The Power of Play

“If science always insists that a new order must be immediately fruitful, or that it has some new predictive power, then creativity will be blocked. New thoughts generally arise with a play of the mind, and the failure to appreciate this is actually one of the major blocks to creativity.
Thought is generally considered to be a sober and weighty business. But here it is being suggested that creative play is an essential element in forming new hypotheses and ideas. Indeed, thought which tries to avoid play is in fact playing false with itself.
Play, it appears, is the very essence of thought.”
-David Bohm, Science, Order, and Creativity, 1987


Last evening I watched a PBS special on the Power of Play and was facinated for an hour with the way animals (including humans) use play. It was amazing to see that "child-like wonder" is so natural to all. The most striking thing was that given a choice, play always occurred at the edge of chaos -- or in the most challenging ways. Sheep, given both flat land and extraordinary mountain peaks, always chose the most dangerous (or interesting?) places to play and learn.

The program showed that play is actually an imperative of nature, a force that has a direct relationship to the survival of species, including our own. Perhaps it is important for us to play with new ideas now as we face our own survival.

Is this what makes an extraordinary thinker, doer? Someone who takes joy in playing with ideas ... in playing at the edge of chaos between what is known and not known?