Another way of living together – play and democracy

With Mathias Poulston

Another Way of Living - Play and Democracy

Looking at Play and Democracy

Mathias Poulston is founder of the International Playfulness Festival Counterplay, held in Aarus Denmark.

Counterplay is a blend of academia play research with the spirit of a playfulness festival. www.counterplay.org Mathias describes it as a prototype of a playful society.

Mathias is a Play Activist and is particularly interested in what happens to people when they get together and play. It seems that there are many more meaningful ways of being together. Ways that are more human

This year he has embarked on a PhD in Game Design on junk and adventure playgrounds. We could say that Mathias is very serious about Play.

Play is engagement for the sake of engagement – a way out of the tyranny of productivity!

Mathias and I had a good ramble about different ways of living together, Big democracy – parliament, elections, etc and Small democracy – everyday democracy, interactions between human beings. Growth mindset – fixed mindset

We forget about the influence of how we live our lives together. What happens when the negotiation is done through play?

In Play we’re a bit more open, more trusting, more interested in the common cause. To share dreams of ways of being together. More vulnerable. Experiments with now. On a regular basis great impact. Lots of things we do on autopilot.

How can the world be different? Playing with the small steps. How to see the world in a different light?

Favourite quotes

Eugene Fink: (1957) “Play does not fit in with the rest.. play is apart from the whole of life….. “Play does not fit into this manner of life in the way the other activities do. Play is conspicuously set apart from the whole futurale character of life. Play does not allow itself to be incorporated without further ado into the complex architecture of purposes. It does not happen for the sake of the “final purpose.”

“Play gives us the present (moment)”

Miguel sicarte: “Playfulness means taking over a world to see it through the lens of play to make it shake and laugh and crack because we play with it”:

Thomas S. Henricks:”When people agree on the terms of engagement with one another and collectively bring those worlds into being they effectively create models for living”.

The Eugen Fink text https://ctheory.sitehost.iu.edu/img/Fink,%20Oasis%20of%20Happiness.pdf
Play and the human condition https://muse.jhu.edu/book/48986
Play Matters https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/play-matters
The well played game https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/well-played-game


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