In Bernard Suit’s “The Grasshopper: Games, Life and Utopia,” there are two characters who have a dialogue named the Grasshopper and Skepticus. The characters discuss the merits of what belongs in Utopia. Where Utopia is considered a paradise where all is perfect. Skepticus claims that the only activity that exists in utopia is play. The Grasshopper disagrees with this point and provides many powerful counterarguments.
The strongest example, in my opinion, is of a man building a house. The premise of building a house is that one will have a finished product when the house is completed. It follows that the builder should receive enjoyment when the house is complete and it’s a job well-done. However, Grasshopper makes the claim that some men build houses because they actually enjoy the task of building houses. Their enjoyment stems from performing the task, rather than completing it. I am going to analyze this stance and provide other examples.
The first time I read through the discussion between Skepticus and the Grasshopper, I made a correlation to the dating game. Sure, there are some people who prefer to be in a happy relationship. But there are also others who enjoy playing the field and chasing after their interests. For them, the enjoyment doesn’t come from being with the person they sought out as much as it comes from chasing after them and being presented with a challenge. If that statement were false, then that person would be in a relationship rather than playing the field. This example is in line with with the man building a house. Just as the man enjoys the task of building more than the satisfaction of a completed house, someone playing the field enjoys the chase more than the end result, which could be considered being in a relationship here. It’s all about the chase.
On the other hand, there are some instances in which the finished product brings more satisfaction than the work required to get there. My initial thoughts went to the presidency. Sure, I am willing to bet many presidential candidates love campaigning and get a thrill from giving speeches. But I would imagine the satisfaction of being elected U.S. president far exceeds any enjoyment leading up to that point. But what is that enjoyment comprised of? In Skepticus’ Utopia it would be the simple joy of being president. Which I chose an extreme example so in and of itself, yes simply being president would bring immense satisfaction to many. But at that very moment when one is elected, all of the hard work, sacrifices, and long hours culminate to build a sense of enjoyment that must far exceed simply being the president.
In conclusion, I side with the Grasshopper here. In Utopia, one doesn’t need to work to attain what he desires; therefore, one cannot receive gratification from doing work he does not wish to do. In regards to the chase, it’s called playing the field for a reason and is definitely capable of existing within Utopia. Sorry, Mr. President, but I am siding with Kate Upton here.
House Builder: http://www.mvcclive.com/Images/content/1000000158/1000059545.jpg
Kate Upton: http://wpmedia.golfwrx.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/kate-upton-outtakes-by-terry-richardson-0.jpg