Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent to the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and the strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them.
(Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy)
I liked that idea of the importance of play. I must admit, I’d never thought about it before, but that notion of why play seems intrinsically more appealing than work must have its deep and fundamental reasons. It seems that the elements of competition, testing yourself and risk are something we respond to instinctively, but why?
I suppose the chance to find out if you are better at something than someone else is attractive so that you can possibly realign your self perception in a more positive way.
Then the testing of ones own skills could turn out well because the uncovering of some new ability would be a good experience.
Last there’s the risk. I think this is the most compelling one. Life is nothing without risk. Unless we put something up against what we are then it is a meaningless action. (Odd that addiction is often defined as pursuit in the face of consequences when risk must be the same thing.) We cannot improve without the chance of failing to do so. Every time we try to lift a weight we risk being it being too heavy. Every time we create something we risk its rejection by others. Every time we tell a joke we risk it falling flat.
I suppose it then follows that the greater the risk the greater the possible success.
If you had already reached this conclusion before reading this blog then I’d like to know if it affects the way you live your life. However, if like me this idea had never made itself clear before this week then don’t you find it interesting how the love of and need for risk is inherent?
Go and take one today.
Oh, you probably already have.