Play and Work

I am an avid player of computer games and pen-and-paper RPG games. I enjoy shooting hordes of zombies, building and deploying armies and being part of a team in a fantastic and dangerous world. I have always valued games for themselves, but it has only dawned on me recently that they must have great survival value. Research has shown that playing is hard-wired into humans, the great apes and well, pretty much all mammals as far as my cursory search goes. Something that is built-in, instinctive to people, dolphins, rhinoceroses and foxes is probably crucial and very generally useful. We share play with species that have no hands, no language, vastly different intelligence levels and which live in environments that would kill us. Play is so useful that it has elbowed its way into the evolutionary bandwidth. It is genetically ingrained in the species and gets time and energy allocated alongside the crucial business of finding food, shelter and a breeding partner. It is obviously doing something vitally important. So what is it for and why do humans think they need to stop playing as adults? Read more...