Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Building Well

"Beyond being merely a game,
Go can take on other meanings to its devotees:
an analogy for life, an intense meditation, a mirror of one's personality,
and exercise in abstract reasoning, a mental "workout"
or, when played well, a beautiful art in which black and white
dance in delicate balance across the board.
~ from the American GO Association

Above photo from: Yin Yang Principle
See also: The Philosophy of GO
Learn more: GO vs OTHELLO


Profound Thought No. 7

To build
You live
You die
These are

from The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Muriel Barbery
[more on my book blog]

. . . Other than the fact that it’s a board game and that two adversaries face off over black and white pieces, it’s as different from chess as cats are from dogs. In chess, you have to kill to win. In go, you have to build to live. . . . The aim of the game is not to eat the other, but to build the biggest territory. The rule regarding taking stones says that you can “commit suicide” if it is to take your adversary’s stones and not that you’re strictly forbidden to go anywhere you might be automatically taken. And so on. . . .

When I think of go -- Any game where the goal is to build territory has to be beautiful. There may be phases of combat, but they are only means to an end, to allow your territory to survive. One of the most extraordinary aspects of the game of go is that it has been proven that in order to win, you must live, but you must also allow the other player to live. Players who are too greedy will lose: it is a subtle game of equilibrium, where you have to get ahead without crushing the other player. In the end, life and death are only the consequences of how well or how poorly you have made your construction . . . you live, you die, these are consequences. It’s a proverb for playing go, and for life.

Live or die: mere consequences of what you have built. What matters is building well. So here we, are I've assigned myself a new obligation. I'm going to stop undoing de . . . structing, I'm going to start building. . . . What matters is what you are doing when you die . . . I want to be building.

(pp 111, 112 - 114)
For more Elegance,
scroll down to Thrilling Quotidian and Bouquet

Whenever Barbra Streisand sings "Play Othello,"
I always wonder, does she mean the play
by Shakespeare or the black and white board game?

I want to learn what life is for
I don’t want much, I just want more
Ask what I want and I will sing
I want everything (everything)

I’d cure the cold and the traffic jam
If there were floods, I’d give a dam
I’d never sleep, I’d only sing
Let me do everything (everything)

I’d like to plan a city, play the cello
Play at Monte Carlo, play Othello
Move into the White House, paint it yellow
Speak Portuguese and Dutch
And if it’s not too much

I’d like to have the perfect twin
One who’d go out as I came in
I’ve got to grab the big brass ring
So I’ll have everything (everything)

I’m like a child who’s set free
At the fun fair
Every ride invites me
And it’s unfair
Saying that I only
Get my one share
Doesn’t seem just
I could live as I must

If they’d
Give me the time to turn a tide
Give me the truth if once I lied
Give me the man who’s gonna bring
More of everything
Then I’ll have everything

written by Randy Scruggs & Nikki Williams
sung by Barbra Streisand

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