Thursday, 12 July 2007


In a cafe the other night Sarah and I played a very old and very silly board game called Ego. We never really figured out how the game was supposed to be played, but we had great fun playing around with the "angel" and "devil" cards, on which were solemnly printed "positive" and "negative" attributes. Several of the positives were sufficiently faint to be considered damning, and a fair few of the negatives were attractive at least to some demographics - "decent" springs to mind in the former category, "eccentric" or "naughty" in the latter. I think the game was designed for tipsy thirtysomethings at rebellious tupperware parties.

But anyway. After growing tired of analysing one another, we used the cards to generate characters as one might in an eighties role playing game, and one of them has stayed with me. We drew three cards and the combination that stuck was "enlightened" and "eager". Who is this person? Enlightenment is a state associated with peace, calm, stillness, but I like the idea of reaching a sort of enlightenment and being eager to go further, or perhaps to share it with others. It's nice, that is.

It's Socrates. Maybe Brecht's Galileo, maybe even Buchner's Danton, but it's certainly Socrates. The third card was something like "principled", and that's a direct fit for none of those characters. But "principled, enlightened and eager". That strikes me as a state worth striving for.

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