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

Well, of course, Chinese children play. They have played for thousands of


You can see them playing almost everywhere in China today.


My wife and her playmates used to re-enact revolutionary operas during the
Cultural Revolution in ways that would have gotten them in big trouble if
they had been older (my wife still does a parody of the revolutionary opera
"Chao Yang Gou" that makes people fall out of their chairs laughing when we
go back to China).

At the same time, Chinese children grow up to be adults who claim, as the
Sichuanese teacher did, that Chinese children never play, or that they
won't play, or that they somehow play less than other children. Consider,
for example, this:


So we need to ask what these claims really mean and why they are so common.
In the case of this "China Daily" article, I think the answer is pretty
clear--at least to me. This article is part of a very widespread genre--a
kind of humblebrag that we also see among young professionals, according to
which the person in question is so busy that he or she has scarcely any
time to do anything except tell us all how busy they are. So for example
this article stresses from the very first sentence that little Zhuzhu is of
an affluent family and strongly implies that within a few years, thanks to
her lack of play opportunities, Zhuzhu and her affluent family will be even
wealthier. Children who play, on the other hand, are children whose parents
are too poor to afford cram schools and so their kids run wild in the
streets (as my mother in law says, parents who hang their children from a
tree branch and let the wind  blow them up, or rather, down). For obvious
reasons, this kind of (mostly false) propaganda is not going to improve the
play lives of children, no matter what class.

Lois's talk makes it clear that the activity "Cops and Kids" takes place in
distinct stages: there is a set of warm up exercises (walking around and
making faces, doing "gibberish" and talking in tongues) and then there is
an Impro (presumably along the lines of Keith Johnstone's book, "Impro", or
Augusto Boal's "Image Theatre") and then there is a conversation (see
around point 12.48 in Lois's talk). The conversation, which is the
cathartic moment, seems the least play-like to me--it is concerned with the
fear of being gunned down in the street. This fear is not play. For one
thing, it's not imaginary.

For another, it's not mutual, reciprocal, shared or symmetrical. Police in
America are well equipped to ensure that they will be able to gun down
people without the fear of being reciprocally gunned down. For example,
many of the "inadvertant" murders carried out by the NYPD are attributable
to the fact that they were given repeat-shooting weapons with hair triggers
under Rudy Giuliani, weapons that they still carry. The last time I was in
New York City, about ten years ago, my wife and I participated in a street
funeral for a Chinese child who had been murdered by the NYPD. He was shot
for carrying a brightly colored plastic gun.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

On 24 June 2014 04:42, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Lois,
> I wanted to underline two comments you highlighted in  your reply to
> David's response:
> [first] "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."
> I appreciated this summation inviting us to to be *careful* HOW we
> reference *meaning*.  Meaning as *forming* [not formed] in our playful
> participation.
> [second] 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.
> In this fragment I appreciated:
>  relating *what there IS* AND *making something new* as emerging *at the
> same time*
> relating *who we ARE* AND *other than we are* at the SAME time*
> this simultaneous *play* AS *revolutionary* Not first *this* AND THEN
> *that* as *inter* as if between two unique essences but rather *this*
> THROUGH *that* EMERGING SIMULTANEOUSLY within playful activity.
> The notion of *residing* WITHIN HORIZONS where *subject* AND *object*
> emerge together each THROUGH the other simultaneously
> In other words a *horizonal view*. Merleau Ponty suggests the metaphor of
> *light* as a horizonal metaphor Subjects and objects emerging
> simultaneously within *light* which is everywhere and nowhere. Meaning
> emerging within playful activity, forming AND formed [each in the other] .
> Lois, as I *read* your comments *playing* with these notions I *found
> myself* stimulated by your commentary and decided to reflect out loud [not
> interior views].
> Thanks for a fascinating revolutionary playful formation.
> Larry
> On Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 5:03 PM, 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
> >
> >
> >
> >