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Author Topic: A Human is completely human only when s/he plays  (Read 8057 times)

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« on: 28/10/2008 18:25:21 »
A Human is completely human only when s/he plays

”Our repressed desires are the desires we had, unrepressed, in childhood; and they are sexual desires…The axiom on which Freud constructed…his basic hypothesis is that the pattern of normal adult sexuality is not a natural (biological) necessity but a cultural phenomenon.”

Properly understood, Freud’s doctrine of infantile sexuality is a scientific formulation and reaffirmation of the fact that children seek pleasure.  In childhood innocence, as displayed in their delight with their body, remains wo/man’s indestructible unconscious goal. 

Children on one hand pursue pleasure and on the other hand are active in that pursuit.  A child’s pleasure is in the active pursuit of the life of the human body.  What then are we adults to learn from the pursuits of childhood?  The answer is that children play.

“Play is the essential character of activity governed by the pleasure-principle rather than the reality-principle.  Play is ‘purposeless yet in some sense meaningful’…play is the erotic mode of activity.  Play is that activity which, in the delight of life, unites man with the objects of his love, as is indeed evident from the role of play in normal adult genital activity…the ultimate essence of our being is erotic and demands activity according to the pleasure-principle.”

As a religious ideal childhood innocence has resisted assimilation into rational-theological tradition.  Although there is a biblical statement that says something to the effect that unless you become children you cannot go to heaven, this admonition has affected primarily only mystics.  However, poets have grasped this meaning in its philosophic-rational terms.

In his “Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man” Schiller says that “Man only plays when in the full meaning of the word he is a man, and he is only completely a man when he plays.”  Sartre says “As soon as a man apprehends himself as free and wishes to use his freedom...then his activity is play.”

H. H. Brinton, modern American archaeologist, considers the essence of man is purposeful activity generated by desire.  The perfect goal generated activity is play.  Play expresses life in its fullest.  Play as an end, as a goal, means that life itself has intrinsic value.  Adam and Eve succumbed when their play became serious business.

Jacob Boehme, a German Christian mystic, concluded that wo/man’s perfection and bliss resided not in religion but in joyful play.

John Maynard Keynes noted modern economist, takes the premise that modern technology will solve wo/man’s need to work and thereby lead to a general “nervous breakdown”. He thinks we already experience a manifestation of this syndrome when we observe the unfortunate wives of wealthy men who have lost meaning in this driving and ambitious world of economic progress.  He says “There is no country and no people who can look forward to the age of leisure and abundance without dread.”

From the Keynesian point of view it will be a difficult task to transfer our ambitions from acquiring wealth to that of playing.  But for Freud this change is not as difficult because beneath the habits of work acquired by all wo/men lay an immortal instinct for play.

Huizinga, a noted anthropologist, testifies to the presence of a nonfunctional element of play in all of the basic categories of our sapient cultural activity—religion, art, law, economics, etc. He further concludes that advanced civilization has disguised this element of play and thereby dehumanized culture.

The author, Norman Brown, concludes that psychoanalysis have added to these expressed statements regarding the importance of “The play element in culture provides a prima facie justification for the psychoanalytic doctrine of sublimation, which views ‘higher’ cultural activities as substitutes for infantile pleasures.”

Quotes from “Life against Death” by Norman Brown





 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #1 on: 28/10/2008 20:05:11 »
It depends precisely what you understand the term "Play" means. It is often seen as some sort of opposite to purposeful work that performs a useful function in society.  This is not always the case.  Before I retired I was a professional scientist (I still am an active scientist but pursue freely things that interest me) I thoroughtly enjoyed my job which gave me a great deal of freedom and in many ways a lot of my work had a strong element of play in it.  OK I was lucky but you can't compartmentalise things quite so simply.
 

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #2 on: 28/10/2008 21:26:07 »
It depends precisely what you understand the term "Play" means. It is often seen as some sort of opposite to purposeful work that performs a useful function in society.  This is not always the case.  Before I retired I was a professional scientist (I still am an active scientist but pursue freely things that interest me) I thoroughtly enjoyed my job which gave me a great deal of freedom and in many ways a lot of my work had a strong element of play in it.  OK I was lucky but you can't compartmentalise things quite so simply.

“The play element in culture provides a prima facie justification for the psychoanalytic doctrine of sublimation, which views ‘higher’ cultural activities as substitutes for infantile pleasures.”

 

Offline JnA

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #3 on: 29/10/2008 05:05:19 »
Children often play at being adults.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #4 on: 30/10/2008 19:14:17 »
coberst.  What a mouthful of technical terms.  I think that your definition is far too restrictive.  I define play as any peasurable activity indulged for the pleasure particularly one that is not an essential part of daily life and survival.
 

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #5 on: 31/10/2008 07:30:53 »
coberst.  What a mouthful of technical terms.  I think that your definition is far too restrictive.  I define play as any peasurable activity indulged for the pleasure particularly one that is not an essential part of daily life and survival.



Yes, I do restrict play to activities that are creative and enhance self-actualizstion.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #6 on: 01/11/2008 16:59:48 »
I understand creative!  but please explain to me in simple terms exactly what YOU mean by "self-actualisation".  please can you also indicate what isn't self-actualisation in human behaviour.  This is one of the terms in my book that sounds very erudite but means absolutely nothing.
 

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #7 on: 01/11/2008 20:45:20 »
I understand creative!  but please explain to me in simple terms exactly what YOU mean by "self-actualisation".  please can you also indicate what isn't self-actualisation in human behaviour.  This is one of the terms in my book that sounds very erudite but means absolutely nothing.

I think that the Marines say it best "Be all that you can be".  Self actualiziation is the process of discovering who you are and where your talents lay.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #8 on: 02/11/2008 18:41:20 »
I thought you propbably meant something like that but you have failed to answer my second and most important question, define behaviour that is not part of the process of finding out what you are and where your talents lie and developing them to the best of your ability.
 

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #9 on: 02/11/2008 19:31:06 »
I thought you propbably meant something like that but you have failed to answer my second and most important question, define behaviour that is not part of the process of finding out what you are and where your talents lie and developing them to the best of your ability.

Well,I guess I do not understand where you are going here

 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #10 on: 02/11/2008 22:37:49 »
I thought I had been quite clear with my question and my repetition of it.  To belabour my point. It seems to me that just about ALL the activities of any person fall into the category of "being part of the process of finding out what you are and where your talents lie".  So the use of the statement to limit the definition of play represents no restriction of the category and is therefore pointless. This is a common feature of that sort of garbage pseudo scientific erudite language.
 

Offline coberst

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #11 on: 03/11/2008 08:45:16 »
I thought I had been quite clear with my question and my repetition of it.  To belabour my point. It seems to me that just about ALL the activities of any person fall into the category of "being part of the process of finding out what you are and where your talents lie".  So the use of the statement to limit the definition of play represents no restriction of the category and is therefore pointless. This is a common feature of that sort of garbage pseudo scientific erudite language.

I disagree.  Most activities are just passing time seeking titillation.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #12 on: 03/11/2008 18:45:39 »
Obviously your approach to life is very different from mine!  It may be that I am in a minority.
Does anyone else want to come in and comment to which option their own personal approach to life is the closest.
 

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A Human is completely human only when s/he plays
« Reply #12 on: 03/11/2008 18:45:39 »

 

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