Prelude: The Cosmic Setup
The Big Picture
My dissertation will focus on lila, cosmic play, play at its most archetypal level—how the universe plays—which seems to be bricolage, forming and reforming and transforming in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. This is the essence of cosmic play, to cut to the chase, or as Goethe so poetically put it: “formation, transformation, / Eternal Mind’s eternal recreation.” Jung quoted this passage from Faust II, Act I in a letter to Freud regarding his exploration of unconscious fantasy, noting “This is the matrix of the mind, as the little great-grandfather correctly saw. I hope something good comes out of it” (Freud & Jung, 1974, p. 431).
I, too, hope that something good comes out of it. Now that I have given you a very big picture look at the subject matter, I need to explain several other things before we explore the dissertation together. First how did we get here, second what’s the problem with (defining) play, third what is the mission or purpose of this dissertation, fourth why is it written or presented this way and last, how is the website organized.
How did We Actually Get Here?
It all began oddly enough with Victor Turner and the White Rabbit, well actually Jefferson Airplane’s song “White Rabbit” (Slick, 2003, CD) I had first read a paragraph about play from Turner’s (1988) 1983 article “Body Brain and Culture” from his 1988 book, The Anthropology of Performance, in Marion Woodman’s (1985) book, The Pregnant Virgin for a class in Depth Psychology and Cultural issues.
When I think of the task of defining play, the song “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” from The Sound of Music (Wise, 1965) comes to mind:
How do you solve a problem like Maria? / How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? / How do you find a word that means Maria? / A flibbertigibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!
To Boldly Go… But What’s in it for Me?
You may be asking yourself at this point, why should I bother reading this? What’s in it for me? Why does the Cosmic Game matter, and who cares about its patterns? The Cosmic Game matters, because it is the way the universe plays, and because we are a part of the universe, we also play in this way. By learning about how the universe plays, we can be more effective in our own lives. The crazy thing is, that no one ever told us that we were playing a game,
“To Dream the Impossible Dream”
James Hillman, in Re-visioning Psychology (1992a) talks about the Knight Errant in the same chapter that he discusses bricolage, and he goes off on a tangent to do so. This dissertation is about bricolage, and it is a bricolage, and so part of the way that it is written reflects a kind of bricoleur style