drawing by petersilie

Larissa Miller's
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Homo Ludens.
In lieu of Introduction

However complex the world we live in, the hardest thing of all is keeping order in the territory entrusted to us, our own heart and mind, and dealing with the conflicts that arise constantly on the invisible boundary between our space and the space outside. Nothing could be easier, one might think, than to go back and forth as the fancy takes you. But no. Someone is watching the boundary. And that someone is you. You either block all the ways in and feed on external impressions or you obstruct the exits, withdrawing into yourself. You open up your heart to destroy or squander your treasures. There is no peace, no order, no harmony in us. There used to be, of course, but that was long ago, in childhood, when everything was crystal clear, all boundaries.

This inner territory lives a mysterious life of its own, in its own epoch, with its own time count that rarely coincides with the one outside. Inside there is quiet, outside there is uproar; inside all prospers, outside all collapses. Or the reverse: outside is the Renaissance, inside the Dark Middle Ages; outside the snow is melting, inside, the frost nips hard; the outside world is on the verge of new life, but your inner clock has almost stopped. You thought it would go on forever, but that proved to be just one of the illusions in which life abounds. Illusions are a substitute for happiness, and milestones on our life's path. Moving from one milestone to the next, or rather, from one mirage to the next, we eventually arrive at a new mirage. Nor a new one, but an old one that has arisen and vanished a million times before in other hearts. We arrive at a point where others have been before us and left endless evidence that both delights (hooray, I'm not the only one!) and depresses us (alas, I'm not the only one!).

Yet all the same our inner territory remains a terra incognita, and on it we are Adam, whom the Lord plays up to, by giving fresh paints and vivid sensations. "My first snow", we exclaim, entranced. "First lark. First love".

You think your inner space is endless but suddenly discover that you've tramped the full length and breadth of it, exhausted all its resources, looked into all its recesses. And now there is nothing left, nor is there likely to be anything new. Even commodity exchange between the two worlds, outer and inner, is now impossible.

God endowed you with a divine spark capable of transforming banality into revelation, an ordinary shrub into a 'burning bush'. He gave you inspiration, but you... Yet the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Who knows the whys and wherefores? No matter what theories we may concoct, they all boil down to a nursery rhyme that goes something like this: "There once lived a little hog, or was it a little dog, perhaps a piglet, maybe a twiglet, or probably no one lived..."