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LARP As A Way to Enlightment- Larsson

LARP As A Way to Enlightment- Larsson

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Published by woodstockwoody
What you actually do when you’re
larping is that you create new reality.
Creating reality is not the same as
playing God; it is the same as being
God.
What you actually do when you’re
larping is that you create new reality.
Creating reality is not the same as
playing God; it is the same as being
God.

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Jan 07, 2011
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08/15/2013

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As an introduction I want to discussa phenomenon that I have called Post-Larp Charisma, PLC. Immediately aftera larp most of us feel certain euphoriain the aftermath where we meet oldfriends IRL, get new friends, exchangestories and telephone numbers, andfantasize about still wilder larps.Sooner or later, though, the euphoriafades off, and we might succumb tothe Post-Larp Depression, PLD. Thisis often a purely biochemical reaction,caused by lack of sleep and food. ButI’m beginning to suspect that PLD alsocan be caused by a too fast return tothe normal world, a point I will returnto later.But if you’re lucky you nd at yourreturn to your usual life that you havebeen struck with Post-Larp Charisma!Some, or hopefully, many of you may have been surprised by a denitechange in the world. Our dreams cometrue, beautiful strangers smile at us, we get the best table at the restaurant without any hassle, and suddenly wedare to propose to the king or queenof our heart, if he or she doesn’t do itrst. This is PLC.What kind of phenomenon is this,how does it come about and whatcan we do to activate it when we arenot larping? Most of us just larp a few times a year.I say that PLC is a result of being divinefor a certain length of time. When I say 
Larp as a Way toEnlightenment
 The Author
Elge Larsson is 58 years youngand lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Heis some kind of academic scholarwith wide interests in most forms of humanistic studies. A translator byprofession and larper by interest,he divides his life between booksand larping, which he’s been doingsince 1994. He regards larping withan analytic mind, trying to convinceeverybody that larping is the noblestof arts. He is very serious-mindedand writes long articles wherehe compares larp to all kinds of religious experiences, gives deeplectures where he proposes ways of looking at larp that really stretchesthe concept to extreme degrees. Hethinks reality sucks, and that it couldbe made better by conscientiouslarpers dedicated to improve theworld.
Elge Larsson
 
127
divine, I mean it in a very literal sense.What you actually do when you’relarping is that you create new reality.Creating reality is not the same as playing God; it is the same as beingGod.I don’t mean creating new reality inthe trivial sense that you create thingsout of nothing, like magic, I’m notthat mad. What I’m talking about isthat the reality we live in is a socialconstruction that we all together createfor us. If this construction decides your actions it is real, regardless if it’strue or not. The world was at when you didn’t dare to sail too far for fearof falling off the surface.When you have been divine for acouple of days it’s rather inevitablethat you radiate a certain glory at your return to civilization. This is thereason for PLC; you have been livingin an environment where you’ve beenalmost constantly creative (dependingon how actively you’ve been larping),in the deepest sense of the word.One reason for Post-Larp Depressionmay then be that you try to normalize yourself too fast and leave the divinestate for an existence where you arenot a creating artist.
How to be divine
So, what are the prerequisites forbeing creative in this divine way? Wecan study a related phenomenon,namely the magical moment when therole comes alive in your own esh andblood, when the larp reality becomesthe one and only reality. There may besome who think this is not somethingto strive for, that it may cause split personality, that it is antisocial orescapistic, but I’m not writing forthose people.In the religious world there is a longtradition of experiencing “for real” what others regard as illusionary self-deception. Since time immemorialshamans, and mystics of all creeds,have done their best to meet Godor Buddha face to face – is theresomething we can learn of theirmethods?In the psychology of religion there is aroletaking theory that tries to explainhow the religious experience actually comes about. According to this view a role contains also the context,the coplayers. E.g. the role of LittleRed Ridinghood also activates theWolfs role. Roles are thus patternsfor our acting and perception, aframe of reference that makes the world comprehensible. A man with ahammer sees a world full of nails.Now, the religious traditions consist
Larp as a Way to Enlightenment
 
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mainly of roles, where the coplayersmay be gods or saints, avatars ordevas. When you take a role from thisrich tradition, you may activate thecoplayer “God”, your world changesand the religious belief turns intoreality.What are the mystics doing to get thisexperience? These are the rules:1. You are well read, that is youhave the tradition at your ngertips.(Cf. the larper who has learned his world history.)2. You are focused, that is yourlife is devoid of mundane disturbances.(Cf. the larper who is surrounded by likes, all dressed the same way, alltalking about the same things – like ina monastery.)3. You are often exhausted by fasting, very early and late prayingetc. (Cf. the larper who often forgets,doesn’t care or know how to cook in the middle of the forest, and only sleeps when no orcs are about.)4. Response. This is the real cruxof the matter. When a believer goesinto the religious role where you havea “dialogue with God”, it’s precisely this feeling of a response that makesthe experience so convincing. Thelarper really has a big advantage here,since she is surrounded by real people who react to her actions. Real peopleof esh and blood goes into a dialogue with the role and thus makes it cometrue in the esh and blood of thelarper.This is the same process that createsmy personality when I’m a newly bornbaby. My identity, my self, is createdby the responses I get from mom anddad. By their reactions I learn that Iam a sweet little thing or a damnedspoiled brat. In the same way the roleis created as a real person in my body.
The true dialogue
So what’s the difference betweenthe responses I get when larpingand otherwise? How does it actually come about that dialogue createsnew reality? What is the nature of it?Can new reality be created by any olddialogue? By Jove, we are in a dialoguealmost constantly, what’s the bloody difference?The reason that we don’t get thesame kick out of getting our usualego conrmed is that it just consistsof our routine concepts and beliefs.Our everyday dialogue consists of aconstant exchange of conrmations:“This is my picture of reality andthank you for supporting it.” That’snice but not very exciting.What make a true dialogue creativeare three things: it’s 1) exploring, 2)egoless and 3) trustful.
Exploring 
The true dialogue is not a discussion where you try to convince each other,it is not about winning a debate. In thiscontext we can think of Dogmas tabooagainst “gamism”, where you try to“win” the larp. The dialogue is rather a joint groping through a jungle of outerand inner facts and feelings, wherethe main objective is to discover what
Elge Larsson

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