Playing with Fire?

1 Response

  1. lmm says:

    Most fun things are to some degree addictive – indeed it’s hard to draw a clear line between addiction and enjoyment. You contrast mahjong against go or shogi, but from what I know of chess players, the top flight players of those games will be people who are devoting a significant proportion of their life to them and sacrificing opportunities to do so. Similarly for a lot of hobbies; I did a 13+ hour bike ride in frankly dangerous conditions yesterday for a medal I’m pursuing. Addiction? Normal for a randonneur? Both?

    The randomness is a distinct factor. I know I get superstitious about mahjong in a way that I don’t about any other game, or real life. But I’m not at all sure that that translates into a greater potential for addiction; the great promise of an activity like chess (or cycling) is that if you put in the hours of work then you eventually will be the best, and if you’re not the champion yet then it’s simply because you weren’t trying hard enough. Whereas with mahjong it doesn’t matter how many hours you’ve put in, a certain amount will always come down to the luck of the tiles. For me that’s reassuring, and if anything it helps me keep healthy boundaries around my mahjong playing. I think.