And some? Some relentlessly raise expectations, establishing a standard that it’s hard to imagine exceeding. And then they do.*
Through January, I’ve been reading Johan Huizinga’s Homo Ludens an exploration of how playfulness was a part of human life before civilisation, how it has become separated from seriousness in our thinking and lost from our daily lives in experience.
Other useful reads alongside Huizinga’s script are James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games and Lewis Hyde’s The Gift. Then, if we’re really being playful, we’ll add all manner of texts and see what emerges when these thoughts and ideas meet.
We’ll each have different ways of playing with knowledge; my personal set of categories are technology, environment, art, society and entrepreneurship – which I have just noticed forms the acronym TEASE, which even sounds playful.
Sometimes we’re playing but we do not see this as what we are doing. If we could build on this, make it more a part of our life for how we see things, feel things and make things, then all manner of possibilities would emerge we cannot yet imagine, but then we hold back or don’t value our playfulness as we ought, and we lose.
Playfulness can be both presencing and absencing – this is another of the things Huizinga makes clear in his writing, although he doesn’t name it so.
Presencing means we are opening our minds, hearts and wills to more and are living for the sake of others:
‘No one can play a game alone.’^^
Absencing means we close our minds, hearts and wills and are living for ourselves or a small group of others and is more dangerous than we know.
You are here, though. You are a player.
Simply being willing to take a second longer look at this possibility is to begin to play.