“Cultures are defensive constructions against chaos… “

January 4, 2016

“Cultures are defensive constructions against chaos, designed to reduce the impact of randomness on experience. They are adaptive responses, just as feathers are for birds and fur is for mammals. Cultures prescribe norms, evolve goals, build beliefs that help us tackle the challenges of existence. In so doing they must rule out many alternative goals and beliefs, and thereby limit possibilities; but this channeling of attention to a limited set of goals and means is what allows effortless action with self-created boundaries.

It is in this respect that games provide a compelling analogy to cultures. Both consist of more or less arbitrary goals and rules that allow people to become involved in a process and act with a minimum of doubts and distractions. The difference is mainly one of scale. Cultures are all-embracing: they specify how a person should be born, how she should grow up, marry, have children, and die. Games fill out the interludes of the cultural script. They enhance action and  concentration during “free time,” when cultural instructions offer little guidance, and a person’s attention threatens to wander into the uncharted realms of chaos.”

– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience 

I’ve just started this large canvas and am looking forward to seeing how it evolves. The photo has a lot of reflection on the lower left. Hopefully next time I’ll find a better angle to photograph it from.
Still Life Red WIP
Still Life Red WIP, Jan 3, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 48″ X 36″

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