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[Xmca-l] Re: Playing with/at TED



Thanks to all who've watched the video and commented. 
Over the weekend I completed two weeks of PLAYING WITH a "small group" of psychologists/youth workers/educators from 5 countries who were in NYC for their final residency period with me and the Institute. I kept up with your posts but wasn't able to respond until now.
I find the discussion fascinating in a few ways, which I will try to describe through commenting on what's been said/written. 

I greatly appreciated Tom's concern ("We need Play to evolve the next tranche of revolutionary strategy and
> tactics, but Play alone will never arrive at the necessity for
> revolutionary overthrow of capitalism") and further comment and subsequent expansion on this ("While I did not wish to attack or offend deliberately, I feel that the
limitations of work within individual/small group relationships, no matter
how creative, redemptive and transformative, cannot have that same effect
upon the 500year-developed /developing reality which is modern bourgeois
society. It is that sense of limitation which I attempted,
> straightforwardly to convey").

> Tom, I in no way felt attacked or offended.

> I found Shirley and Helen's and Carol's versions of what I was doing in the talk and what the activities I presented might be "about" very helpful and appreciated learning what they saw.  I was indeed trying to present something new to the audience, something that gave them the feeling that there was more "behind it" and that something was pretty unorthodox.

> I suppose the key thing I can say in response is that I was speaking about play in a very particular way, as revolutionary. I was really pleased that the audience for the live presentation picked up on that and was excited by this new way of seeing. What I think revolutionary play is (in my talk I repeated what I mean by that several times—taking what there is and making something new, doing what we do not know how to do, relating as who we are/other than who we are at the same time) is a cultural-historical activity that creates development, and that all of us human beings need to develop if we are to have a shot at overthrowing capitalism. (For "theory" the most concise expansion of this might be All Power to the Developing.The position put forth in that article has generated lively dialogue, as it is not the most popular among Marxists.)

> As I read some of the comments on my talk, it seems to me that how I understand play as revolutionary was not taken into account fully. By that I mean it seems like one's own understanding of play was substituted unaware. Perhaps this has something to do with Hue seeing play as "overdone" as well as David's commenting:
>  "One of the problems of Lois's talk is that it doesn't give us a very clear
view of what play is not. But I would say that street kids talking to
policemen about their fear of being gunned down in the street is a pretty
good place to start. Lois herself recognizes in her talk that the conversations are not part of
the play. But then we need to look at when and where the activity stopped
being play, and above all why. Otherwise we rob "play" of all of its
content."

Sorry, David, if I was less than clear here. For me, the conversation was part of the play. The activity never stopped being play, as I understand it. The cops and kids were playing, in my sense of revolutionary play, as they were creating a conversation they had never had and perhaps could not were they not playing/performing...they were doing what was beyond them and creating something new together. I imagine you and others may not see it that way, but that's what I see.

David's comments also highlight for me an aspect of perhaps different ways of approaching what it means to engage in the activity of understanding. As I read you, you need me to say what play is not and you also need me to pinpoint the beginnings and endings of something identified as play. It's that "is" that for me is the problematic term—it reads to me as pictorial and essentializing in reference to meaning. Apologies if I have misunderstood you. And while I don't mind playing being simultaneously the "leading activity" and the constant activity, I'm inspired by Vygotsky, not overdetermined by him.  

I'm very sensitive to how we speak/write to each other, however, especially when difference of opinion gets in the way or replaces curiosity to learn more about how come someone thinks/believes what they apparently do. And so I wish that we would be asking more questions of each other... and perhaps saying things in less absolutist and knowing terms.  

David (again) wrote:
PS: Obviously, the teacher who claimed that their generation in China (my
wife's generation) did not play after the age of two was just playing
around with poor Lois. But that's no reason to play along...

I "obviously" (and here it makes sense to use that word) cannot know your intention in writing what and how you wrote the above, as we cannot know each other's intentions. So I'll jump off from what you say and maybe help you see what I was trying to convey—75 teachers (not 1) told us in different ways/phrases that they hadn't played since they were very little children. They weren't making any claims, neither for themselves as individuals and certainly not for their generation. They were talking with us and sharing their experiences. I assume your wife has done the same with you, and that would be interesting to learn about.

I'm off tonight to work in Frankfurt for the week, but if there is further conversation I will respond quickly.

If any of you are interested in pursuing the topic of play and performance in our current context of capitalism's crisis, from my community's perspective, you can view an event, What Developing in a World in Crisis  which begins with 9 people from 8 countries speaking to how they see the development challenges in their countries, followed by a conversation between me and a colleague, and then the audience. 

Again, thanks for including me, TED, play in your discussions,
Lois




Lois Holzman
Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
104-106 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, New York 11217
Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
Fax +1.718.797.3966
lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org 
Social Media
Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
Blogs
Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
Websites
Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
All Stars Project

 

On Jun 22, 2014, at 1:31 AM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> I wonder what Lois thinks about all of this discussion that Peter started?
> Mike
> 
> On Friday, June 20, 2014, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> I agree completely with Tom's remarks. I remember that almost every summer
> in Chicago between five and ten black children in the city would be
> murdered by police for playing with toy guns. Consider this:
> 
> http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-police-murdered-5000-innocent-civilians-since-911/172029/
> 
> To link this to the previous thread--I don't think that the article "What
> Theory is Not" has a workable definition of theory, and for that reason I
> found it little more than a list of complaints. But part of the dialectical
> method is defining what things are by looking at what things are
> not: transgressing that boundary is precisely what we mean when we say that
> something is in the process of becoming what it is not.
> 
> One of the problems of Lois's talk is that it doesn't give us a very clear
> view of what play is not. But I would say that street kids talking to
> policemen about their fear of being gunned down in the street is a pretty
> good place to start.
> 
> Lois herself recognizes in her talk that the conversations are not part of
> the play. But then we need to look at when and where the activity stopped
> being play, and above all why. Otherwise we rob "play" of all of its
> content.
> 
> I think the same thing is true when we say that children play constantly,
> from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed (and Vygotsky, of
> course, says the opposite--play is a "leading" activity but for that very
> reason we cannot say it is the main activity).
> 
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> 
> PS: Obviously, the teacher who claimed that their generation in China (my
> wife's generation) did not play after the age of two was just playing
> around with poor Lois. But that's no reason to play along...
> 
> dk
> 
> 
> On 20 June 2014 06:03, Tom Richardson <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com>
> wrote:
> 
> > A fascinating and moving 14+minutes of Lois ....only how I wish that I did
> > not subscribe to a class analysis which means that the last example of the
> > 'kids of colour' and the NYPD is called into deep question - will the
> > lethal divides of capitalism's "special bodies of armed men" from
> > working-class citizens, (and of course it extends to imperialism's
> > destruction of whole countries), be 'overcome' by Play. Lois' commitment
> > and passionate intelligence almost lets me believe it might, but I know
> > that I'm fooling myself.
> > We need Play to evolve the next tranche of revolutionary strategy and
> > tactics, but Play alone will never arrive at the necessity for
> > revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, only, from Lois' examples,
> > ultimately futile attempts at transcending class conflict,
> >
> > Tom Richardson
> > Middlesbrough
> > UK
> >
> >
> > On 19 June 2014 20:57, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Well Lois
> > >
> > > That was splendid, awesome! All you serious XMCAers please watch.
> > >
> > > Carol
> > >
> > >
> > > On 19 June 2014 13:48, Lois Holzman <lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Here's the link, Carol.
> > > > http://tedxnavesink.com/project/lois-holzman/
> > > >
> > > > Lois Holzman
> > > > Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> > > > 104-106 South Oxford Street
> > > > Brooklyn, New York 11217
> > > > Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> > > > Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> > > > Fax +1.718.797.3966
> > > > lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> > > > Social Media
> > > > Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> > > > Blogs
> > > > Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> > > > Websites
> > > > Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> > > > All Stars Project
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Jun 19, 2014, at 3:02 AM, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
> > > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > Louis
> > > > >
> > > > > Please could you send the link again?
> > > > >
> > > > > Thanks
> > > > > Carol
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > On 19 June 2014 01:03, Lois Holzman <lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
> > > > wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > >> Hi All,
> > > > >> Peter kindly posted a link to a talk I gave last month at a TEDx
> > > > >> event--TEDxNavesink Play.
> > > > >> Aside from the prep being among the hardest things I've ever done
> > > > (staying
> > > > >> within their rules and structure, not being academic but saying
> > > > something
> > > > >> new for people to think about, and more), it was a delight to be
> > with
> > > > folks
> > > > >> who appreciate and value play--many of whom are affording people in
> > > > their
> > > > >> communities with the opportunity to play in all kinds of ways. It
> > was
> > > > >> really growthful for me and my team. I was really pleased to
> > reconnect
> > > > with
> > > > >> Peter Gray after many years and to meet other good people. The
> > one-day
> > > > >> event was organized are 4 P's--possibility, pleasure, progress and
> > > > paradox.
> > > > >> I invite you all to include these talks within your conversation
> > > > here--even
> > > > >> though they're not theoretical. Maybe it's a new kind of play for
> > > many.
> > > > >> Lois
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Lois Holzman
> > > > >> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> > > > >> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> > > > >> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> > > > >> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> > > > >> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> > > > >> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> > > > >> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> > > > >> Social Media
> > > > >> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> > > > >> Blogs
> > > > >> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> > > > >> Websites
> > > > >> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> > > > >> All Stars Project
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >>
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > --
> > > > > Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > > > > Developmental psycholinguist
> > > > > Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> > > > > Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > > --
> > > Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> > > Developmental psycholinguist
> > > Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> > > Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> > >
> >