|Print List Price:||$14.00|
Save $3.01 (22%)
Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price set by seller.
Finite and Infinite Games Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Carse builds his life philosophy on a foundation of redefined, loaded words that describe a black and white world masquerading as a world in shades of grey; and, he uses his loaded words to clearly describe himself as infinite (superior) and others as finite (inferior). He speaks of the overlap (a finite game can be played within an infinite one); but, he describes the two in opposite terms (according to what he has decided these words mean). The words that he chooses to redefine are words that already have definition and connotation in our world. Instead of finding a word that better describes his philosophy in a neutral manner or, better yet, coining a phrase with no connotation based on his concepts and a logical etymology, he chooses words that do not entirely describe what he is describing so that he can imply a value to it.
Infinite vs. finite is a clear example of his use of loaded words. Who among us would choose finite over infinite? None. Of course, that example might just be too obvious. I can hear people thinking, "that's the point." There are other examples, such as machine vs. garden, resonance vs. amplification, etc. These are loaded phrases that he uses to show the superiority of his world view. They are phrases that he, then, ties himself to specifically, and then fills in behind with his beliefs. It leads us to, not only, see his argument as obviously superior (of course infinite is better than finite...), then, also, leads us to see him as superior (someone who has chosen infinite over finite is better than those that choose otherwise...); but, it also leads us to either ignore or elevate dubious arguments that fall in behind it. For those that would say that Carse doesn't apply the infinite to himself specifically, re-read it and note that he will refer to "finite players" and "finite games"; but, then, he often says "when I am playing in an infinite game..." or "as an infinite player I do this...", not to mention the whole "I am a genius" section.
Once we have accepted his superiority, we are not skeptical of what he says behind it. His view has a fundamental lack of practicality to it, a distinct naïveté and, in at least one case, makes excuse for malice. Finite games, in his implication, could and should be entirely eliminated. With finite games eliminated, we would live in peace, fostering culture and creation, expecting the unexpected and fostering the perpetuation of surprise, and everyone would help all in a world of total harmony with each other and nature. This world view ignores fundamentals of human nature, and of the human psyche. It is a view that assumes that all are capable of this transcendence and that transcendence will always take this form.
There was, a point at which I found him throwing a malicious act into a list of "infinite" acts of play: adultery. One might call me a fuddy-duddy; but, while I understand that we are better off than the days when adultery was criminal and stoneable sin, I also understand that adultery is a negligent (at its very best) or malicious (often and at its worst) act that should not be added to a list of benign sexual terms such as celibacy and homosexuality. He says you cannot call an infinite player adulterous because it is a concept that requires boundaries; but, infinite players are not concerned with boundaries. If his world view allows for, what I would consider, a malicious act, then what other ideals does this world view hide that is unspoken? Is there no value to maintaining, at least, some order over anarchy?
In that lies a great deal of his naïveté. Again, like the jerk we all knew in college, he banters about all the "freedoms" that we would have with transcendence, but ignores the effect on others. Others, thus, are either obliged to come to the same transcendence, or, they must (therefore: deserve to) suffer the acts of the enlightened. In a sense, this is the urban-spiritualist version of Stalin's Soviet Union: "Be enlightened, or get out of the way." Of course, this book is packaged nicer than a Siberian gulag, so we don't fear it.
I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I would finish the books that I started to read. I used to read a few chapters and then drop them. I wanted to see things through. Within those few years, I have read some really, really horrible stuff: stuff that no one should ever read. I persevered, though, and had no regrets. I was following through.
After reading this book, I have concluded that my promise was the promise of a fool. I would not wish this book on my worst enemy. It is some of the worst hippie, urban-spiritualist, arrogant, catch-phrasey, pop philosophy bullcrap that I have ever read in my life. I should have known that it was going to be a horrible book when I saw that an "in praise of" quote on the back was written by Robert Pirsig. If a book ever corners me and talks my ear off like this again, I will have the infinite wisdom to put it the heck down.
As the title suggests, this is a work on finite and infinite games that purports "a vision of life as play and possibility." So if life is a game you should play it and if you play it you should follow the rules. Right, but what are the rules. Well, here enters Carse, who in seven chapters defines the game and unfolds and explains the rules.
The seven chapters are named in a very sportive (and even poetic) manner: There are at least to kind of games; No one can play a game alone; I am the genius of myself; A finite game occurs within a world; Nature is the realm of the unspeakable; We control nature for societal reasons; Myth provokes explanation but accepts none of it.
And there you are. As I said, the book is written in an aphoristic mode, as in Also sprach Zarathustra/Thus Spoke Zarathustra: German/English Bilingual Text (German Edition), but with much more sense than that Nietzsche's brick. "Finite and Infinite..." is not a wanton sum of sayings more or less wise. So please do not confound games with lightness or pastime. At least not in this book. So you have to keep in mind, as long as you read, that this is a book about life ("A vision of life..."), not about playing games as a part of your life.
Then, what are the rules? The rules are simple but full of derivatives or branches that have no limit. Like life itself that starts with a very simple origin and grows up in complexity and variety. That's why the first paragraph says that "There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite; the other infinite." As long as this rule begins to increase in complexity is very helpful to keep that definition in mind. Carse says that a game can be won, so the game ends, which is the finite case. Or the game is playing continuously because the purpose is not winning but to follow up the game, which is the infinite case.
Let's quote Carse: "Infinite players cannot say when their game began, nor do they care. They do not care for the reason that their game in not bounded by time. Indeed, the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play." Sounds mysterious? It is. We play infinite games as long as we live, and the finite games we play are there not only to compensate (or to maintain under control the anxiety and) our ignorance of who wins at last in the infinite version, but also to be prepared against, and to be educated for the surprises and twists that life put in front of us: "To be prepared against surprise is to be 'trained.' To be prepared for surprise is to be 'educated.'"
The probe of this work descends very deep. That's the reason why the last chapter is dedicated to the myth issue. For several years I've been studying the singularities of a myth, the purpose they have, why they appeared, why they are here with us in spite of the exponential growing of knowledge through science and the technological development associated with it. And Carse offers here one of the most astounding answers to my search, which is presented in the very title of the chapter: "Myth provokes explanations but accepts none of it." It is as if finite and infinite games collide in this final movement of the play, remembering us what the author told us at the beginning of the book: "Infinite players cannot say when their game began, nor do they care. They do not care for the reason that their game is not bounded by time. Indeed the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play." If that is not the very source of a myth, then what.
Insofar as this book (a very brief book indeed, with 149 pages) is about games, we as a readers are players also, so maybe there are as many readings as readers. Or almost. Yet, it remains (or let) something that to me is unequivocal: life can be seen as a game so it has rules. This book propose that rules in a temporal basis (finite vs. infinite). If you look for, you could find others, but to me this book offers the most amazing explanation to the philosophical question that beats under our skins all the time: what is life?
A game. "There are at least to kind of games..."