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Indian AsceticismPower, Violence, and Play$
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Carl Olson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225315

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225315.001.0001

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Ludic Elements

Ludic Elements

Eroticism, the Comic, and Power

(p.141) 6 Ludic Elements
Indian Asceticism

Carl Olson

Oxford University Press

This chapter represents a turn in the book to a consideration of the phenomena of play and how its elements are related to power. Examples considered are eroticism and the comic. Narratives featuring ascetics manifest the nature of play in the form of debates and erotic tales, which calls for a consideration of the nature of the erotic. This is followed by a consideration of the relation between the erotic and power, the erotic and ascetic, and the erotic’s relation to play. The comic nature of play is also examined, its relation to the erotic is discussed, and the relation between the comic and power is considered. The erotic and comic provide interludes in the life of the ascetic that provide a break from his/her regimen, and allow the ascetic to stand outside of him/herself, subverting social conventions and pretensions. These forms of play use the human imagination that holds together cultural elements that cannot normally be united. The erotic and comic are elements of play that can be potentially creative but also dangerous.

Keywords:   play, eroticism, comic, power, imagination

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