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# Play

Last updated March 10, 2022

Full post on play: Play to Win: A Post-Work Society

Play: the intentional activity of doing the thing you would want to do.

“Play allows us to create and share ownership of spaces in ways which competition cannot. Have as much fun as possible along the way. Turn life into a canvas, rather than a graph with checkpoints. Welcome everyone.”

In a world were we seem to be locked behind these little rectangles, how can we escape? Embedded computing experiments like DynamicLand by Bret Victor (more in interaction design)

## # Creating spaces not products

“Creating a space for change does not necessarily mean you’re doing it yourself; you’re just making it possible for others.” (a lot of similar ideas in Design Justice and a new DARPA)

## # Shifting the nature of work/education

Can we shift education system away from just assessing students to letting them explore the magical worlds themselves? A more Mindstorms-esque constructionist view on education.

## # Magic Circles

A “magic circle” is the space in which a game takes place. When we step into the magic circle, the we suspend the rules of ordinary life, and allow the rules of the game to mediate our interactions.

We often mark the boundaries of a magic circle through ceremonies:

• Playing the THX deep note before a movie
• Singing the national anthem before a game
• Ringing a gong before yoga practice
• Walking down the aisle at a wedding

A lot of concepts similar to The Grasshopper, the lusory attitude as a boundary

## # Animals and Play

Why does the existence of action carried out for the sheer pleasure of acting, the exertion of powers for the sheer pleasure of exerting them, strike us as mysterious? What does it tell us about ourselves that we instinctively assume that it is?

• the neo-Darwinists assumed not just a struggle for survival, but a universe of rational calculation driven by an apparently irrational imperative to unlimited growth.
• neo-Darwinism: the view that animals were simply trying to maximize the propagation of their own genetic codes
• However, once you reduce all living things to the equivalent of market actors, rationally calculating and optimizing machines trying to propagate their own genetic code, how do we understand how anything even remotely like self- consciousness, freedom, or moral life arises?
• animal cooperation often has nothing to do with survival or reproduction, but is a form of pleasure in itself
• “Man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word a man” (Friedrich Schiller, 1795)
• but what would happen if we agreed to treat play not as some peculiar anomaly, but as our starting point, a principle already present not just in lobsters and all living creatures, but also on every level of emergent behaviour of self-organizing systems?
• free will of electrons maybe?
• “Is it meaningful to say an electron “chooses” to jump the way it does? Obviously, there’s no way to prove it. The only evidence we could have (that we can’t predict what it’s going to do), we do have. But it’s hardly decisive.”
• “If an electron is acting freely—if it, as Richard Feynman is supposed to have said, “does anything it likes”—it can only be acting freely as an end in itself. Which would mean that at the very foundations of physical reality, we encounter freedom for its own sake—which also means we encounter the most rudimentary form of play.”
• Interesting implications for materialism – consciousness does not arise as it is already present? Potential application of Gall’s law
• Philosophy as a form of play :))