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Caution: Adults at Play

When one mentions play, most listeners immediately think of children. Certainly, considering play in relation to children is an important topic. I’m, frankly, more interested in thinking about play as related to adults. I believe it to be field of study mostly left fallow to date but one of great importance.


Reality is that adults do play.


Play is more than goofing off, but goofing off is a perfectly wonderful thing.

Play for adults is a means to blow off steam and a means to increase creative productivity. It’s also an important means of bonding. One can even frame sex as a form of specialized pair-bonding play. If you really want to catch adults in the act of play, watch them with their children: 50 Million Adults Play Casual Video Games to Bond with Children, Grandchildren.

But let us not only look for all kinds of purpose and benefits to play. Every so often, let’s just play for the hell of it. And, as Stuart Brown encourages in his TED talk, let’s infuse every moment of our life with play.


We have a stigma about adults and play, and it’s nonsense.

Does a Man at Play Seem Unseemly? — A member of the Naked Scientists online forum makes some intriguing observations regarding adults at play against the philosophical writings of George Santayana:

(Naked Scientists is entirely safe for work; it’s a science radio program.)

Slavery is, undoubtedly, the most degrading of human conditions; he is a slave when all energy is directed toward avoiding pain and death.  In such a human condition as slavery, the slave is directed from without with little breath and strength available for self-directed enjoyment.  In such a condition play and work take on a different meaning.  They become the equivalent of freedom versus servitude. From a subjective point of view all work and no play is servitude without freedom, i.e. little self-determination.

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