I have just finished watching Blood Diamond, a film about the Sierra Leone civil war and the trade in conflict diamonds. Big Hollywood blockbuster, Leonardo di Caprio , Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou and David Harewood. Films such as this make you think and make you humble (regardless how many bullets miss di Caprio before the one essential to the plot line gets him).
I have written in my introduction that this blog explores the idea that Western society is moving towards a defining ethic of play rather than a defining ethic of work, but perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we are moving back to a defining ethic of play. Because before we briefly began to focus our attentions on a society of repayment, of earning both your livelihood and your place in society, we lived in a world where birth was more important than accomplishment, where fate had more say over your death than you did over your life. This is the same world that is brought back into relief to Western nations through films such as Blood Diamond – where life is grossly unfair, short, bitter and the cards are stacked against you, unless you play for the right side – and perhaps not even then.
Western society might be moving towards a more generously playful society but our eternal capacity to play badly, not well can easily feed the shiboleths of greed and self-centredness that lead to the horrors of civil war that this film explores.
A spirituality of play is a far more effective method of making sense of our world than one of work – because it is multi-faceted like the diamonds of Sierra Leone and doesn’t expect anything like just desserts from this world.