Finite game Infinite game
played for the purpose of winning for the purpose of continuing the play
temporal boundaries, precise beginning
externally defined internally defined
the time of an infinite game is not world time, but time created within the play itself.
Players agree on rules: the agreement of the players to the applicable rules constitutes the ultimate validation of those rules.

Therefore, all the limitations of finite play are self-limitations | “The rules of an infinite game must change in the course of play”

“The rules of an infinite game are changed to prevent anyone from winning the game and to bring as many persons as possible into the play.” | | Finite players play within boundaries.

Every move made by a finite player is within a boundary. | Infinite players play with boundaries.

Every move an infinite player makes is toward the horizon. | | Self-veiling is a contradictory act—a free suspension of our freedom. I cannot forget that I have forgotten. I may have used the veil so successfully that I have made my performance believable to myself.” | | | Players earn titles (which are abstractions); | Players earn names (which are always concrete) | | A powerful person is one who brings the past to an outcome, settling all its unresolved issues. Power is concerned with what has already happened | A strong person is one who carries the past into the future, showing that none of its issues is capable of resolution strength with what has yet to happen. | | Finite players avoid surprise and try to plan around them. To be prepared against surprise is to be trained | infinite players expect to be surprised and continue their play in pursuit of it. To be prepared for surprise is to be educated. | | needs an audience | | | EXAMPLES: • Patriotism • Only one person or team can win a finite game, but the non-winners could be ranked at the end. Not everyone can be a CEO, but there are other positions. • No one is forced to be a lawyer, but once you decide to be a lawyer, there are rules you must follow to continue being a lawyer. | |

<aside> 🪙 “The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands with the same pair of eyes, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes” (Proust).


On Sexuality

Sexuality is the only finite game in which the winner’s prize is the defeated opponent. The triumph of finite sexuality is to be liberated from play into the body. The essence of infinite sexuality is to be liberated into play with the body. In finite sexuality, I relate to you as a body; in infinite sexuality, I relate to you in your body.

“Metaphysically understood, sexuality has nothing to do with our existence as persons, for it views persons as expressions of sexuality, and not sexuality as the expression of persons.”

The paradox of infinite sexuality is that by regarding sexuality as an expression of the person and not the body, it becomes fully embodied play. It becomes a drama of touching. The triumph of finite sexuality is to be liberated from play into the body. The essence of infinite sexuality is to be liberated into play with the body. In finite sexuality I expect to relate to you as a body; in infinite sexuality I expect to relate to you in your body.”

On Language

“Finite language exists complete before it is spoken. There is first a language—then we learn to speak it. Infinite language exists only as it is spoken. ”


“It is not necessary for infinite players to be Christians; indeed it is not possible for them to be Christians—seriously. Neither is it possible for them to be Buddhists, or Muslims, or atheists, or New Yorkers—seriously. All such titles can only be playful abstractions, mere performances for the sake of laughter.”

If you must play a game, you cannot play a game

If you accept death as inevitable, you do not struggle against morality, you struggle as a mortal.

“Training repeats a completed past in the future. Education continues an unfinished past into the future.”

“Death in life is a mode of existence in which one has ceased all play; there is no further striving for titles. All competitive engagement with others has been abandoned. For some, though not for all, death in life is a misfortune, the resigned acceptance of a loser’s status, a refusal to hold any title up for recognition. For others, however, death in life can be regarded as an achievement, the result of a spiritual discipline, say, intended to extinguish all traces of struggle with the world, a liberation from the need for any title whatsoever. “Die before ye die,” declare the Sufi mystics.”

“As in the Zen image we are not the stones over which the stream of the world flows; we are the stream itself. ”

First principle thinking is part of an infinite game

Infinite game isn’t a game, it’s just a journey/process you enjoy. There is no winner in this game.

When we relate to other person's with an objective in mind, then our relationship with them is finite - it’s about achieving objective or not. It is like having a person as means to an end - to help yourself.