The Ludic Life

by phil on Monday Aug 9, 2004 3:47 PM
passion pursuit

Sauntering back to the Cowper House, I have three items in my hands. A triangle of life in my clasps, grasped.


Fuel. Energy. A healthy sandwich. Necessary foundation for everything.


Tome Wisdome
Wisdom book. An inspiring read of a life overflowing with passion. Basic premise: "You have to lose your mind in order to use your head." If I have the pace to pick a book randomly and casually stroll through it, then everything is okay.


Juz de Aesthetico
Aesthetic Juice.
The primate in all of us is drawn to the explosion of hues that fruits and flowers display. Unfortunately, man-made, tangy dyes have made ads, clothing, and everything artificially fruitful(less). If I have the wherewithal to pick up flowers, then I know everything is okay.

this is life. This is happiness. The creative play. The ludic life.

I read in adBusters a letter sort of like this:

Think about when you are out dancing by the lake. Think about when your friends are lying on the couch laughing. Think about when you pick up poetry for fun. When it is over, isn't it annoying how everyone sighs, "well, back to the real world."

Why is the world of work, that socially-constructed, capitalistic, industrial complex considered the "real world??"

"No!" I say. The 'real world' is when you are engaging in play. The unreal world is the one where you are selling your time away for wage. Sighing, "well, back to the real world," is to confuse negative space with positive space. It is in the freedom of ludic moments that true friendships and true vivacity is found.

The ludic life.

Definition of "ludic:" Of or relating to play or playfulness.

Some inspiration derived from The Abolition of Work.



Matt said on August 9, 2004 4:31 PM:

I read "The Abolition of Work" for the first time in October of 2002. I had just moved back to my hometown to teach high school English. At that point in my life, I had taught two years in a major suburban metropolitan area and I hated nearly every second of it.

I came home to try teaching one more time. At first, it did not take.

I started reading stuff like this, and I got worse. I wanted out. I wanted to direct my life entirely how I saw fit. Unfortunately, I had accrued a massive amount of student debt that made "unplugging" seemingly impossible.

I decided to stop reading these sorts of things, as I either lacked the courage, creativity, or clarity to figure my way out.

Since then, I have become much happier with my job, and enjoy a good many parts of it. That being said, I can't shake the feeling that I arrived at this state of mind through an act of resignation; through giving up, in a sense. I don't entirely buy my own rhetoric about how great my job is.

I would like to untap this area again, but I fear what it will do to my motivation and desire to re-engage with the race that is about to begin (school starts on August 31st).

Thanks for the post today. It's great reading.

Philip Dhingra said on August 9, 2004 5:05 PM:

I'm still searching for the ultimate model of happiness.

My best estimation is that of a pseudo-summation of amounts of positive feeling, such as fulfillment, contentment, joy, ecstasy, pleasure, and optimism (minus of course, negative feelings such as guilt, boredom, frustration, etc..)

So, to translate what you are saying, it seems that while your lifestyle permits you certain parts of happiness, perhaps a sense of calm due to a steady income or a sense of confidence because of the respect you've cultivated at work, you still feel discontent.

I've felt similar things is similar situations, and in the past, I usually just eschewed all the other parts of happiness and just focused on contentment. This meant a pretty ascetic life in exchange for meeting a certain ideal and vision of my own life. What I realized, though, is that not every component of good feeling has to be satisfied. Nor is it healthy to throw everything away in exchange for one measure. During those periods, I felt content that I was following my ideals rigorously, but I also felt pretty sick with discomfort and dysphoria trying to support it.

So in other words, if one has to sacrifice a little contentment for the other components of happiness, well, why not?

Dan said on September 9, 2004 9:24 AM:

would be interested to hear what you make of Pat Kane's new book, the Play Ethic. I've only just begun it, so don't have many comments just yet, but it seems to be a fairly well thought through insight into the same kinds of issues

Creative Commons License