Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Playing With the World

Originally posted on July 18, 2018

“The world is so full of a number of things: I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings!” So wrote Robert Louis Stevenson, a 19th century author and poet, in his “Child’s Garden of Verses.”

(Indeed, making things rhyme by having them “sound” the same became a basis for poetry, which shifts intellectual meaning off to how the words “sound” when spoken. When you think about it, it’s a little weird. But that’s how much of the world is constructed. Seeming can easily become “the way things really are” without really thinking about them.) So much of what we do is play! I wrote a book about play many years ago.

But back to Stevenson’s dictum: I’m reading a dictionary of laws, rules, many of which are really eponyms—which have the force of some scholar’s name attached— not that this guarantees that the law or rule is correct, but it gives it a sheen of truth. In fact the one who espoused that rule might have made it up, as if to “pull it out of a hat” (by sheer chance or worse, by cockeyed notion), It’s a form of play.

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