Monday, August 18, 2008

Activity without competition or rules

Over fifteen years ago, but later than my first Unity experiences, I invented an activity which I gave the silly name "aesthetics chess". It consisted of two players and a chess board, and the "players" do not move the pieces to win, but instead they move a piece according to what movement they consider beautiful or interesting. A sort of dance.

I tried it with three different people at three different occasions, all of them intelligent people and occasional chess players. And all of them... couldn't do it!
They said so and stopped, all three, after less than two minutes. They simply couldn't stick to this activity without "purpose", goals, and rules. It upset them.

I think this is a rather potent illustration of how solid a grip the ego has on our desire to "win" in an activity, and also how solid a grip the human mind has on our desire for logical rules to an activity.

I am not sure which of those two limitations is most relevant here, but the second one is surely interesting. Most of us find it nearly impossible to willfully do anything which is illogical or silly.

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