Climate Balance Through Play: A Manifesto

We must return to a state of play within the ambit of climate to achieve glory through sacrifice and, ultimately, expenditure by all the planet’s players. Humanity has ceased playing with its environment, and instead seeks to control and abstract it. We must regain the magic power that once enveloped our lives in order to achieve climate balance. 




[1] Play is universal. Play pervades all our lives and is incorporated into our daily practices. Play is embedded within our DNA, an instinctual element of human and non-human behavior.

[2] Play does not have a single meaning. Play is performance. Play is improvisation. Play is fun. Transient meanings give play its unique power, allowing it to reside intimately within our daily experience. Play invades multiple realms, but it is never static within those realms. These realms are simultaneously part of play and subsumed by it.[2] We both “play” instruments and “play” games. When we play, we are truly, then, entering a “state of play.” This state is never quite the same, and thus we evaluate it differently each time we enter it.

[3] Playing is always doing. Play is perpetual action. Even the most cerebral act of play has a physical manifestation. This is because play is always here and always present. Play, at its core, is never abstract. We do not play in the past. We only play now.

[4] Yet play is not just doing. Play is not freedom. Play, ultimately, is constrained. All creatures that play, human and non-human, play within rules, within parameters. Some of these structures are highly complex, while others are incredibly simple.[3]

[5] Parameters define play. Even when understood, these rules continue to drive play. This is because play is a skilled act. We play with the goal of mastery over these parameters, until they become intuitive. Such mastery, when our bodies can execute the desired actions of play innately, is known as maximum grip.[4]

[6] We often play with “others,” be they objects, players or both. Both player and “other” operate within the constraints of play. As players, our understanding of others within the game is shaped by the parameters of play within which we encounter them. Outside of play, these others have drastically different meanings. Different relationships are forged that may not resemble those within the game. The ability to relate to others atypically and to ascribe them with new meanings is a fundamental construct of the “magic circle… [the space] where the game takes place.” [5]

[7] Our primary interaction with others during play is conflict. We play to win even if we play alone. When we play a game of solitaire we strive to win against nothing. Even if we play against inanimate objects, we are then in conflict with those objects. Hence, we are in conflict less with one person or another, but with the game itself. This inherent conflict is essential to the state of play, a consequence of the rarefied nature of the “magic circle.”

[8] Constraints and actions within play are iterative by design. They are not static, but constantly amended and re-evaluated during play. Some constraints and actions are more crucial than others. Some are modified only temporarily, while others are necessary to “play” correctly. The basis of the rules is often revealed as play occurs. However, no action or constraint of play is so essential that it can’t be reconsidered, even if to affirm the state of play.

[9] Play is transporting. Play gives our lives meaning within the magic circle. That meaning has consequences for future play and often becomes the focal point of social networking between players and non-players. While often there is a quantifiable result of play, such outcomes do not ultimately bring play to an end. Rather play is iterative and repetitive. We continue to play even after loss and defeat. We choose to play again. This repetition is part of play’s transportive quality and is shaped by the glory of more quantifiable outcomes, as well as the magic circle of the game. Repetition also promotes skill. Repetition allows maximum grip to develop. Mastery, through repetition, then becomes the ultimate goal of play, beyond quantifiable outcomes. Even after achieving master grip, the player feels compelled to continue play, for the sake of glory, competition and to retain skill.

[10] Play promotes balance. All good play is balanced play. Without such balanced engagement, the game ends prematurely. Without a balanced arrangement, the song is dissonant. Play equalizes mind and body, and skills learned and acquired. The force of play aims to redistribute the elements of its creation to players. Once a game is won, it is inevitable that it will be restarted and replayed. The outcome of individual games is lost within the practice of play, ultimately providing balance.

[11] Finally, play is always designed. Part of this design stems from the actions of the players as they play. Players constantly amend, adjust and adhere to the rules of the game, shaping their experience. There is a close relationship between design and the bodily experience of play. Design stems from the body, or from the parameters of the “game” itself.[6]



[12] “A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules and results in a quantifiable outcome.” [7] Games are a manifestation of the magic circle, demarcating the boundaries of play, more rigid than other forms of play due to their inherently “arbitrary” quality within the current cultural landscape. Ultimately, it is necessary to amplify this magic circle and allow it to naturally exist within the framework of all culture.

[13] Because they circumscribe the boundaries of play, games provide localized and contextualized meaning. This meaning is derived partially from the designer, but the true experience of the game is only revealed when players play the game. This is why game design must be iterative. “Design is the process by which a designer creates a context to be encountered by a participant, from which meaning emerges.” [8] However, the designer never assumes that the meaning will be fully understood from his original design, nor does the designer assume that meaning is static, but that it develops with, and depends on, the player. The player’s actions color the framework provided by the designer, and thus the game is made whole by their complementary contributions.

[14] In addition to providing localized meanings, games also provide “localized economy.” Localized, in this instance, refers to the scale of the game on a personal and, therefore, local level. Players experience this localized economy as they engage with new forms of value and exchange that occur within the boundaries of the magic circle. By being aware of the artificiality of the rules of the game, players are able to reevaluate the exchange, exert new means of exchange and sacrifice for the sake of greater glory within the game. However, the localized economy and localized meaning are not always subject to the realm of play. For those most devoted to play and the game, such values, exchanges and glory are incorporated into everyday life and experience. For some, these rituals and acts become a spiritual presence in their daily activity. The fervor of such spirituality can equal religious belief, and as such, religion in general can be understood as a game system.

[15] Games are designed through systems. Systems are made up of objects, attributes, internal relationships, and environments, and are framed within the formal, the experiential and the cultural. Computer and video games contain characteristics that amplify the opportunities and limits of the digital realm. Such games provide immediate, but often narrow interactivity, data-oriented manipulation of information, networks of instant communication, and complex, often automated systems.[9]

[16] Society is subject to design and has incorporated game elements into its design. Games are not separate from society, nor are they meaningless in society. Games are integrated in society. Games and play precede “society” in our own understanding of “society.” [10] Society itself can be understood as an abstracted game. Its various elements are often called “games” or are rhetorically considered to be “played.” No place is this more clear than the “economy,” an artificial, self-sustaining system through which “players” manipulate, interact, compete, and even cheat.[11] The only thing that distinguishes “society” from other games is the relativity of its meaning, in that while many games are considered waste, society promotes “use” and is therefore worthwhile.

Climate Collectivity

[17] Our understanding of climate is that of a system.[12] This system is also subject to manipulation, understood in the abstract, and is framed by the formal, the experiential and the cultural. Just as society can be perceived as a game, climate can be perceived as game. While this “game” is complex, the quantifiable results of the game are becoming increasingly certain. Further, we generally understand our current relationship to climate as one of loss.[13] We are, in essence, losing the game of climate.

[18] Our understanding of the climatic system is only as an abstract concept, separate from the collective humans and non-humans that inhabit the current climate condition.[14] This is the conflict of our current age of climate. “Climate’s” meaning is gleaned only through the “scientific” interpretation of abstract data.[15] This data should not be tinkered with, because, as scientific data, it is considered genuine. Thus, we can understand only the system and the data, which surpasses personal experience because of the limits of the flesh. It is impossible to experience the true scope of the climate condition, and like any game, we do not comprehend the abstract as much as our local, personal and bodily experience.


[19] The disconnect between climatic systems and bodily experience exacerbates the artificial and adversarial schism between “climate” and “society.”[16] However, this schism has not always been present within the human condition. “Climate” is one interpretation of a larger set of data and systems. It is one abstraction. We must imagine climate and society, humans and non-humans,[17] within one collective system, one collective game.

[20] Even within our current abstract understanding of it, “climate” as a system seeks balance. The planet has relative balance, and endeavors to maintain balance. Like any other game, our planetary conditions exist with myriad elements at play and in equilibrium with each other.

[21] However, various ages of this planet have witnessed disruption of this balance. Our current age is defined by human activity interfering with this balance. Human activity during this “Anthropocentric” age has direct effect on the world collective.[18] Humans have gone from being “players” within the context of climate to designers of the climate condition. We now are global designers and currently perpetuate the artificial conflict between “society” and “climate” as we persist in differentiating between the two. We experience the effects of this design strategy in daily activity, in everything that we do. Part of what we must achieve is a new way of rethinking this design in order to understand these systems as collected and networked. Systems of climate are inevitably interrelated, including all human activity. Just as games are universal, so is climate. We must imagine a network of rules and interactions to comprehend and realize climatic and societal progress.We must now instigate play within these intertwined human and non-human collectives.

The Anthropocene

[22] The dawn of the Anthropocene was the dawn of the mastery over nature. In order to master nature, it had to be abstracted and separated from human activity, so that human society could be in conflict with and eventually conquer it. Such domination was justified in the name of achieving particular human ideals: safety, freedom, knowledge, comfort. But only when we fathomed nature as an abstract could it be conquered.[19]

[23] By abstracting nature, we removed it from our daily life and practice, actively rejecting and modifying it to fit our societal ideals. This was not the only abstraction necessary for societal dominance. The Enlightenment saw the abstraction of magic to begin mastery over it, the abstraction of religion, the subaltern classes and, inevitably, the economy. Each abstraction contained its localized meaning, its own “rules” and “justifications,” its own practices and self-sustaining parts, which needed to remain impervious to the pervasive nature of play. “Play” itself came to mean useless expenditure, the remnants of human activity that did not serve a purpose within the larger context and society. Play became a waste of time, devoid of value compared to the value of capital.

[24] Capitalism is the great hoax of game play. Playing within the environment of capital remained valuable, while playing outside of that environment came to represent waste because play represented expenditure rather than saving, a hallmark of the capitalist system. All play, including play for the sake of capital, is that of expenditure. It is the exertion and expenditure of the player that is the ultimate reward of play over any immediate compensation. Social alienation derives from the disconnect between the instinct of the human to expend and the disavowing of expenditures within the capitalist system.[20]

[25] Alienation also is manifested from a loss of control when denied the ability to play. The play act becomes relegated to waste in a society made up of various abstractions (climate, economy, etc.), and in which participation is merely a byproduct, a side note, to their larger existence. Without the ability to be active or participate within the current societal system, we are unable to achieve mastery, or maximum grip, of much of our lives. Alienation can then be seen as the repercussion of a lived existence bereft of mastery and maximum grip due to the primacy of abstractions.


[26] Alienation exists when no state of play is present. No state of excitement exists without the glory of achieving mastery in play. When we play and master play within the confines of the magic circle, a frenetic state of energy and excitement occurs. When society demands to understand climate as an abstract concept, play is no longer possible. The Anthropocene denied the climate this energy, and removed the ability to engage climate within the realm of the magic circle. Furthermore, the Anthropocene distilled such “magic” from any number of other institutions, (religious, governmental, etc.). Thus, through abstraction, states of play, excitement, and magic are barred from our lives. We live in an age of abstraction, when it is necessary to live in age of play. This is the reason we search for play wherever we can find it and have endeavored through technological advances to “gamify” our lives.[21] Even in its most esoteric forms, we seek out and attempt to engage with play.

[27] To reclaim climate balance through play is to regain the control of magic at the expense of abstraction. When the artificial abstraction is deconstructed, climate can be realized as a networked collective of all human and non-human things. Through the politics and rhetoric of play, this collective can seek balance. While, on the one hand, this represents a regression to a pre-Anthropocene lifestyle, on the other, it represents progression, as we move beyond Anthropocentric alienation and abstraction to a new, more holistic, state of play.

Rhetoric of Play


[28] The modern politics of play must be understood within a rhetoric of play. Play is articulated through rules. Systems and designs are more intelligible than the experience of play itself. Such rhetoric is also instructional, outlining methods of play and defining the boundaries of the magic circle itself. Without the correct articulation of rules and regulations, the game possesses different meaning, or even no meaning at all. Once the rules of play are acknowledged, they must be practiced, mastered and experienced. The magic circle cannot be fully understood until it is played within. The rhetoric of play is a definitive and significant introduction to the politics of play.

[29] Since the introduction of the Anthropocentric world view, interaction within the climate has been primarily combatant. “Nature” was seen as separate from society. Nature was wild, “pristine”[22] and indomitable, even while destiny ordained that we conquer it and replace it with the architecture of human society. Nature was too precious and powerful for play. Nature defied play in its very construction: not fluid, but static (if not impenetrable) and primordial, not limited, but limitless.[23] This rhetoric is pronounced in doctrines such as “Manifest Destiny” and “Wide Open Spaces.” [24]

[30] Rhetoric of climate, in the wake of its current irreversible change, is founded on this historical perspective. Hence, climate is addressed in terms of conservation, modeled after the practices of capitalism.[25] Man must conserve, save and reduce. Climate is seen as a precious abstraction, composed of valuable commodities within a larger whole. It is not recognized as the networked collective that it is. This is the rhetoric of the abstract, of the cerebral. Climate reduction must be achieved by certain dates, according to certain models and procedures, in written documents and protocols. This is not the rhetoric of play. It is not a rhetoric to promote action. And yet, within the abstraction, it is painfully evident that action is required.

[31] Therefore, the rhetoric of climate balance requires play. Play deploys action and skills. Play constructs different frameworks and levels of involvement. Play is practiced differently by every user. Most importantly, play makes players aware that they are playing. Within the realm of the game, of the magic circle, we conscribe our actions to work in concert with play. We make an effort to play. The politics of play emphasizes such exertion and expenditure. The politics of play focuses on sacrifice, expenditure, doing and action. These are fundamental to play.

The Politics of Play


[32] As the rhetoric of climate is shaped by systems and abstraction, so are its politics, represented most clearly by the “goals” of meeting certain economic, intangible and abstract values. It is this data that still makes up the current climate debate. While data is an important subset of any game, and quantifiable outcomes measure success and failure, such politics provide no true experience of the climate conflict, nor do they encourage personal daily practice. We must individually figure out how we can play. However, we must feel compelled to play. We must force ourselves to play. Without everyone participating within the collective, the game will be incomplete. The balance of climate play requires complete participation. We are all both object and piece, designer and player in this system. Climate and play are interconnected, and both permeate all daily activity within society. As a result, the rules of our lives must be rewritten.

[33] Societies revolving around play and expenditure have existed before the Anthropocene. They can act as models for establishing a new politics of play. Such is the potlatch society. The potlatch was a ceremony of competition and expenditure, with the goal of “humiliating, defying, and obligating a rival” through the giving of gifts and the sacrificing of wealth.[26] The goal of the potlatch was to give away one’s excesses with the expectation that someday a gift of greater value would be returned. Yet by receiving that gift, another of even greater value was obligated. The potlatch was not a limited and abstracted ceremony, but integral to all aspects of daily life, shaping where, when and how people interacted.[27] The potlatch was capable of adapting itself even as certain societies modified their actions and gave in to the dominance of the Anthropocene.[28] Within both Anthropocentric and non-Anthropocentric societies, the potlatch represented a network of interconnected sacrifices and gifts. While the largest gift and sacrifice came from the most powerful, this sacrifice was the culmination of constant negotiation, agreement and efforts from the entire tribe. The “gift” was a symbol of the sacrifice by tribal members. These “gifts” are attainable within the realm of play and the “society” of the Anthropocene. However, such “gifts” of expenditure and competition have no value within the capitalist model.

[35] The essence of the potlatch ultimately comes from human expenditure. Expenditure of the self and sacrifice of excess to others is intimately tied with glory. Play within the Anthropocene has been associated with “waste” in that it does not provide “use” in the capitalist economy. However, such waste is still expenditure. Within play, we expend with the idea of giving, as part of a cycle in which all gifts must then be reciprocated with another gift and in return will warrant further reciprocation. To play, we must expend. We do not expect a return gift immediately. We expend for the sake of expending, with the idea that the glory we achieve will eventually be matched. The magic of play and the rules of the magic circle generate a state of excitement based around expenditure of the self.


A Collective State of Play

[36] Excitement is the primary motivation for success. Excitement is derived from expenditure. It is the true reward and magic of expenditure, the inexplicable exhilaration we feel when we are excited. It is the ultimate product of the magic circle. Excitement perpetuates itself. We always feel the glory of expenditure. We understand the magic of expenditure. We revel in this expenditure. We must re-stake the roots of our glory, away from vested interests and into vested play.

[37] All politics of play involve sacrifice. Sacrifice is made with the expectation of return, but not the guarantee. We need to move away from the stability of economic abstraction to the uncertainty of life-long play. We who sacrifice can expect no reward except for the glory of such sacrifice. We must all sacrifice within our means. No gift remains in a state of permanence. A universal obligation to give and to play will inevitably result in returns. All should begin to inscribe their actions within the framework of climate balance. Once achieved holistically, with humans and non-humans regarded as players, we will have a true state of play. What matters is not the degree to which one plays, or his reward, but the sum of the total means of expenditure and the fervor to sacrifice more.[29]

[38] Giving does not cease. As with all play, the immediate gains and losses remain relatively meaningless compared to mastery. We are both designer and player of this climatic collective fate. This is not a static endeavor, a one-time goal. Like all games, the aim is for iteration and replay. Like all gifts, reciprocation and the transience of the gift will be the hallmark of this new form of collectivity. We will be active, guided by the enforceability of the game’s mutable rules.

[39] The mind of play is always aware of playing. If we are playing with climate change, we must always have it in our mind. We must comprehend the network of connections to the climate and play with all of them, expending on all of their behalves. We must attempt maximum grip with our whole body, never ceasing, because climate is connected to all parts of our lives. Great players are able to let the game subsume them and take over their every action when they play.

[40] In order to win at this game, we must give infinitely to achieve balance. This is a herculean task, in which all our energy is exerted into the game we play. It cannot be assumed that mastery has been achieved. If mastery begins to be achieved, the rules will inevitably be rewritten. This is the politics of doing: the idea that every action becomes shaped by necessity, that we are willing to continuously sacrifice on its behalf.

[41] Joy and fun provide their own value through expenditure. This value is not fixed like capitalist precedents. New strategies must be crafted. The best player is defeated if he is not constantly redesigning his strategy within the game.

[42] The politics of play is decentralized. No game can exist without its players. No players can play without submitting to the rules of the game. In games between players, each player takes on individual significance that makes them vital to the perpetuation of the game. Even the conflict of the game itself is important to the life of the game. We are aware that we are players, that we sacrifice, but ultimately, we are within the realm of the magic circle. We are subject to the rules of play, which exist beyond us. Once committed, collectively we are all players.

[43] The politics of play is localized in each life and each experience. One never sees the whole of climate. No individual player can compete within that whole. A person is cognizant only of individual acts, and the localized experience of play. However, such perspective allows us to personalize acts on behalf of the collective. It becomes our own solitary game, based on our own rules and expenditure. Competition will ultimately be secondary because we play for the sake of the game.

[44] The politics of play is experience. It represents a set of actions that can be performed in the present. They are not planned for the future, nor do they conjure the past. This is a new method of addressing the phenomenon of everyday life. Ultimately, play is accommodated in every experience and act. This new “ludic” age will be defined by play and expenditure for the sake of balance among the whole of the collective.

[45] Change must occur in order for these politics to take hold. We have started already. We have assembled the framework for this balance. We have imagined the societies of play, but we have not begun to engage in play. When we have enlisted entire nations and governments collectively, the politics of play will begin to achieve its goals.


[46] Such politics are embodied in nonviolent playful acts, from the competitive creation of cacophony by protesters in Belgrade[30] to the human microphones of Wall Street Occupiers in 2011. This latter movement exemplifies a model for the politics of play put into action. The movement is both iterative and repetitive in terms of space and time, allowing itself to be produced and reproduced in spaces throughout the United States and the world, endeavoring toward preservation and perpetuation of the movement, and decentralized from a particular space or version. The movement itself was and continues to be carefully designed through groups of its participants, players within its space. However, anyone can enter this space and participate. The essence of the movement relies not in abstraction, but action, to occupy space. While methods of the movement are carefully articulated, they are subsumed by the action of the movement itself. The movement makes use of demarcated boundaries, “magic circles” in which participation and interaction with others takes on wholly different meanings than outside of the boundaries of the occupied space. Everyone within Occupy Wall Street must expend his own energies for the sake of the movement. Based on volunteers, the movement perpetuates itself as a result of expenditure by the collective and for the collective. Each member expends differently, taking on whatever role he can, and thus competition between those who expend for the movement is subordinate to the ideals of the movement as a whole. Finally, Occupy Wall Street represents collective interests, including climate change and environmental issues, but no particular issue becomes the abstract goal of the movement. The movement recognizes and plays with the interconnected network of problems stemming from the current capitalist system and thus plays at protest in the most sincere way possible. No list of demands and abstractions can replicate the actions of Occupy Wall Street. However, even this movement only represents a nascent stage of climate balance through play.


[47] Climate balance through play begins with action.

  • Turn every action into play – With every action, ask how you can expend on behalf of the environment. What are the interconnected pathways with which the “other” you are engaging is connected to climate. How can you expend and sacrifice on climate’s behalf? Be aware of your limits within the context of climate change.
  • Turn every action into sacrifice – Every action should be a sacrifice. This sacrifice will, without doubt, have to be within the means and decisions of each player, but no action should be seen as solely for personal benefit, without reciprocation and effect. Imagine the consequences of your sacrifice and the cascade of results that will come from it. Attempt to reach maximum grip within the chosen sacrifice.
  • Revel in the reward of the sacrifice – With each sacrifice, revel in the reward, no matter how small or large. Be blatant in what you have done. Be loud! Tell those around you what you have done. Be aware that such sacrifices should increase. Glory cannot subsist on one sacrifice. It relies on the culmination of greater and increasing sacrifices.
  • Structure your own localized play – Be conscious of the context within which you live. Sacrifice as much as you can, not only within means, but within space, and attempt to achieve maximum grip within the localized sacrifice.
  • Always improve – Be restless. Seek maximum grip and improvement with each thing that you do, until it becomes intuitive. Then find new means of sacrifice, new means of expenditure. Seek to always challenge yourself.
  • Reciprocate and give within this framework – Finally, reciprocate with those who expend and sacrifice on your behalf. Their expenditure should be rewarded as yours should be, but neither is guaranteed. It is ultimately greater glory to expend and reward others than to anticipate how they should reward you.




Bataille, Georges. Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939. 1st ed. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 1985.

Chakrabarty, Dipesh. “The Climate of History: Four Theses.” Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2 (2009): 197-222.

Dreyfus, Hubert L. “The Current Relevance of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Embodiment.” The Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4, no. Spring (1999).

Edwards, Paul N. A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. The MIT Press, 2010.

Harvey, Fiona. “World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns.” the Guardian, November 9, 2011, sec. Environment.

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Routledge, 2008.

Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Harvard University Press, 2004. Kindle Edition.

Mauss, Marcel. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. W. W. Norton & Company, 2000.

McNeill, J. R. “Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History.” History and Theory 42, no. 4 (December 1, 2003): 5-43.

Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Phenomenology of Perception. 2nd ed. T & F Books UK, 2007.

Patel, Kunur. “All the World’s a Game, and Brands Want to Play Along | Digital – Advertising Age.” Ad Age Digital, May 31, 2010.

Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. The MIT Press, 2003.

Thomas, Robert. The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s. Columbia University Press, 1999.

Wark, McKenzie. “NeMe: A HACKER MANIFESTO [version 4.0] by McKenzie Wark.” Charity. NeMe, January 1, 2006.



[1] Wark, McKenzie. “NeMe: A HACKER MANIFESTO [version 4.0] by McKenzie Wark.” Charity. NeMe, January 1, 2006. Inspiration for the formatting comes from this manifesto.

[2] Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. The MIT Press, 2003: 83. Salen and Zimmerman note such a relationship in the “Defining Games” section of their book.

[3] Ibid., 30. See Salen and Zimmerman’s definition of non-human play to garner an understanding of the most elemental forms of play among creatures.

[4] Dreyfus, Hubert L. “The Current Relevance of Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Embodiment.” The Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4, Spring (1999). See Dreyfus’ explanation of maximum grip in “Maximum Grip: Intentionality Without Representation.,” or see Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. Maurice Merleau-Ponty: Phenomenology of Perception. 2nd ed. T & F Books UK, 2007.

[5] Salen and Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, 95. Salen and Zimmerman provide their own brief, yet clear, definition of Johan Huizinga’s phenomenon.

[6] Salen and Zimmerman, Rules of Play, 327, describe game design as “second-order design problem” because of this close connection.

[7] Ibid., 83.

[8] Ibid., 47.

[9] Ibid., 48-56

[10] Huizinga, Johan Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture. Routledge, 2008: 47. See Huizinga’s description of “competitions and exhibitions as amusements…”

[11] Huizinga, Homo Ludens: 11. A note on cheating: Cheating only occurs as a consequence of sophisticated understanding of the game. The cheater only knows how to circumnavigate the rules after he has mastered them, or at least a part of them. In the case of larger and more complex systems, cheating becomes significantly more difficult. Game guidelines are not permanent. Games can be changed to adapt to cheating. A cheater can only cheat with knowledge of the system. If the system changes, so must the cheater.

[12] Edwards, Paul N. A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. The MIT Press, 2010: xix. Edwards analyzes the details of this understanding throughout this book, but remarks that “Virtually any global thing you try to study will bring you up against the issues of making global data, making data global, and data friction. Studying anything that is planetary in scale – including human systems as well as natural systems – will put you in the business of infrastructural globalism.” Also, of note is the reliance on data within Edwards’ model. For the historical development of understanding the world as a vast system, see the first chapter of Edwards’ book.

[13] Harvey, Fiona. “World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns.” the Guardian, November 9, 2011, sec. Environment. Such an article illustrates the understanding of “loss” on the part of the entire world community once climate change has become irreversible.

[14] Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Harvard University Press, 2004: Kindle Locations 437-440. Latour refers to this separation throughout his work, providing a number of possible explanations including: “Starting with the myth of the Cave, it has been the unity of nature that produces its entire political benefit, since only this assembling, this ordering, can serve as a direct rival to the other form of assembling, composing, unifying, the entirely traditional form that has always been called politics, in the singular. The debate over nature and politics is like the great debate that opposed the pope and the emperor throughout the entire Middle Ages, when two loyalties toward two totalities of equal legitimacy divided Christian consciences into two camps.”

[15] Edwards, A Vast Machine, xix-xx. Edwards articulates that current climate understanding comes from data and information, what he articulates as “Monitoring, Modeling, and Memory.” These various forms of data converge to give an understanding of the climate.

[16] Latour, Politics of Nature, loc. 448-450. Latour refers to this in terms of “Nature” and “Politics” rather than “climate” and “society.”

[17] Ibid., loc. 554-563. Latour provides a model for organizing such a collective and the incorporation of beings into human and non-human categories.

[18] Chakrabarty, Dipesh. “The Climate of History: Four Theses.” Critical Inquiry 35, no. 2 (2009): 197-222. Chakrabarty’s theses provide a number of effects of the Anthropocene, ranging from environmental to economic.

[19] Ibid., 208 – 209. Chakrabarty provides an elegant context to human development, the development of “freedom” and the dawn of this period, along with a definition of the Anthropocene itself.

[20] Bataille, Georges. Visions Of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939. 1st ed. Univ Of Minnesota Press, 1985: 124 – 125. Bataille poignantly describes Marx’s condition of alienation in terms of economy, stating: “A certain evolution of wealth, whose symptoms indicate sickness and exhaustion, leads to shame in oneself accompanied by petty hypocrisy. Everything that was generous, orgiastic, and excessive has disappeared; the themes of rivalry upon which individual activity still depends develop in obscurity, and are as shameful as belching. The representatives of the bourgeoisie have adopted an effaced manner; wealth is now displayed behind closed doors, in accordance with depressing and boring conventions. In addition, people in the middle class – employees and small shopkeepers – having attained mediocre or minute fortunes, have managed to debase and subdivide ostentatious expenditure, of which nothing remains but vain efforts tied to tiresome rancor.” Wealth here becomes part of the process of alienation through humiliation.

[21] Patel, Kunur. “All the World’s a Game, and Brands Want to Play Along | Digital – Advertising Age.” Ad Age Digital, May 31, 2010. Such articles articulate the use of game play elements into marketing, advertising, etc.

[22] McNeill, J. R. “Observations on the Nature and Culture of Environmental History.” History and Theory 42, no. 4 (December 1, 2003): 39.

[23] Ibid., 14. McNeill provides a full history of this historical development.

[24] Ibid., 26.

[25] Ibid., 16.

[26] Bataille, Visions Of Excess, 121.

[27] Mauss, Marcel. The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. W. W. Norton & Company, 2000: 34. Mauss describes the migratory habits of the Northwest Indian, explaining that the potlatch itself was tied into such habits. The ceremony would only occur during the winter, when the excesses acquired during the spring were expended during the less hospitable winter season. In this way, the potlatch literally fed the tribe throughout the coldest months of the year.

[28] Ibid., 21 – 31. Mauss describes the people of Trobriand Islands, who have benefited from European development and have adopted European customs, while still preserving the ceremony of the potlatch.

[29] Such engagement should be mandated, if it is not at first adopted.

[30] Thomas, Robert. The Politics of Serbia in the 1990s. Columbia University Press, 1999: 308. A form of protest against the government and news agencies during the nonviolent struggle in Serbia.

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