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Schimel, J.L. (1965). Love and Games. Contemp. Psychoanal., 1(2):99-109.

(1965). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 1(2):99-109

Love and Games

John L. Schimel, M.D.

AND WHAT OF LOVE? And what of sports and love? Thoreau wrote: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them." Much of man's written record is concerned with the problem of "Conflict of Interest" in human affairs. It has been, and continues to be, a vital subject for dramatic vehicles. Edward Albee's play, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, is such a vehicle. It is appropriate that the first act is entitled "Fun and Games, " a study of repetitious, although destructive, patterns of behavior between people. Albee graphically represents the "how" of games and leaves the "why" up to the audience and critics.

The psychiatrist is heavily involved in such questions. He is consulted because of the pain or destructive aspects of the games that people play with each other. The psychiatrist may not be an expert on love, although his patient will often be. The psychiatrist will know, however, the repetitive patterns of behavior that make up human experience. Games are patterns of repetitive human behavior or engagements between people in which dissimulation is a crucial element. It is perhaps unfortunate that the word "games" may conjure up only an image of children having fun.

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