James Carse

Some of the best teachers you’ll ever have are the ones who won’t answer your questions right away or at all. The great ones will put the onus back on you to fill in the blanks for yourself.

This week’s Living 4D conversation is a special meeting of wise teachers, as Paul discusses games, GOD and myth with James Carse, Professor Emeritus of history and religion and former Director of Religious Studies at New York University.

Learn more about James, his career and the books he’s written, including the amazing Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility, on his website.

  • For most people, belief is where their thinking stops, unless they possess a deep spiritual curiosity. (8:35)
  • James’ primary challenges as a teacher: Showing his students how ignorant they were about the world while enlarging their sense of mystery. (11:17)
  • The counterintuitive nature of playing games. (23:48)
  • Words have no meaning until/unless you respond to them. (29:42)
  • Deep, difficult intellectual work and everyday physical labor are different forms of play. (36:27)
  • The differences between finite and infinite play. (42:41)
  • “The horizon is a metaphor for the edge of our consciousness that we can’t reach.” (52:46)
  • The overlapping of religions. (59:31)
  • At the center of religion may be an infinite game. (1:03:06)
  • Are finite games essential tools for the development of consciousness, awareness and knowledge? (1:11:58)
  • The differences between political and politics. (1:23:22)
  • “To be the genius of all that we do means to be ultimately responsible for everything we do, by choice.” (1:27:34)
  • James’ definition of the soul. (1:36:06)
  • Why are boundaries so important in a game? (1:40:45)
  • Freud was a bad scientist, but a better mythologist who told stories that made us look at our lives very differently. (1:53:22)
  • “A true myth is, not only, a story that will lead to an infinite number of other stories. It’s a story that creates storytellers as well as explanations.” (1:56:46)
  • “It’s one thing to tell a story that will silence you. It’s another thing to present a silence that will cause you to tell a story.” (2:05:44)

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