PLAY-ing EXPERTS (Part 2)

wise owl - 2 

“Play help us be the best we can be!”


QUOTE:  If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play. ~ Actor John Cleese 

Johan Huizinga
, the Dutch historian, cultural theorist & professor, wrote in Playing Man (1938), that Play is an important component of culture and society. The book lists general RULES:
Play is free, & is in fact, freedom.
Play is not ‘ordinary’ or ‘real life’, separate in both location
Play creates order, is order, demands order, absolute and supreme
Play is connected with no material interest, & no profit gained from circle

Huizinga considered it to be a most basic human function, calling it the ‘magic circle’ of human activity which has permeated all cultures from the beginning, expressed in creative language. “Play is older than culture, for culture always presupposes human society, and animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing.”  One of the most important characteristics of play is that it is fun.

• He noted that Play “absorbs the participant intensely and utterly…. proceeds within its own proper boundaries of time and space, according to fixed rules, in an orderly manner. It promotes the formation of social groupings that tend to surround themselves with secrecy, and stress the difference from the common world by disguise or other means.” Both free & structured play are meant to promote adaptive social behaviors & enjoyment, even though many adults consider the ‘loose’ kind a waste of time.

Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist & one-time student of Freud, felt that access to the unconscious archetypal energies could provide the blueprint for profound change, when allowed to surface (conscious ego). “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct, acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” “Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.”sand play

• An extension of his work is SAND PLAY, originally developed by Margaret Lowenfeld in the 1930’s. It’s a self-directed therapeutic & learning tool that emphasizes nonverbal, symbolic work in sand, similar to dreamwork, believed to tap into very deep levels of consciousness that helps heal and enlighten.

Piaget (1962) wrote that children learn primarily by doing, & that Play was the main way they take in their environment, absorb it into their thinking about the world, & use it as psychic nourishment. It’s what Maria Montessori called the “absorbent mind of the child”: they soak up their environment, and by taking it in, they become it.

Research by Jenkins & Astington, 2000 / Leslie, 1987 / Singer & Singer, 1990 & 2005 – show that make-believe (Pretend) play is closely related to the “Theory of Mind”. This important concept has to do with an awareness that one’s thoughts may differ from those of other people, and that each of us is capable of a variety of perspectives.

Sandra Russ (2004), psychologist & researcher, found that Pretend Play encourages children’s capacity for cognitive flexibility & therefore creativity. It allows them to express pleasant & unpleasant emotions, which leads to modulating feelings & integrate emotions with thinking. Now some educators are using pretend games to teach math & reading.
• The Root-Bernstein (2012) study of a group highly creative people – Nobel Prize winners and recipients of the MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ grant – found that these subjnobel winnersects played more early childhood games about make-believe worlds than the control (non-winning) participants who were in the same fields.”….suggests a strong correlation between childhood worldplay & adult creative achievement in the arts, sciences & humanities, understood as the invention of plausible, probable or possible worlds”  EXPs: Charlotte Bronte, J.R.R.Tolkien,  Leo Lionni, Gregory Benford, Desmond Morris, Todd Silver…. (MORE….)

Frank Salamone is a prolific anthropologist & writer. His book “Society, Culture, Leisure and Play: An Anthropological Reference” (2000) is a collection of forty-two articles about the many facets of leisure,  taken from his almost thirty years experience in the field, ranging from adornment to weaving, with considerable depth about music and the arts.

For anyone comfortable with the Bible, here is validation from the Highest level of authority – permission & encouragement to be happy:
1. God says: “…. be ye glad and rejoice forever in that which I create” Isaiah 65:18
2. “Our mouths are filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy…. the Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy”  Psalms 126:2
3. “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
4. “…. may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” Psalms 68:3

COMMENTS – Whether we believe in a Personal God or not:
#1 – says we are valuable, that the Higher Power doesn’t make garbage
#2 – reminds us that we have been given benefits even if our parents told us we’re worthless, & couldn’t see our value. We DO have talents, skills, emotions, brains, options…. along with tools & people to help with Recovery. There is hope because we don’t have to be alone anymore.celebrate

#3 – tells us there’s a reason & a season for everything, that bad situations seldom last (especially smaller ones), even tho it didn’t seem that way when we were kids
#4 – This one’s even harder to take in because for the most part ACoAs are convinced we’re anything but ‘righteous’. While this verse refers to our spiritual condition, even those of us who do not believe in original sin still have Self-Hate telling us that we are inherently (born) bad!

On the contrary, no matter how unworthy we ‘feel’, we have a right to live – to live well & be loved. LUKE 15 gives us 2 parables – of the Lost Sheep, whom the Shepherd searches for & rejoices when it’s found. And the Prodigal Son, whom the father welcomes with joy at getting back. Our original parents may have rejected us, but there are other people in the world who already have the capacity to accept us.

LOOK for healthy ones who already have the capacity to love & know how to play, & learn from them.

NEXT: ADULT need for play


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