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Hopscotch as basilica-plan

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  • CG
    From Margaret Visser, The Geometry of Love: Space, Time, Mystery and Meaning in an Ordinary Church : In the children s game of hopscotch, the origins of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2003
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      From Margaret Visser, "The Geometry of Love: Space, Time, Mystery and
      Meaning in an Ordinary Church":

      "In the children's game of hopscotch, the origins of which are very old, a
      pattern of squares is scratched on a bald patch of ground, or drawn in chalk
      on a city sidewalk. Players, taking turns, throw or kick a stone into the
      squares in a set order, hopping on one leg to do so; when a pair of squares
      is reached, landing on both legs is permitted. When a player arrives at the
      end of the diagram, he or she must run, then hop back to the beginning and
      out of the pattern's outline.

      Some hopscotch patterns are spiral, with the goal in the middle, like a
      labyrinth. There the player is said to be "reborn": the next stage of the
      game is to turn and hop back out. This hopscotch design can be interpreted
      as a figure of the "journey" of life, as well as a static picture of the
      soul: of the truth--God--to be found at the heart of every self. Round
      churches are built in part to evoke such ideas. A different hopscotch
      pattern resembles the ground-plan of a basilical [sic] church with a
      transverse section or transept. This shape expresses, as we shall see, the
      spiritual life in time; it also represents a human body, with the double
      squares (the transept) as the arms, and the far end as the head. The
      normally rounded hopscotch end-piece is known in many languages as
      "paradise", or by a word such as "crown" or "glory"."

      I don't know about you all, but when I was a kid, the pattern of preference
      was precisely this "transept" design, though little did I know it resembled
      a typical basilica plan at the time. But we definitely had the rounded apse
      at the end, though I no longer recall what name we gave it. Though now that
      I think about it, I believe we called it "home". Kind of like baseball's
      "home" plate. Food for thought, at any rate: home as goal, though what the
      real "home" here refers to, in games as in life, we may presume to be more
      than ordinary and bungalow.

      -Chris





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