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Why We Play - Pat Kane presentation at Edinburgh International Science Festival

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From this event: https://www.sciencefestival.co.uk/event-details/why-we-play More on www.theplayethic.com

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Why We Play - Pat Kane presentation at Edinburgh International Science Festival

  1. 1. WHY WE PLAY & HOW IT CAN BRING ABOUT THE GOOD SOCIETY PAT KANE, THEPLAYETHIC.COM
  2. 2. Lecture plan ■ Videos ■ Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity ■ The societal "grounds of play" ■ The playground has (planetary) limits ■ We radical animals
  3. 3. Play makes society possible
  4. 4. Play makes us resourceful and smart
  5. 5. Play is the seat of creativity & innovation 1
  6. 6. Play is the seat of creativity & innovation 2
  7. 7. Play is the seat of creativity & innovation 3
  8. 8. Lecture plan ■ Videos ■ Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity ■ The societal "grounds of play" ■ The playground has (planetary) limits ■ We radical animals
  9. 9. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity: primary emotions Antonio Damasio (plus Trust/Anticipation, Ekman) •Adequate nutrition, air, water and shelter from the elements •Safety and security •Emotional connection •Fun, friendship and intimacy •A sense of belonging to a wider community •A measure of control and autonomy •Attention (to give and receive) •Status in life (which comes from having stretched ourselves and achieved things) •Meaning and purpose The ”Human Givens” Model - see Tyrell and Griffin
  10. 10. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity Jaak Panksepp - ”Archaeology of Mind” - Opiates, areas stimulated – produce same effects in the mammal brain
  11. 11. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity Bateson and Martin: - Play is “fun” – spontaneous and intrinsically rewarding - Players are protected from normal consequences of serious behaviour - Play generates novelty (role play, new combinations - Play looks different to normal behaviour - Play indicates well-being (only happens when organism is free from illness or stress)
  12. 12. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity Bateson and Martin: Identify playful play & playfulness as the mood state that’s most optimum for creativity (some play can of course slide into aggression, powergames) Mood state: cheerful, frisky, frolicsome, good-natured, joyous, merry, rollicking spirited, sprightly and vivacious…
  13. 13. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity Bateson and Martin: Playful play contributes most to creativity – creativity defined as the generation of novel actions and ideas, by recombining elements in new ways, or apply them to to new situations. NOT the same as innovation – which winnows out new ideas, and takes on the hard work of successfully implementing and spreading them, in orgs or society.
  14. 14. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity PLAY/CREATIVITY/JOY IS BEGINNING TO FIND ITS SECURE PLACE IN THE SOLIDIFYING MAPS OF EVOLVED HUMAN NATURE AND BEHAVIOUR (FROM AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE & OTHER AREAS) WE NEED TO PLAY AND CREATE – OTHERWISE, WE DENY OUR BASIC EMOTIONAL NEEDS
  15. 15. Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity (Nudge is not enough…) “Think of Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame as someone whose Reflective System is always in control … In contrast, Homer Simpson seems to have forgotten where he put his Reflective System” (driven by his “instinctive Automatic System”) [from Nudge, Thaler/Sunstein] …whereas Lisa – imaginative, idealistic, enthusiastic, expressive, - engages her WHOLE system, through play/art/activism
  16. 16. Lecture plan ■ Videos ■ Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity ■ The societal "grounds of play" ■ The playground has (planetary) limits ■ We radical animals
  17. 17. The societal "grounds of play" What kind of society does the findings of affective neuroscience, or neuroscience-informed psychotherapy and psychology, suggest? One in which primary, evolved emotions and drives are given their rich and complex due… ...which is different from them being manipulated (truth doesn’t come into it)
  18. 18. The societal "grounds of play" You can’t answer the play-drive in isolation (with Arts! Free time! Basic income!) -- And expect it to redress and fix maltreatment of the rest of the drives… Panksepp’s (crude) model of primary drives is still a symphony– care but also rage, panic/fear but also seeking/lust.. “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made” (Kant)
  19. 19. The societal "grounds of play" But if we give all the other drives their evolutionary due, then we must value play for what it is--- -—Which is a zone of time and space, where we can lightly handle and toy with the heavy imperatives of human existence… ....In order to refine our responses better, or seek out new niches when current options have closed down. What are these “play zones”? Or “grounds of play”?
  20. 20. The societal "grounds of play" VALUE THE ONES WE KNOW: • Education at all levels, 3-to-7 play- based kindergarten • An open web supporting mass self- expression • Festivals and carnivals – zones and grounds (like this one!) where people come together to enjoy boundaries blurring, challenges • The arts and cultural sectors and their subsidies • Primary science – Andre Geim, Hawking, etc – and its subsidy
  21. 21. The societal "grounds of play" CREATE NEW PLAYZONES: • Argue for an open, common, expressive dimension in every new tech platform – particularly in AR and VR • Playzones alongside Carezones – what new combinations of security and risk can we imagine in society? In welfare, housing, making/enterprise? • How could our vast archive of creative techniques be brought to bear on our broken politics? New forms of democracy/parties?
  22. 22. Lecture plan ■ Videos ■ Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity ■ The societal "grounds of play" ■ The playground has (planetary) limits ■ We radical animals
  23. 23. The playground has (planetary) limits Can we make better choices with our innate ingenuity, love of novelty, colour and form, endlessly ramifying appetites, vast systemic capacity…?
  24. 24. 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? The playground has (planetary) limits
  25. 25. 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...
  26. 26. 'Human activities increasingly dominate 9 crucial planetary systems. Add to the familiar ones--- climate, biodiversity, and chemical pollution---atmospheric aerosols, ocean acidification, excess nitrogen in agriculture, too much land in agriculture, freshwater scarcity, and ozone depletion. To have "a safe operating space for humanity" on Earth requires adjusting our behavior to work within those systems. How we collectively step up to that responsibility will determine whether "the Anthropocene" (the current geological era shaped by humans) will be a tragedy or humanity's greatest accomplishment.” … BUT LYNAS' INNOVATION PLAYGROUND IS SECURED BY PRO-NUKES, PRO-GEO- ENGINEERING, PRO-”PROSPERITY”-AS-MATERIAL-ACCUMULATION HEROIC, “RATIONALIST”, INDIVIDUALIST, GREEN-BAITING DISCOURSE The playground has (planetary) limits
  27. 27. BELIEVES THAT WITH OUR WEB AND “NOOSPHERE” OF INFORMATION-PLUS- COMMUNITY-PARTICIPATION, WE HAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF “GIVING GAIA ITS MOMENT OF META-AWARE SELF- CONSCIOUSNESS” - OF BEING GAIAS BRAIN... BUT FLANNERY IS POST-INDIVIDUALIST – WE ARE “GREEDY APES”, TOO WEAK TO BE HUNTER-GATHERERS, NEEDING OUR SOCIAL CODES (AND DIVISIONS OF LABOUR) TO GET ANYTHING WORTHWHILE DONE – JUMPED-UP SUPERORGANISMS WHO HAVE TO ATTAIN A MODICUM OF PLANETARY ETHICS... The playground has (planetary) limits
  28. 28. Lecture plan ■ Videos ■ Play as the deep and evolved foundation of creativity ■ The societal "grounds of play" ■ The playground has (planetary) limits ■ We radical animals
  29. 29. We “radical animals” Even Harari’s view of all life driven by algorithms, where machine intelligence outstrips our own… ...stumbles at the door of consciousness. “My test for whether something is real: Does it suffer?” Yet we are also the animal that can percieive our own limitations – and then play with those limits...
  30. 30. We “radical animals” It might be fruitful to explore the crossover between: Play – a zone for safely exploring all possibilities Mindfulness/non-reactivity – a way to use consciousness to observe our evolved mechanisms Though someone might have gotten there first…
  31. 31. Question: How does play, creativity and innovation relate? Where does spontaneity end, and control begin?
  32. 32. Question: If we understood the evolutionary role of play better, how might we change our societies, economies and ourselves?
  33. 33. Question: How radical can play be? If play means ALL possibilities can be lightly considered, what horrors as well as delights may ensue?
  34. 34. WHY WE PLAY & HOW IT CAN BRING ABOUT THE GOOD SOCIETY PAT KANE, THEPLAYETHIC.COM

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