The Importance of Party, Play, and Phun!

Letting it all hang out
Hymn of Chaos, last verse: “And give us relief from the pressures of an ordered life.”

Halloween just passed reminded me of this photo from my playful yesteryear, and sparked a meditation on the importance of joyful play:

I think of rhythm as functional beauty. The word, itself, is smooth and silky, devoid of burdening consonants. Rhythm plays out through the seasons, through the free movements of the natural athlete, through careful preparedness and principled discipline, through fond and intimate social gatherings and the needed-opposite, solitude and meditation. Hypnotic, resonating rhythms of life seem to be in perfect tune with our play – a joyful expression of our body and soul. It is said that Zeus frowns on the “over busy.”

Sadly, modern commerce, politicians and technology are pushing us and pushing us until we’re off and running at a frantic over-pace, losing our human rhythm and its important playfulness. I wonder if our present human rhythm and playfulness differ from that of the man/woman animal of our past, with their consuming task of constantly working to provide food, shelter, and survival. Johan Huizinga, the Dutch scholar, writes in Homo Ludens, “… of all the great instinctive forces of civilized life, of myth and ritual, law and order, poetry and science, play cannot be denied.”

You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions; justice, beauty, truth, goodness, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play. Over encumbered by our “technical,” we need to unwind and soar with our “play.”

 

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