nonsense to determine the ideal of “happiness”: life itself becomes the fruition of the ideal of humanness. In the same way, the “esthetic sphere” which counters the non-esthetic (ugly) world, is being abolished. Instead of the endeavor for “perfection”, that is for a constrained world, development of unconstrained humanness becomes the supreme challenge. This requires the abolition of separate spheres, including the sphere within which the novum is sought. For libertarian play homo homini represents the supreme challenge and is, as such, a mirror of humanness, and not an idealized (abstracted) “man” that represents an incarnation of the “future” society for which struggle is waged. Therefore, not an aspiration towards “the future” as an abstraction, not even as a real utopian project that confronts the existing world on an intellectual level and turns into a certain normative idea of the future, but the life-creating necessity of one man for another, that is being developed as a response to an increasingly dramatic destruction of life, becomes the basis of creative life that represents the creation of the future. In play, what Man can be is being fulfilled: Man’s becoming a human being is the criterion of genuine progress. Only when the development of his playing being becomes the “measure” of humanness will the real development of Man’s universal creative powers occur – the one that today we can merely fortell. The “tenseness” of which Marcuse speaks, will always exist, for Man will always strive to be more than he is, for he will always have a critical/transformation-aspiring attitude toward the world in which he lives trying to create a new, better one. However, the nature of this “tenseness” will be conditioned by fulfillment of two key preconditions of freedom: freedom from natural imminence (natural forces overcome) and freedom of man from man (abolition of class society and of exploitation). The third precondition for freedom still remains, liberation of Man’s universal creative powers – which will dominate in the future society and which requires humanization of nature and development of interpersonal relations. “Tenseness” in play does not result from the development of the theoretical mind, but from Man’s endeavor to realize his own freedom and his own creative universality – through the superseding of forms of play in which limitations imposed on Man by the existing order are manifested. Aspiration toward play, in its essence, represents endeavor for the free expression of humanness, basically, it is the supreme form of determination for being Man – creation of humanum in an elemental form. Freedom, creativity, humanized naturalness and sociability – these are the characteristics of playing, in a word of playing and of play. Man’s authentic nature is a genuine origin of authentic play.
With the introduction of automation, conditions are being established for abolishing repressive and degenerating work-related activities, and for instituting creative work that offers opportunities for the development of Man’s playing being and, thus, possibilities for refinement of Man’s natural being. On the basis of creative work, which can only result from libertarian struggle, and cannot represent a mere consequence of the development of technical processes, division of work between intellectual and physical, as well “private” and “public” zoning, in a word, the institutionalized political powers alienated from Man - can be eventually abolished. When the rule of creative work is instated the most important causation for dual perception of the world as the “world of worries” (labor, suffering, misfortune), and the “world of happiness” (illusory “play”) disappears. Work becomes not only the “primary life necessity” (Marx), but also the primary human necessity, and play ceases to be a compensatory activity and becomes the supreme form of Man’s spontaneous creative self-realization and the supreme form of interpersonal closeness. Only when work stops being an activity where man is alienated from himself as a creative and libertarian being; when the dualism of homo faber and homo ludens is abolished with a creative man; when creative work becomes affirmation of human freedom: only then can Man’s playing being be liberated from all forms of compulsions – only then does true play become possible. It is an issue of the attainment of “unity” between the playing being, playing and play – in a free, spontaneous and creative endeavor, that is, of play as a realization of the playing disposition through a creative effort – through comprehensive self-creation of Man (human community). With creative work Man renders not only his own existence, but at the same time generates himself as a creative and social being. Creative collectivism represents the basis of playing collectivism.
Instead of the martial contests that dominate sport, life-creating competition should be introduced, based upon outplaying, where there are no winners and no vanquished, and where a physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually enriched man is being created. A consequence of outplaying is not the removal of the “weak” and the triumph of the “strong”, but a humanized man, an individual who experiences his own self in his own way, developing his own individuality. Instead of immerging inside himself, Man should aspire toward the enrichment of the contents of interpersonal relations. This is exactly where the apex of the genuine life creating practice that generates a society as a human community is being manifested – with Man’s turning into a human being. Life as play means that creation of interpersonal relations is the supreme manifestation of the playing disposition: Man’s social being becomes his fulfilled playing being. Play represents the making of the society as a playing community in the most immediate sense, which means that living becomes an artistic act, and life a work of art. The joy of creative fulfillment, attaining true respect through companionship (playing) is manifested in an attitude toward “ecstasy” which is, in the existing world, the supreme form of exhibition of slavery as an imitation of “spontaneity”. Physical and spiritual activism, without which no play exists, requires creative effort: creative activism determines the rhythm of play. It is aimed at establishing and developing interpersonal relations and represents the basis for attaining (self) respect. Play turns into midwife skills – delivering humanness through creative labor, that is, through the most immediate form of Man’s self-creation. The specificity of play as creativeness is in its being based upon Man’s spontaneous, unconditioned and unmediated necessity for another human being. Genuine play is based upon authentic love developed in a creative (libertarian) exaltation, unlike petit bourgeois love which originates in the context of struggle for money and power where, rather than human symbols, status symbols which incarnate prevailing values are dominant. The development of a necessity for Man, true belief in Man, opening new spiritual spaces, development of creative personality – these are all inducements for genuine play. Homo homini becomes the supreme challenge, instead of being reduced to a vehicle for fulfillment of pathological “needs” imposed by capitalist civilization. The experiencing of Man always reappears as an option of the new, more complete, more beautiful… Human nearness becomes the source of life’s warmth. Co-living has no temporal and spatial dimension, only a human one. Instead of being an escape from nothingness, play becomes an eruption of unrestrained humanness.
Through playing, the world is being abolished as outer-human reality and becomes Man's self-existence. The variety of the outer world forms is not a challenge anymore but is being replaced by the opulence of the inner, the interpersonal... The world is what Man carries inside himself and what he can establish together with other people. Authentic creativeness is "transformation" of the outer world into an experience of human intensity, happiness... Instead of the world of misfortune as a negative basis for play, which is, therefore, an expression of a hopeless attempt to escape from the society, the world of happy people will become the ground and inspiration for the development of a rich playing personality. Genuine play is not merely Man's supreme intellectual relation with the world; it does not only represent Man's self-knowledge and self-expression, but also his self-creation, and is, as such, the most comprehensive form of experiencing the world. No more will Man live in a world he refers to as something (im)posed and outer-human (alien). Instead, he will perceive the world as his own creation, in a word, as his manifested (and not "infested") humanness. This is not an issue of simulated totalizing of the world by means of simple subjectivism, as is the case with romanticism, but of totalizing the libertarian/creative activism of which the main "product" is a society as a community of free people. Playing becomes the supreme form of "appropriation" of the world by Man, which eventually represents the "appropriation" of himself with "no residue". Man will not attain "unity" with the world through labor, technology, play, art... – but will make the world: creation of the world will become Man's self-creation; "unity with the world" will become "unity" of Man with another human being. The development of Man as a universal free creative being and the enhancement of interpersonal relations will become the "measure" of development of the world. Life itself will become the supreme symbol of humanness.
In the world of freedom the real value will be attributed to poetic expression, which will also imply the body-talk. In that sense, not language, but play becomes the supreme form of establishing human society. Instead of living the life of the chosen, as it is with Nietzsche, the acme of life will represent living life as free, creative people; instead of the aristocratic class as an organic community united by parasitism and by existential fear of the laborers, the supreme challenge will be the society as an organic community of free creative personalities; instead of the need to suppress repressive normative confinement and the repressive esthetic canons (by means of which the elitist class status is determined), Man's need for the other as a physical and spiritual being will dominate; instead of the child's subordination to repressive normative stereotypes, the child's education by means of living life as free creative personalities will become the basic pedagogical principle... It is an issue of superseding the "fragmentized" and of attaining the "synthetic" man who represents a unity of Apollonian and Dionysian, that will not represent a privilege of the "new nobility", as it is with Nietzsche, but the basic human right.
Man has nowhere to return to. He has to build the home that he never really possessed. In pre-Socratic times Man did not exist in his own world, but in the world of gods who temporarily assigned him their own powers so that he could entertain them. In contrast to antiquity, where Man could not be at one with being, in the world of today possibilities exist for Man to reach being. Man's becoming a human being and the creation of being represent the same process: Man's self-creation becomes the self-creation of being. True history will begin when Man's playing being becomes the indisputable source of his own life. In the beginning there was play.
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