Christian Long

Stuart Brown: Play is More Than Fun

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

Reflection by MICHAEL P.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Stuart Brown:  Play is More Than Fun

People grow out of the so called “play state.”

As shown in the TED video, the 15th century painting only depicted children. Why is this?

There is a sort of attitude now that because you are grown up (or are growing up) you have to have your professional suit and tie with your briefcase and be completely serious all the time about everything, and never joke, never have fun, never play. And many adults who do defy this are looked down upon as juvinile, unprofessional, and kinda of a loser or a failure, at least in the eyes of all the boring buisnessmen of the world. The world, not people, not animals, can exist without play. Animals are great at showing this to us. The polar bear and the huskey defy convention by playing with each other, instead of the polar bear just eating the dog. The animals play instead of what they are “supposed” to do, hunt. E

veryone, and everything needs play, a break from the seriousness of everyday life.

As Stuart Brown says in the talk, horrible acts committed by deranged people, were at least partially made the way they are because of a lack of play. Play is essential to the normal development of the brains of people. Play is also practical, but also impractical in another. In one sense, it is very practical becuase it teaches us to interact with others and to solve problems by ourselves. With the story of the rats, play seems to be more like something to aid in survival than actual play.

But if play has a real purpose, then it is not really play, is it?

It is just a way to develop the brain, and just something you have to do.

We are designed to play for our entire life, but our society supresses this nature. Once you “grow up” you are not allowed to play any more it seems. But this seems counter-intuative. because play leads to innovation. People work the hardest on things they are most passionate about. If I had to guess, I would say very few people are passionate about their desk jobs, which they most likely hate. Play and passion lead to focus and innovation, which is the reason why play is supressed in the first place. Play cannot be a planned event, to truly be play, it has to be a spontanious, spur of the moment, a “just cause you feel like it” type of thing.

Play is not only what keeps us together as humans, but what innovates and advances society.


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