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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Play Yourself


Dr. Lester CN Simon

Do you believe the games we play as children become the games we play as adults? If so, then we must understand well the games we play as children. Otherwise we will play the same game as adults without understanding the meaning of the game, and as adults, unlike children, we would have no excuse.

We all remember “The Farmer In The Dell”. The games that come in the form of a nursery rhyme must not only be read, they must actually be played because it is in the actual playing of the game that the meaning of the game is realized.

A simple, linear reading of “The Farmer In The Dell” might lead you to think that it is all about the traditional order of society in which the farmer is the one in charge and he takes a wife, whose only role is to take a child, who takes a nurse, who takes a cow, etc., leaving the cheese to stand alone. Can you remember the first time you played the game or when you were left standing alone as the cheese? What happened next?

In the next round of the game, the cheese actually becomes the farmer. I think this is the cardinal lesson to take away from the game. In the game, the farmer can be a man or a woman. The game is an exercise in democracy and in evolution, foretelling the rise of women in society. Unlike the actual game itself in which we can suddenly stop playing (for all sorts of reasons), in real life we have a choice: We can allow the game to last forever if we see life as circular and regenerating so we all get a chance at being the farmer. As we say, “What goes around, comes around”. Or, all of us can share in the duties that should be common to all the inhabitants of the dell. Even though some players are seemingly and are said to be biologically destined for some activities, biology cannot be an excuse for restricting persons from activities in which they should partake. All black people know this. The dell must become democratic and the farmer does not have to be a male. However, we cannot destroy the dell. A dell is a small valley.

There is a point of view that we must leave the restructuring of the dell to natural forces. Another view is that the restructuring should be engineered. The median position is probably what should and will obtain, meaning that some engineering will be required, especially when society is going or has gone awry.

Of course, the vexing question is what is considered as awry? Awry to some may be normal for others. In this regard, society must always have persons who can be considered as outliers ( a poor, mischievous word). Outliers can be positive or negative. They are outside the so-called spread of normality. Actually positive and negative outliers are important source of balance to attain normality and prevent skewing. Normality depends on abnormality. Good statistical data demand outliers. If outliers are not naturally available, some people may artificially adapt an outlier position and appear to have a shifting, conjunction of positions. In effect, they probably are like really good games because all great games must have a conjunction of meanings to be called great and life inspiring.

Once we understand the games we played as children and our positions (conjunction or are clear, we can, especially during the Carnival season, but throughout the year as well, do what the calypsonian says: “Play yourself”. I would only add a caveat so that we all understand that we are all in a relationship with each other and not just with ourselves: Play yourself…. with no prepositional part of speech.

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