They’re having a hard time coming up with a satisfactory definition of game. Of what play is.
And that’s a problem, apparently.
They get itchy. They worry. They get upset.
They debate, quibble, quote and counter-quote.
They go lose their questions down in the vast, empty maze of the Great Philosophical Grimoires. Why is play so hard to define? Is it possible to even define play? Why should we care? What is the value of any definition of play? What should we look for, what should we see?
Even the echo won’t answer them.
And since their own voice fills up their ears, they can’t even hear this absence of a response.
Wittgenstein thinks this, while Suits and Huizinga suggest that, but Foucault notes that this and that are in fact the same thing—.
That was just a warm-up. Now they gargle and spit out the capital words—Culture. Power. Art. Then they get to vocalizing—formalist approach, exceptionalist approach, rapport to aesthetics, social function of play.
Feeling any better? Of course not. Soon they’re in for the big tumble, the final debacle—historico-critical representativeness, sublimated interactions framework, metacommunicational range.
If we’re not careful, they will pull us along the endless meander of their own thought, eluding any kind of conclusion, bobbing from one famous misconception to the next. How easy it is for them to drag us down as they drift, clinging to the frail raft of a few scholarly readings.
To lead us away from the table.
In the jungle of definitions.
Meanwhile, our game boxes languish on the shelves. Meanwhile all these games, neglected, still unexplored, unknown, are patiently waiting for us to stop trying to define them.
For us to sit down and simply play them, listen to them.
For any game we listen to closely will never fail to teach us two truths well above and beyond any definition: That no matter what we think or say, we are nothing more than mesmerized and curious little kids; and that this is the most precious thing in the world.