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While we must each live, work and die with the unrelenting march of irreversible time, the culture often *plays* with time in safe ways, ways that provide metaphors for life.
Games, movies, drama, music and other cultural forms are time based. But their peculiar nature allows people to consider time in a secure environment.
Who has not felt their pulse race when the home team is down a few points with only seconds to play? Or the exhilaration when the team wins? Or the crush of defeat when they lose?
We tell ourselves, it is only a game -- yet these victories and defeats are rehearsals for the real things in life -- when someone close to you dies, when you suffer a serious injury, when you achieve a major goal.
Game: A complete episode or period of play, typically ending in a definite result: "a baseball game".While some games are open ended when it comes to a specific time span such as baseball, others are controlled by the clock such as football. Yet every type of game plays with our sense of duration, as I have written about in an earlier blog: Time & The Human Sense of Duration.
Google instant definition
Baseball in the United States is particularly interesting -- especially with sayings about the game that have spilled over into life: It ain't over 'til it's over; you're down to your last out; three strikes and you're out; it's the ninth inning with bases loaded. See a full list of English Language Idioms Derived From Baseball at Wikipedia.org.
A sequence of shots showing the complete motion involved with making a pitch. This is a modern chronograph similar to the horse galloping sequence of photos by Muybridge. (wikimedia.org)
And while sports operates on one level, movies operate on quite another. If you arrive late to a baseball game, lets say the 4th inning, you can easily catch up by looking at the score board and seeing the number of runs, hits and errors for each inning. Not so with movies. If you arrive twenty minutes into the movie, you may never catch onto the full meaning of the story.
The audience reaction is often quite intense, even though everyone knows the action is fictional. (wikimedia.org)
FILM TITLE: D.O.A. (Dead On Arrival) From the moment this American Film Noir tragedy starts, we know this fictional hero, Frank Bigelow, will die. A quiet accountant, he has been poisoned and is doomed. Yet while he is alive he is driven to find out why. We follow his journey knowing the inevitable -- and are deeply moved at the end when he dies. (wikimedia.org)