My friend Richard writes:-
"Jeez, Rob, Of course you can be brief and playful. But are you being playful? Looks quite serious to me."
I wrote back:-
Whoever said that playful couldn't be serious?
Playful is always serious.
What can't perhaps be wholly serious is earnest.
But of course all serious isn't earnest. No way.
Playful, however, may be indirect. It is likely to use language as event, and not as description.
So (here is the illustration):-
I gave somebody an opportunity to say that there is a wonderful flow FROM you (by mischievously implying that you were the all-wise teacher, talking at the front of the class, TO whom all status flows)....
.... and a wonderful person SAW the space I gave her, and pointed out how rich the flow from you is, for all of us (which is just what I hoped for).
But of course, playfulness tends to be multi-layered (an interlocking multi-playfulness): so naturally there is in there also a gambit for you.
But not a "you talk too much". Quite the opposite.
As Tolkien said, "The one fault I now find in my book is regret, that I didn't make it MUCH longer."
The question to you goes: "Without people who have had the vast and wonderful education which the West (at its best) can offer, and who have the ability to benefit from it (that is, people like you), wouldn't we ALL lose an enormous amount?"
But is this question playful? Or is it earnest? Or is it serious?
And what kind of human and loving and life-growing wickedness am I up to?
Why is playful so important? Well, partly and only partly, because it undermines our set-patterns, and makes a space in which something living can replace something mechanical.
As Tennyson says:
"And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good order should corrupt the world."
It surely follows (playfully) that:-
"playful IS at least that in which God is fulfilling himself".
16th January 2002
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