The Sense of Play

by Bernard De Koven on July 8, 2013

Play Bow

The sense of play is a sense in every sense of the word. It is a sense, like sight is a sense, like hearing, like touch. If we tried to make a list of all the things we play and play with, the list would probably be as long as a list of all the smells, all the sounds, all things we touch, taste, feel, see.

We play with our bodies, we play with ideas, we play with toys, we play with pets, we play with each other, we play games.

Play brings us into the world. Play brings us the world.

Play connects us. It is what we do to connect, to relate to each other, to build relationships, to strengthen the connections between us, to create community. Our understanding of each other, the love between us, grows deeper when we play together.

Play helps us understand how things work, how we can work with things.

At play, we create new things, new ideas – even when we don’t speak the same language, don’t come from the same neighborhoods, don’t have the same abilities, aren’t the same age, same family, same color, same gender, don’t think the same, don’t believe the same, don’t act the same, don’t wear the same uniform.

Because we can play we can imagine, we can pretend, we can make each other laugh. Because we can play we can make art, dance, song, music, we can make up stories, make jokes, music, songs, peace.

In play we explore, experiment, examine, express our very selves, we strengthen our bodies, our minds, our understanding of our changing selves, our changing relationships, our deepening love. Playing, we change, adapt to change, create change.

I rhetoricize:

Without this sense, the sense of play, what would we be? Would we be less than ourselves? Other? Would we  lose ourselves, each other? Would it would be like being blind, deaf, multiply disabled?  Would we become alienated, isolated? Would we be able to learn, to love, to raise our children, to appreciate them, to savor our lives, to delight in the world? Would we make our gardens beautiful? Would we be at war, forever? Without this sense would we find life, itself, senseless?


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