The Serious Business of Playfulness


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Let's play!
Seriously, let us play!
Life isn't a game but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be playful. After all, there's a lot more to playfulness than fun and games. Creativity, freedom, friendship… What are we without a sense of play?

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  • Some of us like to play\nIn fact, there are people who feel like they were born to play\nBut playfulness isn't exclusive and it's not just about playahs\n
  • As we keep saying in social sciences, playing is the natural thing to do.\nY'know, young animals try out their roles through play so\nThere isn't anything strange about playfulness\n
  • Of course, human children play as well and\nwe tend to associate playfulness with kids.\nSome playfulness is lost as we grow older but, basically, we keep on playing\n
  • The thing about playing, though, is that\nit's usually more fun to do with others.\nSure, we may be introverts, but\nwe still want to connect with fellow human beings.\n
  • And there are contexts for deep connection through play.\nTo mess up with Weber's "Protestant Work Ethic," I'd say that\nThere's such a thing as a "Catholic Play Ethic."\n
  • But it goes much further than that.\nAs an anthropologist, I'd say that\nPlayfulness is such an important part of culture that\nIt almost defines what we are as a species\n
  • A major insight about play, from Huizinga, is that\nWhile seriousness may be a lack of playfulness\nIt doesn't follow that play would be a lack of seriousness\n
  • Playfulness is more than fun and games.\nSome of what we play out is very serious indeed.\nPolitics, death, religion.\nIt'd be easy to be dark about it all.\n
  • There are times when we just want to fool around\nBut playfulness is more than instant gratification \nIt's not selfish hedonism, Mr. Cheney\n
  • Oh, sure, I may be\nPlaying with you\nTeasing you\nPulling your leg\nBut it's not about me or about my pleasure, y'know\nIt's about us\n
  • Performers are responsible for evaluation by audiences\nAs sociologists say, we play out our roles\nLike Sammy Davis Jr., as soon as we're out, we're on, baby, we're on!\n
  • But there's something about playfulness which is just the opposite of performance\nIt's easier to be playful when we're not being judged\nIn a way, playfulness is preparation for performance\n
  • But, y'know\nPlayfulness isn't a work in progress\nSome iterative process\nA "release early, release often" kind of thing\nIt's more like a "steady flow of creativity"\n
  • Obviously, a lot can go awfully wrong when we're being playful.\nThe idea, though, is that we don't let that get us down\nThe show must go on, man!\n
  • 'cuz life, sex, and art aren't spectator sports\nAfter all, They're much more fun to do than to watch\nI sure hope there aren't voyeurs in this room…\n
  • To be really playful, you need to get your hands dirty\nAs we say in French, you don't gain anything if you don't try anything\n
  • Being playful, we learn to think on our feet\nTo take (civil) liberties with established rules\nTo challenge structures in place\n
  • In turn, theres something truly liberating about playfulness\n"unleashing creativity" isn't about letting an animal out of us\nIt's about letting us out of our chains\n
  • I really don't think of life as a game\nSure, there are those who keep scores\nBut we all end up at the same point\nWhether it's through dysentery or old age\n
  • There's a lot to be gained\nIf we think of life\nOutside the zero-sum game\nBeing playful,\nWe're all gaining more than\neach of us is putting in.\n
  • The Serious Business of Playfulness

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