Essays, Analyses and Meditations

Back to my essays | Back to the Philosophy pages | Author

Play and Civilization

  • Why do humans build civilizations? Children may hold the answer: children play.
  • Children (not only human ones) are genetically programmed to play, and playing might be a way to learn the environment and to be creative about it. Therefore humans are genetically programmed to be creative.
  • Being creative about interacting with the environment yields several evolutionary advantages: 1. you learn more about the environment, 2. you simulate a variety of strategies, 3. you are better prepared to cope with frequently changing conditions.
  • Most adults stop playing because they have to work in order to feed their families. For some of them art might be a way to keep playing while you are working.
  • Art might just be a way to map the environment in a creative way.
  • Mapping the territory is a precondition for surviving its challenges, but it wouldn't be enough to yield solutions to unpredictable problems. To deal with the unpredictable, we need more than just a map.
  • Over the centuries this continuous training in creativity has led to the creation of entire civilizations. And to the history of art.