Finite and Infinite Games, James P. Carse

A finite player puts play into time, an infinite player puts time into play.

Same between infinite and finite game: of if they play they play freely; if they MUST play, they cannot PLAY.

Difference finite vs infinite games:

not bounded by time

no spatial boundaries

no numerical boundaries

no question of eligibility

internally defined

finite can be played within infinite

no wins and losses, but moments in continuous play

rules must change in course of play

rules must change to prevent anyone from winning

task is to design rules to allow players to continue the game

no outcome on the relationship apart from the decision to continue it

serious: press for certain conclusion vs. playful: allow for possibility whatever the cost to oneself

theatrical vs dramatic


complete openness

the dynamic self: ceaseless growth

prepare FOR surprise, not AGAINST it = to be educated, NOT trained

continual self discovery > final self-definition

serious vs joyous

laugh with what has surprisingly become possible with others, not impossible

learn to start something we cannot finish

power: freedom within limits vs. strength: freedom with limits

power = restricted to small #people; everyone can be strong

society = defined by boundaries vs culture = by horizon

repeatable vs cannot be repeated

property vs. art

creative is anyone who is prepared for surprise

never somewhere, always in passage

relate to you as a body vs. relate to you in your body

freedom is function of time vs. freedom is always, time not viewed but lived (hour of time vs hour of love, grief, learning, work,...)

finite player puts play into time vs infinite puts time into play

goal is to win titles vs. eternal birth

knowledge vs. story

machine vs. garden (horizontal activity)

outcome oriented vs. constant journey

overcome distance vs. discover distance

serious actors vs. joyful poets of a story that continuous to originate what they cannot finish

Wealth is not so much possessed as it is performed.