Saturday, December 19, 2015

Play Entry 29

"you can't role play empathy" 

I read this article on unrestricted play for children which I do have lots of thoughts about - however the two features of the article that stood out to me were the quote I put up at the top and the impulse to interrupt play to "correct it"

And also the fact that children surprised adults by resolving differences just not on the time table the adults wanted.

It's almost as if adults were conditioned to believe if it isn't resolved right away and in front of them it isn't resolvable.
Almost like a management issue with adults......
But so many of our creative or introversion advocates use "role-play" which is really imaginative play to try to "teach" a thing - but they set all the rules and interrupt the play for adults too - all those "role-play" corporate games have "right answers" and people who don't work with competitive players as coaches might not know how we train cognitive shortcuts in our best players to achieve goals - that's a positive thing not a negative one - it frees up automatic things for use in strategic things. But if you don't let something grow unrestricted and then give it contraints you get a different thing ( that can still be beautiful) than if you constrain a thing and then let it grow. Bonsai and Redwoods are both trees topiary and non topiary plants are both plants.

Something tells me that the intersection of "time" and "play" are things relevant to organizations and management of workspaces.

It's important to realize that one of the reason we are training our children to be indoors all the time is we expect our adults to contribute their productivity and citizenship responsibilities but being indoors all the time.

Bonsais are still beautiful -  maybe it's the interrupting we should work on rather than the glorification of one space or the other where adults vs children are, unless we find ways to free our adults. I don't think it "unfair" to raise up children to function in the culture we've created for them and there are strong arguments that all these "negatives" of ranking and sedentary-ness are realistic disciplines that children will be subjected to because that is what we offer as western educated industrialized democratic cultures. Making them full of compassion and joy might take a different thing than the nostalgic past. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Play entry 28

Yesterday while reading Subject and Power by Foucault I realized he has in effect 2 paragraphs on the exchange of subject/object power relations in the language of "games" and I'm going to have to go back and unpack it carefully when I managed to get some "post-semester-finals" sleep.

Also I need to make sure that I write up an entry on the idea that material objects have an intent that is intrinsically housed in themselves and exists regardless of whether or not a human interacts with them.

I am still unsure if that intent exists if it is an unmediated object - right now I think maybe it's only mediated ones and therefore a function of "designed objects"

Also here is this article in mainstream press that I want to go look at later to see the divisions of play as they are being experienced by western US humans and what they are thinking about it.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Play Entry 27 - Oh Hell, I've been down this road before

Once upon a time - a long, long time ago I used what I now recognize as focus grouped ethnography to playtest toys and write toy reviews.

I tackled the difference between adult play and child's play then - right there- published and everything:

"If you want a glimpse into a strange new world, eavesdrop on a pre-schooler playing alone. You will discover a range of voices, character traits, and truly alien thinking that will put to shame any hidden notion you have of your own superior imagination. The biggest lie we science fiction adults tell ourselves is that we have retained the sense of imagination and wonder we had as children. But we are cynical. We imagine the impossible because we have so clearly defined for ourselves what is possible. We hope for the improbable because, well, we’re weird. But children have yet to draw the line between possible and impossible. They still hope for the impossible.

When we adults play, we are practicing the suspension of disbelief. Children, on the other hand, suspend nothing. Even when they are very reality-based during their period of play, they practice belief. For the duration of their play, they believe their doll is hungry; they believe their T-Rex hand puppet is bad and should be smacked on the snout for trying to eat boo-boo bunny; they believe that they are the teacher and should be listened to. I hope that by encouraging this type of play over video games that the kids we deal with will have a little less disbelief to suspend when they are older and weighted down by reality like we are."

I've moderated my own stance considerably on video-games over time, but part of the reason is that video games have changed too - that's personal/editorial - I think what's interesting to me is that this is commercial writing for niche market and before I went back to any form of school. For example: In an earlier column I discuss how "I don't know much about Art History" and it was true then, and it is deeply false now.

I am more consistent than many would be over a span of decades but I obviously still care about the same questions for different reasons.

That insight of "belief" is a thing I struggle with in anthropology - recognizing that the impulse to consign to "suspension of disbelief" already privileges rationalist hierarchies and colors other systems as "fictional" or "unbelievable"

The reason I encountered my own work is an internet security search I do every so often -

I may have to cite myself at some point -

I'm glad I'm not static, I'm also glad my past self doesn't make me cringe too much. But that said I'm already writing to adults about Nostalgia Play vs Play, where the act of playing at all is nostalgic and subversive in the literal sense.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Play Entry 26 - There is no spoon - but what about a box?

I am thinking about the Matrix and imagination and imaginary worlds and why imagination is said to be desired in workspaces to solve problems but then discouraged if it imagines anything that is outside the current paradigm.

It is important to note that "think outside the box" already creates the space and the binary of inside or outside the box.

What is the thing "inside the box"?

Boxes are actually playthings - they can be all the things  - they can be the possibility of things.

Why are you asking to define things by box positionally as belonging or not belonging?

Box is being seen as the "container of things" not as the material FOR things.

When we play WITH the box what we are doing is rejecting the paradigm that automatically benefits the person/entity giving us "imagination instructions"

I am thinking of the man who can read the matrix and see the patterns and knows because he took "the right pill" the moral one of truth - but there is a cost to being outside the box and knowing and seeing all the patterns and he is the one that eventually betrays the group - to take the "wrong" pill and be in a world where he can't see outside and inside simultaneously anymore.

The strain of seeing the matrix and not having quite enough power to fix both inside and outside the box is real. Then the box is a game, there are rules, you solve games. "Play" is engagement.

But what if you look at the matrix and it is YOUR box- then inside and outside are irrelevant

My box is a world, my box is a lion, my box is a refrigerator that produces small gods I will sell to starving clergy that need them.

It is a plane or a tank or a table or a snowflake.

I won't take a pill or choose to think inside or outside I will take the box. I will open the box so it can be inside and outside simultaneously. My box is a shaman, it is in its own world and ours at once.

That is just play. It may not help solve the game problem set by the "imagination overseer".

All of the imaginary play in this case is transformative and it might also be transient replacement. The language of play is informed in the request to think outside the box - but it is appropriated language.

What does a business solution look like if I "play with the box" instead of think outside it?

What is the power exchange made by linguistically distracting me from playing with the box?

Would the man who just wanted a steak dinner have betrayed any of our "heroes" if he looked at the matrix and thought about it as a box he could play with instead of be in or out of?