5 Characteristics of Play

Posted by: Myk Likhov

Today I’m in a 4 day ideation/innovation session that Common is putting on for the Wolfsonian. The topic of Play just came up…and the matter of what it means came up? Does the word Playfulness indicate Juvenilality (that word was just made up) or is it a force for Creativity? Is it for kids, or grownups too. And what role does it have within organizations?

What inspired me to write this is that someone just brought up ”Man the Player,” a book written in 1938 by Dutch historian, cultural theorist and professor Johan Huizinga. Just hearing it helped clear up my idea of Play.

From the book, there are 5 characteristics that Play must have:

  1. Play is free, is in fact freedom.[7]
  2. Play is not “ordinary” or “real” life.[7]
  3. Play is distinct from “ordinary” life both as to locality and duration.[8]
  4. Play creates order, is order. Play demands order absolute and supreme.[9]
  5. Play is connected with no material interest, and no profit can be gained from it.[10)

AMAZING. right? That totally hit me. Just thought to share.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 at 9:52 am and is filed under What I read today.