James P. Carse quotes

Who on Earth is James P. Carse?

James P. Carse was a Professor Emeritus of history and literature of religion at New York University known for his influential book Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility.

James P. Carse books

James P. Carse quotes

“A culture can be no stronger than its strongest myths.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Because infinite players prepare themselves to be surprised by the future, they play in complete openness. It is not an openness as in candor, but an openness as in vulnerability. It is not a matter of exposing one's unchanging identity, the true self that has always been, but a way of exposing one's ceaseless growth, the dynamic self that has yet to be.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Gardening is not outcome-oriented. A successful harvest is not the end of a gardener's existence, but only a phase of it. As any gardener knows, the vitality of a garden does not end with a harvest. It simply takes another form. Gardens do not 'die' in the winter but quietly prepare for another season.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“If we cannot tell a story about what happened to us, nothing has happened to us.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“In the complex plotting of sexual encounter it is by no means uncommon for the partners to have played a double game in which each is winner and loser, and each is an emblem for the other's seductive power.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“It is a highly valued function of society to prevent changes in the rules of the many games it embraces... Deviancy, however, is the very essence of culture. Whoever merely follows the script, merely repeating the past, is culturally impoverished.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Nature does not change; it has no inside or outside. It is therefore not possible to travel through it. All travel is therefore change within the traveler, and it is for that reason that travelers are always somewhere else. To travel is to grow.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“No one can play a game alone. One cannot be human by oneself. There is no selfhood where there is no community. We do not relate to others as the persons we are; we are who we are in relating to others. Simultaneously the others with whom we are in relation are themselves in relation. We cannot relate to anyone who is not also relating to us. Our social existence has, therefore, an inescapably fluid character... this ceaseless change does not mean discontinuity; rather change is itself the very basis of our continuity as persons.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Only that which can change can continue: this is the principle by which infinite players live.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Oppressors themselves acknowledge that even the weakest of their subjects must agree to be oppressed.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Poets do not 'fit' into society, not because a place is denied them but because they do not take their 'places' seriously. They openly see its roles as theatrical, its styles as poses, its clothing costumes, its rules conventional, its crises arranged, its conflicts performed and its metaphysics ideological.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Strength is paradoxical. I am not strong because I can force others to do what I wish as a result of my play with them, but because I can allow them to do what they wish in the course of my play with them.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“There is no possibility of conversation with a loudspeaker.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Titles are public. They are for others to notice. I expect others to address me according to my titles, but I do not address myself with them — unless, of course, I address myself as an other.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous, or to act as if nothing of consequence will happen. On the contrary, when we are playful… everything that happens is of consequence, for seriousness is a dread of the unpredictable outcome of open possibility. To be serious is to press for a specified conclusion. To be playful is to allow for unlimited possibility.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“To be prepared against surprise is to be trained. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“To be serious is to press for a specified conclusion. To be playful is to allow for possibility whatever the cost to oneself.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“To use the machine for control is to be controlled by the machine.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“Victories occur in time, but the titles won in them are timeless. Titles neither age nor die.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“War presents itself as necessary for self-protection, when in fact it is necessary for self-identification.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games

“We are playful when we engage others at the level of choice, when there is no telling in advance where our relationship with them will come out — when, in fact, no one has an outcome to be imposed on the relationship, apart from the decision to continue it.”

James P. Carse

“What will undo any boundary is the awareness that it is our vision, and not what we are viewing, that is limited.”

James P. Carse Finite and Infinite Games