Libertarian Play


Freedom is the essence of play. In a world in which there is no freedom, free play is not possible. Only libertarian play – as an integral part of the social (political) movement that tends to create the new world – is a possibility. It has a tendency to liberate man’s playing being by superseding the ruling relations and the repressive normative confinement which are a part of the prevailing play-forms that are in fact a way of letting off the steam of non-freedom, and as such represent “chain rattling”. On the contrary, regardless of its intention, play is being reduced to the creation of space for an illusory “happiness” within the existing world, where man hopelessly seeks to discover his own mislaid humanity – and sinks deeper and deeper into the mud of despair. Libertarian physical culture does not campaign for “free play” but for free man, that is, for a new society within which free play will represent the utmost (self) accomplishment of man as a universal creative and free being. Genuine play is attainable solely by superseding the existing world, that is, by totalizing the world through man’s libertarian and creative practice, and in that context through the turning of life itself into a creation of his playing being. One does not arrive directly from libertarian play to the genuine play through the use of new forms of player proficiency, but by way of the society within which man has achieved freedom. True play is a result of the libertarian struggle that generates the new world.

The most important characteristic of libertarian play is life-creativeness.  Destruction is a totalizing life power of capitalism; life-creativeness is a totalizing life power of man. As distinct from the animal which is unconscious natural life-creating being (procreation), man is a self-conscious life-creating being that creates its own world. The essence of the animal’s life-creativeness is determinism; the essence of human life-creativeness is freedom. Man’s playing being represents the anthropological basis of his life-creativeness, and play is the supreme form in which the life-creative nature of man is realized. The “major” religions have also acknowledged the life-creativity principle. Development of man’s self-conscious as a creative being and creator of (his own) world represents the basis for the theory of the world as a “divine creation”. “God” is a symbolic incarnation of creative powers alienated from man, a manifestation of man’s independence from nature and the placing of human powers “above” those of nature. By means of the idea of “God”, man becomes an autonomous creative power and, in that sense, a specific (unique) cosmic being: creation of the world is a conscious and wilful act. Historically, man has been subordinated to the (real or imaginary) universe of a metaphorical and politically instrumental nature that serves as means for obtaining eternalness for the ruling order. Human life-creativeness is imaginary: creation of imaginary conscious becomes compensation for depriving man of the ability to create the earthly world in his own image. Capitalism has degenerated and instrumentalized man’s life-creating powers: they now serve to preserve the capitalist order that destroys both life and man as a life-creating being.

Libertarian play is guided by the spirit of life-creating pantheism: all that lives and creates possibility for life should become a unique life-creating being struggling against capitalism.

Libertarian play requires visionary conscious of a utopian nature. It represents the supreme form of man’s change-creating practice by which the objective possibilities of freedom, established within a civil society, become realistic possibilities for man’s liberation. This affirmation of man’s life-creating powers is accomplished by the surmounting of civilization’s barriers and diversions. The life-creating power becomes the basis of the self-creation of both man and society as a community of life-creating beings. Man used to be a toy in the hands of “superhuman” powers; it is necessary that he become a free playing being, while life in its entirety should become a form of affirmation of his own playing nature. The basic relation, though, is not one of play – player, but of society as a community of free men – man as a universal free creative being. The moment when man becomes a self-conscious and unique life-creating being is when the true history of humankind begins. Play per se does not contain what-is-yet-to-be, for this is not what defines its utopian nature; it is a specificity of man as free self-creating being: man is not what he is but what he can be.

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