chapter  4
12 Pages

The Bridge

In the section that follows, Michael Oakeshott’s concern is a very simple question: what does it mean to be human? Do we strive for the satisfaction of practical needs-like all other animals-or are we, human beings, about something more. What do we pursue in life and why? In Oakeshott’s view, life is the pursuit aimed at satisfying desires. If we realize that, then we engage in it with pleasure, see the journey as an adventure and thoroughly enjoy it for its own sake. Just like a game. But to play the game well, we must know we are “in the game.” We are all players, seeking and using the resources at our disposal for the provision of our quest to satisfy our wants. And in this play that is life, we are engaged in an activity that is not frustrating, has no limits, and brings us satisfaction when our wants are at hand. In providing the rationale for a life at play as well as an excellent summary of why humans need play, Oakeshott does not pass judgment on this activity.