Games as Self-Realization:

by tommy.rousse

I used Martin Redish’s theory of self-realization (from “The Value of Free Speech”) to justify classifying electronic games as protected speech. Here, Gadamer makes the argument better than I did:

“Reality” always stands in a horizon of desired or feared, or at any rate, still undecided future possibilities.  Hence it is always the case that mutually exclusive expectations are aroused, not all of which can be fulfilled.  The undecidedness of the future permits such a superfluity of expectations that reality necessarily lags behind them.  Now if, in a particular case, a context of meaning closes and completes itself in reality, such that no lines of meaning scatter in the void, then this reality is itself like a drama.  Likewise, someone who can see the whole of reality as a closed circle of meaning in which everything is fulfilled will speak of the comedy and tragedy of life.  In these cases, where reality is understood as a play, emerges the reality of play, which we call the play of art.  The being of all play is always self-realization, sheer fulfillment, energeia which has a telos within itself.  The world of the work of art, in which plays expresses itself fully in the unity of its course, is in fact a wholly transformed world.  In and through it everyone recognizes that that is how things are.”

-Hans-Georg Gadamer, “Play as the Clue to Ontological Explanation” from Truth & Method, 1960.