When did you last play?
Maslow was right. He arranged human needs into a pyramid with what he called ‘self actualisation’ at the top. This included the development of abilities and talents and is basically about what we call having fun. When all the other levels of existence are met – food, safety , sex, a home – then comes the time for play. It is both the last stage – as it is put off until the others are met – and at the same time the most important as it is the ultimate goal. Think about it: people work and produce stuff, but most often this is not very interesting. It is not when people blossom. But when people play, others cue up to watch. We even buy tickets to watch as people act, sing, move.
What are the great achievements of science if not people playing? Sport, music, dance. It is all play. This is where the arts come in. At this point on we are expressing our joy; we are doing it just because we enjoy it and no other reason. YouTube is full of people being awesome and they are all just having fun. Children do it naturally. Even kittens do it. But for some reason we forget all about it and grow up. We work.
Work is good. Plerk is also good. A bit of both. But play for plays sake, art for art’s sake, joy for it’s own sake? That is life really living. When did you last play? Express yourself? Be creative? Don’t we have people for that?
In these times not everyone is able to work, even at home, and so people play. They play with their children, they solve problems, (a great source of play), they make silly videos.
Art sits comfortably at the top of this pyramid. It does not cure you of disease. it does not put food on the table (unless you are an artist, then it sometimes does). It does not fix the broken stuff that needs fixing. But its making its doing and it’s performing is it’s own reward because it makes happiness and in the end this is all we really seek.
Duet – oil on wood panel – 50 x 20 cm – 2012- SOLD