Pretending to Be…


Working at Play, Playing at Work
January 18, 2008, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Pretending to be a Philosopher, Pretending to be a Writer


Im reading a amazingly interesting book for my Writing for Design Seminar class. Its called The Working Life by Joanne B. Ciulla. Despite forewarnings about how boring this book is, I am enjoying it so far (this is probably so because I am a dork but thats off topic). These are all just thoughts, just exploring how weird us humans are and trying to kill a hour before my class.

The idea in one of the chapters is how we incorporate work into play. Even in areas and activities of leisure we find traces and evidence of work. Basically we make play sound like productive work. Terms like “Working Out”, “Playing Golf to woo clients”, “Basketball to unwind” “Jog for cardiovascular health”, and the list goes on. We tend to justify why we play, forgetting that play is in fact illogical and inefficient. Just think of little kids. They get so much pleasure out of the stupidest things. Like jumping. My little cousin can jump all day, for no reason, and she gets so much joy out of it. I remember the scene in “Knocked up” where the little girl is chasing bubbles, and the two guys are amazed at how fun she is having. Work is Work, Play is Play. Stop trying to mix those two up in a laboratory to create a hybrid, wlay or plork or any other stupidness like that (lol plork, good stuff, no?) But in fact it is natural for humans to flip flop work and play. When playing football I tend to forget to have fun, as the inner competitiveness comes out and all I care about is work to win. Think about just the nature of football, the point is to but the ball over a imaginary endzone. But we make that task difficult putting 11 defenders with helmets and pads that try desperately to stop you. The example used in the book is Golf.

“…if your job required you to put a little white ball in eighteen holes, you certainly wouldnt do it by hitting it with a thin stick over lakes, hills, and sandtraps. The point of golf is to make it as difficult as possible to get the ball in the eighteen holes. Getting the ball into the hole is important to the player, but having the golf balls in the holes serve no purpose whatsoever outside of the game.”

Ans then conversely, we try to make work into play. I dont have to tell you, you know everyone attempts to “enjoy their work” make it “not seem like work” Offices, firms and business try to “create a playful atmosphere”.

So we “work in hope to play” and “play in seek of work” instead of letting “play be play” and “work be work”.

Say that 6x fast.

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