"Life without play is a life without books, without movies, art, music, jokes, dramatic stories. Imagine a world with no flirting, no day-dreaming, no comedy, no irony."
Stuart Brown is a psychiatrist, clinical researcher and medical doctor, sharing here "what years of academic and clinical research has taught me about the power of play. Most obviously, it is intensely pleasurable. It energizes us and enlivens us. It eases our burdens. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens us up to new possibilities.
"But that is just the beginning of the story. Neuroscientists, developmental biologists, psychologists, social scientists, and researchers from every point of the scientific compass now know that play is a profound biological process. It has evolved over eons in many animal species to promote survival. It shapes the brain and makes animals smarter and more adaptable. In higher animals, it fosters empathy and makes possible complex social groups. For us, play lies at the core of creativity and innovation.
"Of all animal species, humans are the biggest players of all. We are built to play and built through play. When we play, we are engaged in the purest expression of our humanity, the truest expression of our individuality.
..."I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being.
"At some point as we get older, however, we are made to feel guilty for playing. We are told that it is unproductive, a waste of time, even sinful. The play that remains is, like league sports, mostly very organised, rigid and competitive. We strive to always be productive, and if an activity doesn't teach us a skill, make us money, or get on the boss's good side, then we feel we should not be doing it. Sometimes the sheer demands of daily living seem to rob us of the ability to play."
"Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively.
"When people know their core truths and live in accord with what I call their "play personality," the result is always a life of incredible power and grace."
All quotes from Chapters 1 and 2
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