Wednesday, June 6, 2012

death games

Dying is not as radical a change as it's made out to be. The body does not cease to exist upon dying. Even when it decomposes and becomes unrecognizable as a body the effects of its effects of its effects are felt...forever. Death is the ceasing to be of a unity, a self, and a shift to a different operational principle for a bit of world which, when alive, is called "human".

In any case, as human selves, death is the ultimate either/or because world is fundamentally either/or, from every moment to the next, what repeats and what doesn't, what's created and what isn't, what world comes into being at the expense of what other worlds.

I assume the zebra feels an adrenaline rush upon escaping the lion. It is arguably the highest experience for any self to avoid death, to be right at that edge and see the other side and come back to this one.

Games make sense in this context as an attempt to replicate the rush of death avoidance without actual risk of death (note: except for games that involve actual risk of death). War happens when games are not enough. Every game is predicated on either/or for a reason. Games are sublimated death matches with human rules mimicking life/death certainty. You win or you lose. You get six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal and so on. There's a fake sort of clarity you get with these human-devised parameters. A tie score lets radical egalitarians like me pretend death doesn't happen. Games without winners and losers are called practice. Nobody wants to watch practice, except as it relates to game performance. Judging is added to figure skating to make it interesting. Art gets jammed into human hierarchies by critics and rankers and American Idol judges. Death is everywhere in human cultures.

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