h+ Magazine

Fall 2009...

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/2624

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65 www.hplusmagazine.com TRANS HUMANISM AT PLAY TRANS HUMANISM AT PLAY W atch children, or adults, at play. And by "play" I mean the real thing — experimental, messy, reality-shifting and explorative, not the routinized pseudo-work we call "leisure" or "recreation." For kids, their play-world might easily imbue them with strange transformative powers, or they might equally enchant and animate the objects that surround them. For adults — say a bunch of Google engineers bashing and drilling away on the flats at Burning Man — the point of their play is to simulate, as tech historian Fred Turner says, a "utopia of relationships and technology." In either case, when they are at and in play, humans old and young naturally hypothesize about testing the boundaries of human capacities and faculties. The great guru of play theory, Brian Sutton-Smith, describes play's role in human evolution as that of "adaptive potentiation." By that he means play as the mimicking, mocking or fantasizing about our situations of survival, within zones of time and space that open up in our daily life. In this way, play helps us to improve our ability to respond to the challenges of living. It's our rehearsal hour for real risks and opportunities. P A T K A N E

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