Finite and Infinite Games | Notes

James P. Carse. Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility. Ballantine Books, 1986. (180 pages)

The rules of the finite games may not change; the rules of an infinite game must change.

Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.

Finite players are serious; infinite games are playful.

A finite player plays to be powerful; an infinite player plays with strength.

A finite player consumes time; an infinite player generates time.

The finite player aims for eternal life; the infinite player aims for eternal birth.



ONE There Are at Least Two Kinds of Games

1 || A Finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. (3)

2 || There is no finite game unless the players freely choose to play it. (4)

3 || Just as it is essential for a finite game to have a definitive ending, it must also have a precise beginning. Therefore, we can speak of finite games as having temporal boundaries–… (4)

4 || To have such boundaries means that the date, place, and membership of each finite game are externally defined. (6)

6 || In one respect, but only one, an infinite game is identical to a finite game. Of infinite players we can also say that if they play they play freely; if they must play, they cannot play. (7)

Indeed, the only purpose of the game is to prevent it from coming to an end, to keep everyone in play. (8)

While finite games are externally defined, infinite games are internally defined. The time of an infinite game is not world time, but time created within the play itself. Since each play of an infinite game eliminates boundaries, it opens to players a new horizon of time. (8)

8 || If finite games must be externally bounded by time, space, and number, they must also have internal limitations on what the players can do to and with each other. To agree on internal limitations is to establish rules of play. | The rules will be different for each finite game. It is, in fact, by knowing what the rules are that we know what the game is. | What the rules establish is a range of limitations on the players:… (9)

In the narrowest sense rules are not laws; they do not mandate specific behavior, but only restrain the freedom of the players,… (9)

The rules of a finite game are the contractual terms by which the players can agree who has won. (9)

9 || The agreement of the players to the applicable rules constitutes the ultimate validation of those rules. (10)

They are valid only if and when players freely play by them. (10)

10 || It is on this point that we find the most critical distinction between finite and infinite play. The rules of an infinite game must change in the course of play. The rules are changed when the players of an infinite game agree that the play is imperiled by a finite outcome–that is, by the victory of some players and the defeat of others. (11)

For this reason the rules of an infinite game have a different status from those of a finite game. They are like the grammar of a living language, where those of a finite game are like the rules of debate. (11)

The rules, or grammar, of a living language are always evolving to guarantee the meaningfulness of discourse, while the rules of debate must remain constant. (11)

11 || Although the rules of an infinite game change by agreement at any point in the course of play, it does not follow that any rule will do. It is not in this sense that the game is infinite. | The rules are always designed to deal with specific threats to the continuation of play. (12)

12 || Certainly the price for refusing it is high, but that there is a price at all points to the fact that oppressors themselves acknowledge that even the weakest of their subjects must agree to be oppressed. If the subjects were unresisting puppets or automatons, no threat would be necessary, and no price would be paid–thus the satire of the putative ideal of oppressors in Huxley’s Gammas, Orwell’s Proles, and Rossum’s Universal Robots (Capek). (14)

…all the limitations of finite play are self-limitations. (14)

13 || To account for the large gap between the actual freedom of finite players to step off the field of play at any time and the experienced necessity to stay at the struggle, we can say that as finite players we somehow veil this freedom from ourselves. (15)

14 || Since finite games can be played within an infinite game, infinite players do not eschew the performed roles of finite play. On the contrary, they enter into finite games with al the appropriate energy and self-veiling, but they do so without the seriousness of finite players. They embrace the abstractness of finite games as abstractness, and therefore take them up not seriously, but playfully. (18)

17 || Surprise is a crucial element in most finite games. (22)

Surprise in finite play is the triumph of the past over the future (22)

A finite player is trained not only to anticipate every future possibility, but to control the future, to prevent it from altering the past. (22)

Surprise causes finite play to end; it is the reason for infinite play to continue. (22)

| Surprise in infinite play is the triumph of the future over the past. (22)

Finite players must appear to be something other than what they are. Everything about their appearance must be concealing. … All moves of a finite player must be deceptive: feints, distractions, falsifications, misdirections, mystifications. (23)

Because infinite players prepare themselves to be surprised by the future, they play in complete openness. It is not an openness as in candor, but an openness as in vulnerability. It is not a matter of exposing one’s unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one’s ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be. (23)

18 || What one wins in a finite game is a title. (24)

The effectiveness of a title depends on its visibility, its noticeability to others. (24)

19 || It is a principal function of society to validate titles and to assure their perpetual recognition. (25)

20 || A finite game must always be won with a terminal move, a final act within the boundaries of the game that establishes the winner beyond any possibility of challenge. A Terminal move results, in other words, in the death of a the opposing player as player. (25)

Death, in finite play is, the triumph of the past over the future, a condition in which no surprise is possible. (26)

Death in life is a mode of existence in which one has ceased all play;… (26)

Life in death concerns those who are titled and whose titles, since they are timeless, may not be extinguished by death. Immortality, in this case, is not a reward but the condition necessary to the possession of rewards. Victors live forever not because their souls are unaffected by death but because their titles must not be forgotten. (26)

For Christian saints “death has lost its sting” not because there is something inherently imperishable in the human soul, but because they have fought the good fight, and they have successfully pressed on “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Paul) (27)

What the winners of finite games achieve is not properly an after life but an after world, not continuing existence but continuing recognition of their titles. (27)

21 || When life is viewed by a finite player as the award to be won, then death is a token of defeat. Death is not, therefore, chosen, but inflicted. (28)

There is a contradiction here: If the prize for winning finite play is life, then the players are not properly alive. They are competing for life. Life, then, is not play, but the outcome of play. Finite players play to live; they do not live their playing. Life is therefore (28) deserved, bestowed, possessed, won. It is not lived. “Life itself appears only as a means to life” (Marx). (29)

The contradiction is precisely that all finite play is play against itself. (29)

22 || Death, for finite players, is abstract, no concrete. It is not the whole person, but only an abstracted fragment of the whole, that dies in life or lives in death. (29)

23 || Since the boundaries of death are always part of the play, the infinite player does not die at the end of play, but in the course of play. (30)

…infinite players offer their death as a way of continuing the play. For that reason they do not play for their own life; they live for their own play. But since that play is always with others, it is evident (30) that infinite players both live and die for the continuing life of others. (31)

Where the finite player plays for immortality, the infinite player plays as a mortal. In infinite play one chooses to be mortal inasmuch as one always plays dramatically, that is, toward the open, toward the horizon, toward surprise, where nothing can be scripted. It is a kind of play that requires complete vulnerability. (31)

24 || Infinite play is inherently paradoxical, just as finite play is inherently contradictory. Because it is the purpose of infinite players to continue the play, they do not play for themselves. The contradiction of finite play is that the players desire to bring play to an end for themselves. The paradox of infinite play is that the players desire to continue the play in others. The paradox is precisely that they play only when others go on with the game. (32)

| Infinite players play best when they become least necessary to the continuation of play. It is for this reason they play as mortals. (32)

| The joyfulness of infinite play, its laughter, lies in learning to start something we cannot finish. (32)

25 || Titles are abstractions; names are always concrete. (33)

26 || Titles, then, point backward in time. They have their origin in an unrepeatable past. (34)

Titles are theatrical. (34)

The mode and content of address and the manner of behavior are recognitions of the areas in which titled persons are no longer in competition. There are precise ways in which one may no longer compete with the Dalai Lama or the Heavyweight Champion of the World. There is no possible action by which one may deprive them of their titles to contests now in the past. Therefore, insofar as we recognize their titles we withdraw from any contest with them in those areas. (34)

27 || Power is always measure din units of comparison. In fact, it is a term of competition: How much resistance can I overcome relative to others? (35)

To speak meaningfully of a person’s power is to speak of what that person has already completed in one or another closed field. To see power is to look backward in time.

| Inasmuch as power is determined by the outcome of a game, one does not win by being powerful; one wins to be powerful. If one has sufficient power to win before the game has begun, what follows is not a game at all. (36)

Power is never one’s own, and in that respect it shows the contradiction inherent in all finite play. I can be powerful only by not playing, by showing that at the game is over. I can therefore have only what powers others give me. Power is bestowed by an audience after the play is complete. (36)

| Power is contradictory, and theatrical. (36)

29 || Infinite players do not oppose the actions of others, but initiate actions of their own in such a way that others will respond by initiating their own. (38)

…where the finite player plays to be powerful the infinite player plays with strength. (38)

Power is concerned with what has already happened. (39)

Power will always be restricted to a relatively small number of selected persons. Anyone can be strong. (39)

Strength is paradoxical. I am not strong because I can force others to do what I wish as a result of my play with them, but because I can allow them to do what they wish in the course of my play with them. (39)

31 || Infinite players understand the inescapable likelihood of evil. They therefore do not attempt to eliminate evil in others, for to do so is the very impulse of evil itself, and therefore a contradiction. They only (41) attempt paradoxically to recognize in themselves the evil that takes the form of attempting to eliminate evil elsewhere. (42)

TWO No One Can Play a Game Alone

32 || No one can play a game alone. One cannot be human by oneself. There is no selfhood where there is no community. We do not relate to others as the persons we are; we are who we are in relating to others. (45)

34 || Schools are a species of finite play to the degree that they bestow ranked awards on those who win degrees from them. (50)

It is not uncommon for families to think of themselves as a competitive unit in a broader finite game for which they are training their members in the struggle for societally visible titles. (51)

| Like a finite game, a society is numerically, specially, and temporally limited. Its citizenship is precisely defined, its boundaries are inviolable, and its past is enshrined. (51)

The power of a society is determined by its victory over other societies in still larger finite games. Its most treasured memories are those of the heroes fallen in victorious battles with other societies. Heroes of lost battles are almost never memorialized. (51)

It is in the interest of a society therefore to encourage competition within itself, to establish the largest possible number of prizes, for the holders of prizes will be those most likely to defend the society as a whole against its competitors. (52)

35 || Culture, on the other hand, is an infinite games. culture has no boundaries. Anyone can be a participant in a culture–anywhere and at any time. (52)

Properly speaking, a culture does not have a tradition; it is a tradition. (55)

37 ||

The great and chief end therefore, of Mens uniting into Commonwealths, and putting themselves under Government, is the preservation of their Property; to which in the state of nature there are many things wanting – Locke

40 || The more powerful we consider persons to be, the less we expect them to do, for their power can come only from that which they have done. (61)

Conspicuous abstention from labour therefore becomes the conventional make of superior pecuniary achievement and the conventional index of reputability;… – Veblen

It is apparent to infinite players that wealth is not so much possessed as it is performed. (62)

41 || If one of the reasons for uniting into commonwealths is the protection of property, and if property is to be protected less by power as such than by theater, then societies become acutely dependent on their artists–what Plato called poietai: the storytellers, the inventors, sculptors, poets, any original thinkers whatsoever. (63)

42 || Powerful societies do not silence their poietai in order that they may go to war; they go to war as a way of silencing their poietai. Original thinkers can be suppressed through execution and exile, or they can be encouraged through subsidy and flattery to praise the society’s heroes. (65)

It is notable that very large collections of art, and all the world’s major museums, are the work of the very rich or of societies during strongly nationalistic periods. (65)

Such museums are not designed to protect the art from people, but to protect the people from the art. (66)

43 || Culture is likely to break out in a society not when its poietai begin to voice a line contrary to that of the society, but when they begin to ignore all lines whatsoever and concern themselves with bringing the audience back into play–not competitive play, but play that affirms itself as play. (66)

| What confounds a society is not serious opposition, but the lack of seriousness altogether. (66)

44 || Since culture is itself a  poises, all of its participants are poietai–inventors, makers, artists, storytellers, mythologists. They are not, however, makers of actualities, but makes [sic] of possibilities. (67)

45 || Infinite players have rules; they just do not forget that rules are an expression of agreement and not a requirement for agreement. (68)

…a society is defined by its boundaries, a culture is defined by its horizon. (69)

| A boundary is a phenomenon of opposition. It is the meeting place of hostile forces. Where nothing opposes there can be no boundary. One cannot move beyond a boundary without being resisted. (69)

| This is why patriotism–that is, the desire to protect the power in a society by way of increasing the power of a society–is inherently belligerent. Since there can be no prizes without a society, no society without opponents, patriots must create enemies before we can require protection from them. Patriots can flourish only where boundaries are well-defined, hostile, and dangerous. The spirit of patriotism is therefore characteristically associated with the military or other modes of international conflict. (69)

One never reaches a horizon. It is not a line; it has no place; it encloses no field; its location is always relative to the view. To move toward a horizon is simply to have a new horizon. One can therefore never be close to one’s horizon, though one may certainly have a short range vision, a narrow horizon. (70)

The Renaissance, like all genuine cultural phenomena, was not an effort to promote one or another vision. It was an effort to find visions that promised still more vision. (70)

46 || To enter a culture is not to do what the others do, but to do whatever one does with the others. (71)

| This is why every new participant in a culture both enters into an existing context and simultaneously changes that context. Each new speaker of its language both learns the language an alters it. Each new adoption of a tradition makes it a new tradition–just as the family into which a child is born existed prior to that birth, but is nonetheless new family after birth. (71)

47 || Since a culture is not anything persons do, but anything they do with each other, we may say that a culture comes into being whenever persons choose to be a people. It is as a people that they arrange their rules with each other, their moralities their modes of communication. (72)

48 | War presents itself as necessary for self-protection, when in fact it is necessary for self-identification. (74)

49 || Poets can make it impossible to have a war–unless they tell stories that agree with the “general line” established by the state. Poets who have no metaphysics, and therefore no political line, make war impossible because they have the irresistible ability to show the guardians that what seems necessary is only possible. (76)

…according to Plato–all poets must be put into the service of reason. The poets are to surround the citizens of the Republic with such art as will “lead them unawares from childhood to love of, resemblance to, and harmony with, the beauty of reason.” (76)

…the metaphysical veil… Those who are being led to reason cannot be aware of it. They must be led to it without choosing it. Plato asks his poets not to create, but to deceive. (76)

50 || We can find metaphysicians thinking, but we cannot find metaphysicians in their thinking. (77)

Poets cannot kill; they die. Metaphysics cannot die; it kills. (78)

THREE I Am the Genius of Myself

51 || I am the genius of myself, the poets who composes the sentences I speak and the actions I take. It is I, not the mind, that thinks. It is I, not the will, that acts. It is I, not the nervous system, that feels. (81)

The paradox of genius exposes us directly to the dynamic of open reciprocity, for if you are the genius of what you say to me, I am the genius of what I hear you say. (82)

53 || My parents may have wanted a child, but they could not have wanted me. (85)

| I am both the outcome of my past and the transformation of the past. (85)

Speaking in purely causal terms, I cannot say I was born; I should say rather that I have emerged as a phase in the process of reproduction. (85)

57 || Thus the familiar view of some Christian theologians who say that the only end of the sexual act is procreation. But this metaphysics, committed as it is to the continuity of the process, also leaves the genius of the child entirely outside it. Thus the familiar view of theologians who say that the end of childbirth is to provide citizens for the kingdom of God. Metaphysically understood, sexuality has nothing to do with our existence as persons, for it views persons as expressions of sexuality, and not sexuality as the expression of persons. (94)

Sexual attractiveness, or sexiness, is effective only to the degree that someone is offended by it. (94)

What one wants in the sexual contest is not just to have defeated the other, but to have the defeated other. Sexuality is the only finite game in which the winner’s prize is the defeated opponent. (95)

58 || It is therefore somewhat misleading to describe society as a regulator of finite sexual play. It is more the case that finite sexuality shapes society than is shaped by it. (96)

…the civilized are, therefore, the discontent. We do not become losers in civilization but become civilized as losers. (97)

The most serious struggles are those for sexual property. For this wars are fought, lives are generously risked, great schemes are initiated. However, who wins empire, fortune, and fame but loses in love has lost in everything. (98)

60 || Infinite players recognize choice in all aspects of sexuality. They may see in themselves and in others, for example, the infant’s desire to compete for the mother, but they also see that there is neither physiological nor societal destiny in sexual patterns. (100)

Sexuality is not a bounded phenomenon but a horizonal [sic] phenomenon for infinite players. One can never say, therefore, that an infinite player is homosexual, or heterosexual, or celibate, or adulterous, or faithful–because each of these definitions has to do with boundaries, with circumscribed areas and styles of play. Infinite players do not play within sexual boundaries, but with sexual boundaries. They are concerned not with power but with vision. (100)

In finite sexuality I expect to relate to you as a body; in infinite sexuality, I expect to relate to you in your body. (102)

FOUR A Finite Game Occurs Within a World

63 || We cannot have a precise understanding of what it means to be the winner of a contest until we can place the game in the absolute dimensions of a world. (108)

64 || World exists in the form of audience. A world is not all that is the case. but that which determines all that is in the case. (108)

An audience does not receive its identity according to the persons within it, but according to the events it observes. (109)

Finite players need the world to provide an absolute reference for understanding themselves; simultaneously, the world needs the theater of finite play to remain a world. (109)

67 || The outcome of a finite game is the past waiting to happen. Whoever plays toward a certain outcome desires a particular past. By competing for a future prize, finite layers compete for a prized past. (113)

68 || The infinite player in us does not consume time but generates it. (113)

Time does not pass for an infinite player. Each moment of time is a beginning. (114)

| Each moment is not the beginning of a period of time. It is the beginning of an event that gives the time within it its specific quality. (114)

FIVE Nature Is the Realm of the Unspeakable

70 || The assumption guiding our struggle against na-(119)ture is that deep within itself nature contains a structure, an order, that is ultimately intelligible to the human understanding. (120)

One may say “the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility” – Einstein

71 || To be intelligible at all, we must claim that we can step aside from the process and comment on it “objectively” and “dispassionately,” without anything obstructing our view of these matters. (121)

We have to remember that when we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning – Heisenberg

72 || At its root all language has the character of metaphor, because no matter what it intends to be about it remains language, and remains absolutely unlike whatever it is about. (123)

73 || If nature is the realm of the unspeakable, history is the realm of the speakable. Indeed, no speaking is possible that is not itself historical. (124)

Historians who understand themselves to be historical abandon explanation altogether. The mode of discourse appropriate to such self-aware history is narrative. (125)

Explanations place all apparent possibilities into the context of the necessary; stories set all necessities into the context of the possible. (125)

74 || One does not cross over from Manichaeism to Christianity, or from Lamarckianism to Darwinism, by a mere adjustment of views. True conversions consist in the choice of a new audience, that is, of a new world. All that was once familiar is now seen in startlingly new ways. (127)

Augustine, the most famous convert of antiquity, was puzzled that he could have held so firmly to so many different falsehoods; he was not astounded that there are so many different truths. (127)

75 || The sickout dixit dominus (thus says the lord) is always a signal for ritual silence. The speech of a god can be so perfectly expressive of that god’s power that the god and its speech become identical: “In the beginning was the word. The word was with God, and the word was God.” (129)

| One is speechless before a god, or silent before a winner, because it no longer matters to others what one has to say. To lose a contest is to become obedient; to become obedient is to lose one’s listeners. (129)

76 || Finite speakers come to speech with their voices already trained and rehearsed. They must know what they are doing with the language before they can speak it. Infinite speakers must wait to see what is done with their language by the listeners before they can know what they have said. Infinite speech does not expect the hearer to see what is already known to the speaker, but to share a vision the speaker could not have had without the response of the listener. (131)

77 || Infinite speakers do not therefore appeal to a world as audience, do not speak before a world, but present themselves as an audience by way of talking with others. Finite speech informs another about the world–for the sake of being heard. Infinite speech forms a world about the other–for the sake of listening. (132)

Were the gods to address us it would not be to bring us to silence through their speech, but to bring us to speech through their silence. (133)

The paradox of infinite speech is that it continues only because it is a way of listening. Finite speech ends with a silence of closure. Infinite speech begins with a disclosure of silence. (133)

78 || Storytellers do not convert their listeners; they do not move them into the territory of a superior truth. Ignoring the issue of truth and falsehood altogether, they offer only vision. Storytelling is therefore not combative; it does not succeed or fail. A story cannot be obeyed. Instead of placing one body of knowledge against another, storytellers invite us to return from knowledge to thinking, from a bounded way of looking to an horizonal [sic] way of seeing. (133)

SIX We Control Nature for Societal Reasons

83 || Human freedom is not a freedom over nature; it is the freedom to be natural, that is, to answer to the spontaneity of nature with our own spontaneity. (144)

84 || While a machine greatly aid the operator in such tasks, it also disciplines its operator. … To use the machine for control is to be controlled by the machine. (145)

To operate a machine one must operate like a machine. Using a machine to do what we cannot do, we find we must do what the machine does. (145)

Automobiles do not make travel possible, but make it possible for us to move locations without traveling. (148)

87 || The genus in you stimulates the genius in me. (152)

88 || True parents do not see to it that their children grow in a particular way, according to a preferred pattern or scripted stages, but they see to it that they grow with their children. (153)

Genuine travel has no destination. Travelers do not go somewhere, but constantly discover they are somewhere else. (154)

The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes. – Proust

89 || Society regards its waste as an unfortunate, but necessary, consequence of its activities–what is left when we have made essential societal goods available. But west is not the result of what we have made. It is what we have made. (156)

90 || Waste is unveiling. As we find ourselves standing in garbage that we know is our own, we find also that it is garbage we have chosen to make, and having chosen to make it could choose not to make it. Because waste is unveiling, we remove it. We place it where it is out of sight. (156)

Part of the contradiction in the phenomenon of waste is that treating nature as though it belongs to us we must soon treat nature as though it belongs to no one. (157)

SEVEN Myth Provokes Explanation but Accepts None of It

94 || What Copernicus dispelled, however, were not myths but other explanations. Myths lie elsewhere. … Knowledge is what successful explanation has led to; the thinking that sent us forth, however, is pure story. (165)

95 || Great stories have (166) this feature: To listen to them and learn them is to become their narrators. (167)

Great stories cannot be observed, any more than an infinite game can have an audience. Once I hear the story I enter into its own dimensionality. I inhabit its space at its time. I do not therefore understand the story in terms of my experience, but my experience in terms of the story. (167)

if we cannot tell a story about what happened to us, nothing has happened to us. (167)

The Torah is not the story of the Jews; it is what makes Judaism a story. (168)

96 || Storytellers become metaphysicians, or ideologists,… (169)

We resonate with myth when it resounds in us. A myth resounds in me when it resounds in us. A myth resounds in me when its voice is heard in mine but not heard as mine. I do not resonate when I quote Jeremiah or when I speak as Jeremiah, but only when Jeremiah speaks in a way that touches an original voice in me. (169)

97 || No myth, therefore, exists by itself; neither does it have a discoverable origin. Whom could we name as the first New Yorker? Even when it is God who is heard by the prophet, it is a god who speaks in the language and idiom of the prophet, and not in locutions restricted to divine utterance–as though that god’s speaking were itself a form of listening. (171)

| Indeed, myth is the highest form of our listening to each other, of offering a silence that makes the (171) speech of the other possible. This is why listening is far more valued by religion than speaking. Fides ex auditu. Faith comes by listening, Paul said. (172)

98 || The opposite of resonance is amplification. (172)

99 || Perhaps the Christian myth has been the narrative most disturbing to the ideological mind. It is, like those of Abraham and the Buddha, a very simple tale: that of a god who listens by becoming one of us. It is a god “emptied” of divinity, who gave up all privilege of commanding speech and “dwelt among us,” coming “not to be served, but to serve,” “being all things to all persons.” But the worlds to which he came received him not. They no doubt preferred a god of magisterial utterance, a commanding idol, a theatrical likeness of their own finite designs. They did not expect an infinite listener who joyously took their unlikeness on himself, giving them their own voice through the silence of wonder, a healing and holy metaphor that leaves everything still to be said.

| Those Christians who deafened themselves to the resonance of their own myth have driven their killing machines through the garden of history, but they did not kill the myth. The emptied divinity whom they have made into an Instrument of Vengeance con-(175)tines to return as the Man of Sorrows bringing with him his unfinished story, and restoring the voices of the silenced. (176)

100 | The myth of Jesus is exemplary, but not necessary. No myth is necessary. There is no story that must be told. Stories do not have a truth that someone needs to reveal, or someone needs to hear. It is part of the myth of Jesus that it makes itself unnecessary; it is a narrative of the word becoming flesh, of language entering history; a narrative of the word becoming flesh and dying, of history entering language. Who listens to his myth cannot rise above history to utter timeless truths about it. (176)

| It is not necessary for infinite players to be Christians; indeed it is not possible for them to be Christians–seriously. Neither is it possible for them to be Buddhists, or Muslims, or atheists, or New Yorkers–seriously. All such titles can only be playful abstractions, mere performances for the sake of laughter. (176)

Infinite players are not serious actors in any story, but the joyful poets of a story that continues to originate what they cannot finish. (176)

101 || There is but one infinite game. (177)

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