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Roger Caillois and the Flow Activities

18 Oct, 2010, por Sergio. 1 Comentario

Roger Caillois
Thanks to my latest bedside book: “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, I’ve discovered the work of Roger Caillois, the French psychological anthropologist, that in his book «Man, Play and Games» originally published on 1958, he divided the games (using that word in its broadest sense to include every form of pleasurable activity) into four broad classes, depending on the kind of experiences they provide:

  • Agon (competition): competitive games where the opponents are in a position of relative equality and each seeks to prove its superiority (sports, board games, etc.).
  • Alea (luck): games based on a decision that not depends on the player. The goal of this games is not to defeat the enemy, but to impose the destiny (dice, bingo, etc.).
  • Mimicry (simulation): every game is a temporary acceptance, if not an illusion at least of a closed universe, conventional and, in some aspects, fictitious. Here the rules don’t dominate, is a simulation of a second reality. The player escapes from  reality creating another world. These games use to be complemented by the mimicry and disguise (rol games, dance, theater and the arts in general).
  • Ilinx (vertigo): games that attempt to destroy for a moment the stability of perception and inflict a lucid consciousness a kind of voluptuous panic. In any case, it is to achieve a kind of spasm, trance or lightheadedness that causes the annihilation of reality with a suddenness sovereign. The rapid movement of rotation or fall causes an organic state of confusion and bewilderment (riding a merry-go-round or skydiving).

And now, didn’t you see features or components of these classifications on some social networks, for example: Is Twitter an Agon ativity where people are competing by the number of followers? Or Facebook, a Mimicry place in many ways?

Ok relax… rimmed glasses mode: off.

Un comentario

  1. roclafamilia says:

    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!