What would anti-play look like? I am not talking about the work ethic as I don’t believe the work ethic is anti-play, rather it priorities work above play, it gives play a lesser value. Anti-play would be something that is contrary, set against the types or rhetorics of play and it might be subversively good as well as subversively bad, (don’t ask me to define good and bad! I’m good, but I’m not that good/bad…).

Here are some ideas of how it might be expressed with examples where I can think of some!:-

Play                                  Anti-play

Self-actualisation            De-personalisation, de-humanisation (Racism)

Fate                                  Control (Anorexia – it can be an attempt to assert yourself to spite your circumstance)

Communal identity        Action to set a community against itself (Communist Russia and the Terror)

Frivolity                           The po-faced (crushing of humour, inability to understand and allow humour/ foolery)

Power                               Passivity (International observers in Hebron)

Progress                           Resistance to change, the return to the old (nostalgia, childishness)

The Imaginary                The Empirical (science)

I wanted to think this through somewhat vaguely because I attended a talk at my church on Wednesday by Deacon Dave who works in Hebron with Palestinians. He lives alongside them, as other internationals do, to stand between the settlers, police, army and the Palestinians themselves, because internationals have more rights and protection than the Palestinians do in these circumstances. Essentially, he is involved in combating Power play with passive resistance – a form of anti-play.

It was a humbling talk and I think will distill into my consciousness so expect more posts about it.


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