Author Topic: Play Makes Us Human  (Read 2180 times)

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Offline PaleoPhil

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Play Makes Us Human
« on: September 14, 2009, 04:16:31 am »
Here is a fascinating and controversial series of articles from Psychology Today, informed by an immersion in the research on hunter gatherer societies, that encourage us to question our basic assumptions about society and the way we live:

Play Makes Us Human
Published on Psychology Today (http://www.psychologytoday.com/node/5051)

Here are some interesting excerpts:

Quote
Have you ever noticed how we, as a society, use agricultural metaphors to talk about parenting and education? We speak of raising children, just as we speak of raising tomatoes or chickens. We speak of training children, just as we speak of training horses. Our manner of talking and thinking about parenting suggests that we own our children, much as we might own domesticated plants and livestock, and that we control how they grow and behave. We train horses to do the tasks that we want them to do, and we train---or try to train---children to do the tasks that we think will be necessary for their future success. We do that whether or not the horse or child wants such training. Training requires suppression of the trainee's will, and hence of play. The agricultural approach to parenting is, therefore, not a playful one.

Our society's concepts of raising and training children assume a dominant-subordinate relationship between parent and child. The parent---or teacher or other parent substitute---is in charge and is responsible for the child's actions. The child's primary duty, at least in theory, is to obey. This aproach to parenting seems so natural to us that it may be hard to imagine an alternative. Yet, in the context of our long history as a species, it is new. It came with agriculture, which first appeared about 10,000 years ago. Before that, we were all hunter-gatherers and we had no agricultural metaphors to guide our parenting practices.

In this series of essays, on "Play Makes Us Human," I have been describing the social values and practices of band hunter-gatherer societies. My thesis has been that an expansion of the primate play drive in our species enabled our ancestors to adopt a far more social and cooperative style of life than that manifested by other primates (see June 4, 2009, post). Hunter-gatherers seemed to use play and humor more or less deliberately to suppress tendencies toward dominance and to foster the sense of personal freedom and equality that was essential to their livelihood.

....

o "Ju/'hoansi children [of Africa] very rarely cried, probably because they had little to cry about. No child was ever yelled at or slapped or physically punished, and few were even scolded. Most never heard a discouraging word until they were approaching adolescence, and even then the reprimand, if it really was a reprimand, was delivered in a soft voice." (Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, The Old Way, 2006, p 198.)
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Play Makes Us Human
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 07:47:18 am »
I think the video game decade and the hobby decade attests to this theory.

I have taught my children that their play is their "work".

My website customers I see are into hobbies and sports hobbies.

And those video games rule the lives of even grown up people.

Basically people gravitate to do what they enjoy doing.
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