Fun & Games

Did you know that Charles Dickens was the editor of two popular magazines, which had the aim to popularise science? The one with the title I like best is Household Words.
To think of the things we have brought into our households! All kinds of new-fangled gadgets, many of which plug in to our walls, which are now charged. Downton Abbey reminds us that there was a time when some feared that electricity. But is that without reason? The World Health Organisation has a branch devoted solely to the health of living and working environments; we know now that exposure to too many cables and frequencies does take its toll.
I'd just like to point out that criticising (constructively!) such things does not mean objecting to it all. May I state right now how much I enjoy, for instance, the internet, and am astonished sometimes by how accessible certain works or ideas are.
Last night, for example, I was listening to RadioLab's programme on the Game while I exercised, and marvelled at how one can now listen to programmes long after they have aired.
RadioLab reminds me of Household Words. It has that same agenda to wrap science in prosaic, ostensibly harmless stories, to make us like it, and to show us how science has the answer to everything, so long as we keep looking to it for the answers.
Yaay, science! It doesn't take long for me to remember growing crystals, fun with the Bunsen burner, or lab notes. But I'm not about to blindly join its cult. Even though the siren song is so appealing!
One of the leitmotifs (spoiler alert) of the Game was that a good game combines rules with the unexpected/creative. What an excellent point. In fact, it also spells out the recipe for socialization and success - as education idealists like Kurt Hahn, who started Outward Bound, or the founders of social clubs like the Girl Guides knew. Through games, we are prepared for life.
But I don't think it's all fun and games, because some games can lead us astray, like gambling, to take an extreme example. Also, if we can play at singing, what are we to say of the Sirens?
Once upon a time, Odysseus had been warned not to listen to the Sirens. They promised they would sing to him of history. But he'd already been told that history, before he left, so why would he want to listen to them? Ah, but the sirens promised to sing it to him sweetly! Sounds like fun, no?
But the rule is: Don't play with Sirens.
Once upon a time, there were lots of rules. Then, and not without historical precedent, man said: No! I don't wanna listen, I'm gonna do it my way, I've got the brains! Tisk tisk. Had he not heard of Icarus?
It's not all fun and games. But once we know that, perhaps it is.

Elements: minitoko.