Ah, the downside of that “hour of play” insight

I really appreciate the allure of this quote attributed to Plato:

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

So many thanks to Bernie DeKoven for pushing back:

I don’t think the self you are when you are at play is any more “who you really are” than the self you are when you are not at play. I think the self you are when you are playing together with someone is not even yours. It’s a shared self a combined self. Not a me, but part of a we. Because you are playing with someone else, you are someone else.

It’s easy to get sanctimonious about play and to slip into labelling people for “not being fun”. The fundamental attribution error is like water to human fish. When I’m doing improv, the tendency to create an inner dialogue about either myself or others who are “getting it” or “not getting it” is probably the biggest block to me getting in the zone, enjoying myself and being available to other players.

1 thought on “Ah, the downside of that “hour of play” insight

  1. Bernie DeKoven

    That “fundamental attribution error” is a powerful insight, Johnnie. Useful in so many ways, in so many kinds of improvisation, from theater to marriage to a game of free form ping pong. Thanks for making the connection.


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