Homo Ludens

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Homo Ludens (book) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Ludens_(book)

"The network

It is obvious that a person free to use his time for the whole of his life, free to go where he wants, when he wants, cannot make the greatest use of his freedom in a world ruled by the clock and the imperative of a fixed abode. As a way of life Homo Ludens will demand, firstly, that he responds to his need for playing, for adventure, for mobility, as well as all the conditions that facilitate the free creation of his own life. Until then, the principle activity of man had been the exploration of his natural surroundings. Homo Ludens himself will seek to transform, to recreate, those surroundings, that world, according to his new needs. The exploration and creation of the environment will them happen to coincide because, in creating his domain to explore, Homo Ludens will apply himself to exploring his own creation. Thus we will be present at an uninterrupted process of creation and re-creation, sustained by a generalized creativity that is manifested in all domains of activity.

Starting from this freedom in time and space, we would arrive at a new kind of urbanization. Mobility, the incessant fluctuation of the population -- a logical consequence of this new freedom -- creates a different relation between town and settlement. With no timetable to respect, with no fixed abode, the human being will of necessity become acquainted with a nomadic way of life in an artificial, wholly 'constructed' environment. Let us call this environment New Babylon and add that it has nothing, or almost nothing, about it of a 'town,' in the traditional sense of the term. The town is a form of urbanization characteristic of utilitarian society: a fortified place for protection against a hostile external world, it becomes, as a mercantile center, an 'open town,'; then, with the advent of mechanization, a center of production -- and at all these different stages it is the place where a stable population resides, rooted there by a particular way of life. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule: certain relations between towns enable a small number of individuals to change their place of residence, and in so doing trigger a process of acculturation in which the town acquires, aside from its utilitarian function, the function of a cultural center. But this phenomenon is relatively infrequent and the number of individuals involved is not great.

The culture of New Babylon does not result from isolated activities, from exceptional situations, but from the global activity of the whole world population, every human being being engaged in a dynamic relation with his surroundings. There are no a priori links between anyone. The frequency of each man's movements and the distances he will cover depend on decisions he will make spontaneously, and which he will be able to renounce just as simultaneously. Under these conditions social mobility suggests the image of a kaleidoscopic whole, accentuating sudden unexpected changes -- an image that no longer bears any similarity to the structures of a community life ruled by the principle of utility, whose models of behavior are always the same. In our case, the urban must respond to social mobility, which implies, in relation to the stable town, a more rigorous organization on the macro level, and at the same time a greater flexibility at the micro level, which is that of an infinite complexity. Freedom of creation demands in any case that we depend as little as possible on material contingency. It presupposes, then, a vast network of collective services, more necessary to the population in movement than to the stable population of functional towns. On the other hand, automation leads to a massive concentration of production in gigantic centers, situated outside the space of daily life.

The centers of production outside this space and the collective facilities inside it determine the general lines of the macro-structure in which, under the influence of indeterminate movements, there will be defined a more differentiated and necessarily more flexible micro-structure.

From these two preconditions -- the optimum organization of material conditions and the maximum development of each person's sense of initiative -- we can deduce the essentials of a structure that is no longer composed of nuclei, as in the traditional settlement, but is organized according to the individual and collective covering of distance, of errancy: a network of units, linked one to the other, and so forming chains that can develop, be extended in every direction. Within these chains are found the services and everything pertaining to the organization of social life, in the "links" of the network, the entirely automated units of production, from which man is absent.

The basic elements of the network, the SECTORS, are autonomous units of construction, which nevertheless intercommunicate. The sector network is perceived from within as a continuous space.

New Babylon ends nowhere (since the earth is round); it knows no frontiers (since there are no more national economies) or collectivities (since humanity is fluctuating). Every place is accessible to one and all. The whole earth becomes home to its owners. Life is an endless journey across a world that is changing so rapidly that it seems forever other." http://www.notbored.org/new-babylon.html