What’s all this play stuff about anyways?

February 17, 11

There’s plenty going on in the world, donchya know. Isn’t it kind of strange to focus on play?

Not at all.

How could a book (The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang) written in the 1930’s, predict most of the shape we find ourselves in today?  One reason is because it drew from knowledge passed down over a couple thousand years, combined with the thoughts of a single person trying to understand the confines of his age. 

We think we’re the measure of everything. This leads straight to having no appreciation for anything that might actually matter – and, of course, we are constantly led away from recognizing that play itself is a noble goal. 

The whole arc of human experience towards play has been goosed. 

This is not some naïve hippie-daze view trotted out in the self help section to bundle with a Yanni download coupon either. Yutang knew all too well about the political cage, economics, war, strife and society of the East/West of his times. 

He still chose play, tea, and the comfort of his pipe. 

And this is part of why I’ve always loved the Taoist fables. These guys were always running around fishing for too long, cooking for too long, collecting turtles to feed, looking for plum wine in the strangest of places, and starting at the moon. They busied themselves picking lice out of their robes to give them some sunlight, only to return the Cancun ready lice to their robes – not wanting to disturb stuff too much. 

They knew that the kingdom was within.  Go ahead.  Leave it Undone.

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