Pat Kane: Play and Ecology - our joyful (but troubled) connection with nature
PLAY AND ECOLOGY OUR JOYFUL (BUT TROUBLED) CONNECTION 2 NATURE PAT KANE THE PLAY ETHIC FOR THE BIG TENT FESTIVAL, 24/07/10
WHAT IS PLAY? Play is an ancient, voluntary, inherently pleasurable, apparently purposeless activity or process that is undertaken for its own sake and that strengthens our muscles and our social skills, fertilizes brain activity, tempers and deepens our emotions, takes us out of time, and enables a state of balance and poise. Stuart Brown, The American Journal of Play , Spring 2009 Play is a biological puzzle...combining as it does great energy expenditure and risk with apparent pointlessness...Play is costly – it increases food requirements 5 to 10% - and risky, so it is unlikely to have evolved without significant adaptive value. Melvin Konner, The Evolution of Childhood (Harvard Belknap, 2010)
WHAT IS PLAY? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXXm696UbKY ....Play is “brain food”
WHAT IS PLAY? It may turn out that play is a unique category of behavior that tolerates asymmetries more than other categories of social behavior. Animals really work at reducing inequalities in size, strength, social status, and a disposition to play. Play cannot occur if the animals choose not to engage in the activity, and the equality or fairness needed for play to continue makes it different from other forms of cooperative behavior (such as hunting and care giving). Play is perhaps uniquely egalitarian . And if we define justice as a set of social rules and expectations that neutralize differences among individuals in an effort to maintain group harmony, then that is exactly what we find in animals when they play. Marc Bekoff, 'Wild Justice: Honour and Fairness Among Beasts That Play', American Journal of Play, Spring 2009
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKQxpJRHGec WHAT IS PLAY?
....Play is where we learn how to be (and not to be!) moral and ethical WHAT IS PLAY? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBlgSz8sSM
WHAT IS ECOLOGY? Ecology is the scientific study of the distributions, abundance and relations of organisms and their interactions with the environment. (Wikipedia) WHAT IS HUMAN ECOLOGY? Human ecology is the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary study of the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments. (Wikipedia)
Human Ecology Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development Gerald G. Marten (Earthscan, 2001 [what fills this gap?]
P L A Y What concepts can help us feel joyfully & pleasurably connected to nature?
PLAY CONNECTS HUMANS JOYFULLY TO NATURE!!! RECOVER OUR PLAYFUL NATURE BY BEING EXUBERANT ANIMALS, PHYSICAL AND CONVIVIAL, IN REAL-TIME WITH HUMANS AND ANIMALS IN NATURE
-HORRIBLE. HOW COULD YOU? -EASY. BECAUSE I COULD . IT JUST TAKES IDEAS AND CLICKS TO WASTE IT ALL
FOR HUMANS (AS SYMBOL-MAKING MAMMALS), PLAY IS BOTH... THERE'S A PROBLEM FOR PLAY AND ECOLOGY: A FREE BUT ULTIMATELY PROTECTED ZONE WHERE WE REHEARSE OUR SOCIAL/ETHICAL RELATIONS WITH THE WORLD ADD LANGUAGE AND SIGN-SYSTEMS TO MAMMALIAN PLAY, & IT BECOMES MORE THAN JUST ABOUT ADAPTING TO CONDITIONS – IT TRANSFORMS THEM... FANTASY + TECHNOLOGY + MARKETS = PLAY DOESN'T JUST BECOME VIRTUAL REALITY, BUT 'REAL VIRTUALITY' (CASTELLS). ALL OF LIFE A STAGE... NATURAL UN NATURAL
WE CONSCIOUSLY DO THE CRAZIEST THINGS.... MTV's Jackass US Army's Abu Ghraib Which one isn't play?
Play (as neoteny) keeps us open & full of potential throughout our lives, supports arts & learning, fuels discovery & sci-tech achievement... Which one isn't play? But that same openness makes us susceptible to addiction, psychosis, narcissism, delusion – all exploitable by consumer- and info-capitalism
HOW CAN WE STOP PLAY BECOMING THE WAY WE 'AMUSE OURSELVES TO DEATH'? Video game 'clown characters' acted out Somalian drought, 2007 [HOMAGE-MONTAGE TO JOHN BERGER]
CAN WE START TO LEARN WHEN TO CONNECT OUR NATURAL PLAY (HEALTH, LEARNING, MUTUAL DEVELOPMENT)... TO OUR UNNATURAL PLAY (TECHNOLOGY, FANTASY, ABSTRACTION)... FOR THE BEST OVERALL RESULT? BECOME 'PLAY-ETHICAL' – NOT JUST ETHICAL...
PLAY-ETHICS IN A WORLD OF ECOLOGICAL CRISIS ARE NOT EASY.... TAKE STUART BRAND IN 60'S/70's BRAND EASILY FUSED DEVELOPMENTAL, HEALTHY, NATURAL PLAY (MERRY PRANKSTERS, NEW GAMES MOVEMENT, COMMUNAL LIVING)... ....WITH TECHNOLOGICAL, ABSTRACT, UNNATURAL PLAY (COMPUTERS & NETS, ARCHITECTURE/URBANISM, ALT. ENERGY, BUSINESS CONSULTANCY) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTAuLsJDyWI LSD?
STUART BRAND 1968 WHOLE EARTH CATALOG: “WE ARE AS GODS AND WE MIGHT AS WELL GET GOOD AT IT” (DIY, SMALL-IS-BEAUTIFUL, SOFT TECHNOLOGY) 2009 WHOLE EARTH DISCIPLINE: “WE ARE AS GODS AND WE MUST GET GOOD AT IT” (NUCLEAR POWER, GENE-TECH, TERRA-FORMING) IS HE NOW RIGHT? WRONG? BUT RECONCILING NATURAL AND UNNATURAL PLAY OF HUMANITY IS VERY DIFFICULT.. . NATURAL AND UNNATURAL PLAY COME TOGETHER IN ONE SLOGAN...
HOW TO FIND THE “GOOD PLAY” (LEG-GODT/LEGO) MAKE OUR RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE AS INNOVATIVE & FUN AS MASTERING THE WORLD THROUGH PLAY IS FOR ETHAN - CARNIVALS AGAINST CAPITALISM - WORLDCHANGING.ORG - BRUCE STERLING 'BEYOND THE BEYOND' - BURNING MAN ...ER, BIG TENT?
HOW TO FIND THE “GOOD PLAY” (LEG-GODT/LEGO) SCIENCE FICTION ECO-IMAGINEERS CORY DOCTOROW CAMERON'S AVATAR LOCAL FABRICATION, REPAIR, REUSE AND INGENUITY AS LIBERATION TOOLS FOR MARGINALISED COMMUNITIES BOMBASTIC, MILITARISTIC, SIMPLISTIC... BUT AN AUTHENTIC YEARNING TO LINK TOGETHER NETWORK/DIGITAL SOCIETY AND ECOLOGICAL CONSCIOUSNESS? HOW TO “GET GOOD AT PLAYING GOD” WITH OUR OWN BODIES & NATURE?
HOW TO FIND THE “GOOD PLAY” (LEG-GODT/LEGO) LIVING FOR THE CITY The egalitarian aspects of city life consistently provide the best sociological & physical supports for resource conservation and carbon mitigation... Most contemporary cities, in rich countries or poor, repress the potential environmental efficiencies inherent in human-settlement density. The ecological genius of the city remains a vast, largely hidden power... There is no planetary shortage of “carrying capacity” if we are willing to make democratic public space, rather than modular, private consumption, the engine of sustainable equality... Public affluence – represented by great urban parks, free museums, libraries and infinite possibilities for human interaction – represents an alternative route to a rich standard of life based on Earth-friendly sociality. Mike Davis, 'Building The Ark', NLR 61 HIDE & SEEK WEEKENDER, SOUTHBANK, LONDON URBAN PLAY HELPS CITIZENS RECLAIM THEIR CITIES EMOTIONALLY – AND THUS RAISES EXPECTATIONS FOR MORE DEMOCRATIC & SUSTAINABLE PLANNING?
HOW TO FIND THE “GOOD PLAY” (LEG GODT/LEGO) “ It is unlikely that the public can be persuaded to put their weight behind climate change policy if it is based wholly upon negatives—ie upon avoidance of abstract future dangers. Can we develop a more positive set of values around environmental ends? ” “ There can be no question of a “return to nature” as the guiding thread of environmental politics. We live in a world that in many respects is “on the other side of nature”—where human intervention into what was the natural world is so profound that there can be no way back. The political and philosophical implications of the retreat of nature are very con siderable. ” ANTHONY GIDDENS … SAYS ARE REFLEXIVE SELVES – META-AWARE OF OUR CONDITIONS – ALWAYS SEEING THINGS 'IN PLAY'....
HOW TO FIND THE “GOOD PLAY” (LEG GODT/LEGO) “ We regard what is truly scarce as plentiful [Nature] And what is truly plentiful as scarce [Information]” Got lost in nature, a biophiliac - but was ALSO a great inventor/ tinkerer/engineer “ Scots are Salt of the earth AND of Machines” JOHN MUIR: A PASSION FOR NATURE DONALD WORSTER MICHEL BAUWENS, FOUNDATION FOR P2P ALTERNATIVES
PLAY AND ECOLOGY OUR JOYFUL (BUT TROUBLED) CONNECTION 2 NATURE PAT KANE THE PLAY ETHIC FOR THE BIG TENT FESTIVAL, 24/07/10 WWW.THEPLAYETHIC.COM [email_address] THNX 4 LISTENING!