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Week of November 24th, 2022

Do You Know How to Play?

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Once, as an adult, psychologist Carl Jung took a break from work to stroll on a beach.

As he meandered, he was overcome with a spontaneous impulse to build things as he did when he was a kid.

He gathered stones and sticks and used them to construct a miniature scene, including a church.

As he finished, he was visited by a flood of novel insights about his life. He concluded that his childlike play had called forth these revelations from his unconscious mind.

That might sometimes be a worthwhile strategy for you. To access important information that your deep mind has sequestered, go play a while.

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is a French word
that means
“playing easily
in the deep."

—Tom Robbins

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"The ancient Greeks knew that learning comes from playing," writes Roger von Oech in his book A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative.

Their word for education, paideia, he says, was close to their word for play, paidia

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"As a free deed, meditation is naturally individual, uniquely our own. It is where we most fully become ourselves. Its practice is also always individual.

"There are no rules. Just as every potter will elaborate his or her own way of making pots, so every person who meditates will shape his or her own meditation. No two people will do a given meditation in exactly the same way. The same meditation practiced daily will be different every time.

"Every meditation is experimental. One never knows what is going to happen. Improvisation is essential . . . Meditation is something to play with . . . There is no 'wrong' way of doing the meditation, except not doing it!"

- Christopher Bamford

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Disruptive Play: The Trickster in Politics and Culture by Shepherd Siegel

Description of the book:

"In a world ruled by conflict and competition, non-competitive play is insurrection.

"Mischief-makers and culture jammers have transformed society again and again, from ancient folkloric appearances of the Trickster as Raven and Èṣù-Elegba, to the twentieth century's dada and hippies, to contemporary social actors like the graffiti artist Banksy.

"Original Play is the frolic and noncompetitive play that animals and human babies do in order to have fun and to keep on playing -- not to win or to lose. It is a substance of the universe that occurs in all life. It is the behavior by which love and belonging are expressed, given, and received.

"When play moves into contest or other roles and rules, with winners and losers, it becomes Cultural Play. Issues of ego and narcissism are issues for Cultural Play, not for Original Play.

"Disruptive Play occurs in the rare times when the rhythms of Original Play suddenly appear in a political or cultural setting, settings conventionally fraught with Cultural Play. Like driving a clown car across the field during an official NFL game.

"Or Raven tricking Chief into releasing the sun, the moon, and the stars into the sky. Or a surreptitious Banksy graffiti that invades a museum or the public commons. Tricking power into performing an act of love.

"Disruptive Play: The Trickster In Politics and Culture connects knowledge from mythology, folklore, popular culture, art, politics, and play theory to make its case that to be playful means not taking power seriously.

"At critical mass, power collapses and leaves us swimming about in the waters of the amoral Trickster. New values emerge and could lead to some version of the dystopia that currently drenches popular culture.

"Or, if people can discern between the authentic contact and exhilaration of play, and branded, mediated, alienated pleasure, then we just might stumble and frolic our way to the Play Society.

"Disruptive Play is ideal for enthusiasts of the human condition and those who hold out for the vision, however slim, of the Play Society."

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