Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Do You Play?

paper boatThe School of Life, for those of you not familiar with the organisation, is a little place in London offering courses and services to people who want to expand their mind on topics ranging from philosophy to literature, psychology to the visual arts. Some of the staff, faculty and ambassadors write interesting little musings on their blog and last week I read one about 'The Fear of the Amateur'. In the post, Cathy Haynes presents a view that we have all veered so much towards being audience-critics, with the plethora of TV shows on DIY, cooking, home renovations, singing and dancing; that we no longer dare try being 'amateurs' at a new skill, hobby or activity.
"We fear the amateur in case it causes us to loose face and look uncool. But at the root of the word amateur is the Latin amare, to love. An amateur pursuit is something we have genuine passion for, regardless of how we look to the outside world. By abandoning it, we lose the pleasure of doing something that is playful, creative, absorbing, and solely for itself."

Haynes thinks that we would sooner buy something than make it because we think a purchased product much superior to anything we could produce ourselves. I would add to that, the issue of time. People are always rushing to get things done or wanting to have something new immediately so they just go out and buy it rather than thinking about spending any time on it. Part of the fun of play I think is getting absorbed in what you are doing so that you don't give a thought about the time.

As adults, play shouldn't be something we leave to our children. Just as they enjoy making things and creating, we should remember that we can also still have that kind of enjoyment. It's not about making something perfect, it's about engaging in an activity which can be relaxing, intellectually stimulating, challenging and fun!

Read 'Cathy Haynes on the Fear of the Amateur' here.

1 comment:

  1. I just wrote a post on my blog about fighting the beast within...the one that stops me from allowing myself to create/play. We must be on the same page at the moment!! Thanks for the link I need all the help I can get :)


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