Book Walks in the Field of Infinite Play

I have adopted the term ‘feldgang’ rather broadly to mean any movement in virtual OR physical space that is woolgathering, intentionally without intent. Here are two examples of feldgangs through Maria Popova’s newest book, Figuring.

I know that true randomness is nearly impossible in any practical, mathematical sense…but this ain’t math. Here are some paths I take.

  1. Open to a page in the book at random, then read and draw from it…something.
  2. Go to index and do the same thing.
  3. Look in the Table of Contents for something interesting.
  4. Look in the index for something interesting

The idea is to make the bookwalk like a feldgang on the ground wherever you live. In this case I am living in a book so I am walking in the book. You can do this with a sound file or music or a sculpture or a painting or an image. The randomness is a way to make the book one’s own instead of belonging only to the heart and mind of the author. In BookWalk #1 I used arrows to indicate a path. In BookWalk#2 I used comic book grammar and panelling to indicate a path. I know these are not for the aesthetes out there. These are just ways of thinking out loud about books and authors and words and ideas. It is the field of infinite play that James Carse outlined with such genius. You can play, too.

I am reminded of an excellent and short article that uses Carse’s idea of infinite and finite play to great effect, 6 Signs You May Be an Infinite Player

“What will undo any boundary is the awareness that it is our vision, and not what we are viewing, that is limited.” ~ James P. Carse

1.) You have the ability to transform boundaries into horizons

2.) You understand the absolute necessity for changing the rules of the game

3.) You play with jest as opposed to seriousness

4.) You are internally defined as opposed to externally defined

5.) You play to generate time instead of consume it

6.) You are concerned with vision rather than power

Like Paul Tillich said, “It takes tremendous courage to resist the lure of appearances. The power of being which is manifest in such courage is so great that the gods tremble in fear of it.” Let them tremble! Our infinite play depends upon it, and the play must go on. Where the finite player aims for eternal life; the infinite player aims for eternal rebirth.

Aside: I wanted to thank Kevin for noting and sharing my first bookwalk on the social media platform, Mastodon, below.

5 Comments


  1. // Reply

    I found this by my own version of a feldgang – by clicking into our new CLMOOC planet and scrolling through the “planet” (RSS reader). I’d never heard of infinite play before.

    Hail Infinite Play!


  2. // Reply

    I am trying to transform boundaries into horizons,

    I am trying to understand the absolute necessity for changing the rules of the game,

    I play with jest as opposed to seriousness,

    I am internally defined not externally defined,

    I play to generate time instead of consume it

    I am more concerned with vision than I am with power.

    The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.


  3. // Reply

    “The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes.” A good reminder, in our society obsessed with over consumption.


  4. // Reply

    Limits only in seeming so. It occurs to me that this might be construed as blaming the victim. You know, like saying, “If you were more resourceful, these limits (money, time, wealth, friends) wouldn’t matter.” That is not what I mean.


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