Friday, 1 July 2011

Play, work and creativity

In the book Play, 2009, Stuart Brown suggests that early play helps us to find our creative preferences:

“If we look at a life over time, and observe the origins of many artistic expressions, they are rooted in early play behaviour that gets encouraged by natural talent and richness of opportunity in the environment. Watch a two-year-old who is drawn to music spontaneously dance to the beat of a summer band concert in the park. Fifteen years later, that kid my be a consummate pianist or just spend hours humming and strumming a guitar. But the draw to rhythm and music were kindled by spontaneous playfulness when the band started playing during that long-ago summer.

The emotions that fostered this embrace of music were not verbal nor a product of thoughts like “I think I'd like to be a musician.” They were prompted by a deeper, more primal process, which I believe Jaak [Panskepp] has captured in his descriptions of processes that link brain stem (movement) to limbic (emotional) to cortex (thought).” p62

“After taking play histories of Nobel laureate scientist Roger Guillemin and polio researcher Jonas Salk, I realized that what they were doing in the laboratory every day was playing.” p63

“The work that we find most fulfilling is almost always a recreation and extension of youthful play.”

(Yup. Personally, I spent half my childhood singing and dancing around the house, garden and nearby woods, and the other half divided between playing with maths, other kids, and looking at the sky or the ceiling and asking questions like, 'I wonder if I can think without language.' My personal and professional life is pretty much the same now. Less maths.)

“If we let the play drive express itself well into adulthood, as we are built to do, we find opportunities to play everywhere.” p70

I see an example of this!


(neck brace was probably due to characteristic physical jumping around recklessly)

(there's a piano there you just can't see it)

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