a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Today’s opinion pick: “The Power of Play”

Posted on the March 6th, 2009

What do smart, successful, creative people do that mass murderers, felony drunk drivers, starving children, head banging caged laboratory animals, anxious overworked students, and most reptiles don’t do? They play, according to Stuart Brown, M.D., writing on a blog post yesterday on Penguin.com.

Brown is the founder of The National Institute for Play.  He has a new book just out this week, ” Play/How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.”

Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:

So, where does play fit into the big scheme of things? An evolutionary look shows that as it has developed over the eons, it closely accompanies the establishment of a large brain and the shift in metabolism from cold to warm bloodedness. The smarter, more flexible and adaptive the creature, the more they play.

Snow leopards box, kelp-laden sea lions play tug of war, otters do most anything in order to play; bats dabble with their sonar, killer whales tease sea gulls, ravens slide down snow banks on their backs, and given the chance wild wolves and grizzly bears play with each other despite their dissimilarity in size and long carnivorous heritage. And humans – they are the champions of play!

Read more here.

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