I very much agree with what Pat says at the end of his book "The Play Ethic", lines he's sadly reprinted on his blog in the wake of the recent bombings:
"Play can only really flourish, whether at the level of the body or the body politic, if an appropriate level of security and sustainability can be guaranteed. A society where small ads now appear in newspapers for chemical-proof bunkers or anthrax-detection kits; where citizens walk the streets in surgical masks to protect themselves from the season’s lethal infection; where national leaders carefully orchestrate war fever against disobedient client states in order to tide them over to the next plebiscite... No, this is not a society that could readily support the vision of the play ethic: a vision that presumes mutual reciprocation, acceptance of difference and otherness, an open commons of resources and information...
"This is a consciousness question more than it is a technology question: the real lethality lies in the intent to cause mass destruction, more than the capability to do so. The quality of the global conversation has to improve urgently. Governments who believe that force, might and violence prepare the way for democracy, civility and peace need to be reminded, by the imaginative activism of their citizens, that their logic is deeply flawed. If the play ethic enabled in Westerners and northerners a greater self-consciousness about the multiple truths that might pertain in a truly globalized world; if it encouraged us to be aware of diversity not as an act of tolerance but as an imaginative empathy that puts you in the shoes of the other, respecting their games and the integrity of their rules – then it might be more than a shuffle of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, however fascinating, innovative, even preferable these rearrangments might be in the short-term."
Hear, hear. For the hard of hearing, and Marxy, I will repeat that last bit:
"diversity not as an act of tolerance but as an imaginative empathy that puts you in the shoes of the other, respecting their games and the integrity of their rules"