Imaginary Games by Chris Bateman

It has taken a while to carve out the time to start reading this with any degree of attention, but last night, on the tube, of all places, I finally got a chance. You don’t have to be a devotee of computer games to learn something from his reflections, as early on he makes the point that to be human is to play games. Among those he draws upon to explore thisĀ  theme are Mary Midgley and Johan Huizinga.

Mary Midgley never ceases to surprise ,as she seems to be the first contemporary philosopher in the field on every important matter, and I only knew Huizinga previously as a brilliantly imaginative conjuror of the medieval sensibility. As I have read further, it seems less of a surprise that someone who can so powerfully inhabit a past realm, also had such brilliant insights into the nature of playing games! Among the many suggestive ideas that this book has impressed upon my mind is that playing games can be an indicator of moral health.Huizinga suspected that religious liturgy was a valuable type of game playing.

I don’t think those pious atheists who think that fiction is a bad thing will much like this book!

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