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Notes Towards Day 19 (Tuesday, Nov. 12): "Deep Play"

mlord's picture

I. go 'round and report on the paper-writing:
how'd it go? what did you discover? what p.o.v. did you use?
what did it bring into focus? is this a paper you'd like to return to this weekend?
does it harbor questions you'd like to pursue? something still "alive" in it?
we'll work on that collectively in a bit...

II. A little more from/about Jonah Lehrer's "Urban Friction":
"We all naturally self-segregate, choosing to spend time with people who are just like ourselves. (Sociologists refer to this failing as the self-similarity principle)....a small subset of business people...had social networks that were expansive and diverse, full of suprising interactions and 'informational entropy' (the presence of disorder--think of a crowded sidewalk)....businesspeople with entropic networks full of weak ties were three times more innovative than people with small networks of close friends" (pp. 202-3).

"...the creativity of the metropolis is inseparable from its freedom, from the natural chaos of a densely populated Zip Code....Instead of imitating the freewheeling city, businesses minimize the very interactions that lead to new ideas. They erect walls and establish hierarchies. They keep people from relaxing and having insights. They stifle convesations, discourage dissent, and suffocate social networks (pp. 208-9--THIS SOUNDS LIKE EASTERN STATE: MIGHT IT ALSO SOUND LIKE  A UNIVERSITY?).

and yet: Lehrer's careless research-and-citation practices: recycling, fabrication and plagiarism
your reaction to that...?  thoughts re: responsibility and community...?

III. Reading Chapter One from Diane Ackerman's Deep Play.
Write for 5 minutes: what is it? (write out a definition.)
Have you experienced this? (if so, give an example.)
How does deep play differ from play, from critical play, from...
(what other kinds are there?)

[See also Clifford Geertz. Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight.
The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books, 1973.]

shift in orientation: from city to natural world (birds @ play)
sacred world--> transcendence --> heightened awareness-->
"opportunity to perfect ourselves," to feel whole, ecstasy,
"subtracted from the world" (echoes of the Quakers?!)-->
focus your life

cf. Betham, p. 11, who dismissed "deep play" as any activity in which 'the stakes are so high that...
it is irrational for anyone to engage in it at all, since the marginal utility of what
you stand to win is grossly outweighed by the disutility of what you stand to lose"

he was a utilitarian philosopher who also envisioned the "panopticon,"
to allow a watchman to observe all inmates of an institution,
without their being able to tell whether they are being watched or not-->
(so the watchman need not be on duty at all times,
leaving the watching to the watched):
“a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind,"
“a mill for grinding rogues honest”

IV. Get out the essays
you printed off by the members of your writing group.
Re-read them: do you see any "deep play" happening?
Let's think together, collectively, towards a revised approach
that WOULD BE deeply playful.

V. 12:30: get two groups together for planning ahead
* This weekend we are taking our fifth trip to Philly, not to see Nicole Canuso
(a mathematical impossibility, but) to see 17 Border Crossings, which Thaddeus Phillips will be performing @ 140 N. Columbus Blvd, near the Race Street Pier on the Delaware River. We have bought tickets for you for six different performances: Wed, Nov 13 at 7pm, Thurs, Nov 14 at 7pm, Fri, Nov 15 at 8 pm, Sat, Nov 16 at 2pm and 8pm, and Sun, Nov 17 at 2pm.

Let's review the list (make some adjustments...?)

You need to figure out w/ your traveling companions how you will get there....
buy your own tickets, and bring us the receipts.

* Next weekend you will be going to the Barnes Foundation,
just up the Parkway from the Free Library.

* The weekend after we will all be observing Thanksgiving break (no trip, no assignment!).

* The weekend after that, we would like to plan for our course finale-in-the-city.
Can you all make a commitment to gather on the afternoon/evening of Sun, Dec. 8,
converging from whereever else we are, to spend 2 hours eating,
storytelling and theorizing together @ a single site?

Some possibilities we've thought of are
*Anne's condo @ 9th and Clinton (in Washington Square West),
*Mark's funeral home @ (@ 1170 S. Broad Street, deep in South Philly)
*a restaurant in Chinatown (where those of us from China would order for
those of us from elsewhere, and explain what's going on around us....?)

VI. Homework:
* by Wednesday @ midnight, post where you would like us to gather
and what you would like us to eat. CAVEAT: YOU MUST POST IN RESPONSE TO THE
(you can disagree: "no, I'd rather try a new neighborhood, a public space," whatever,
but it has to be in dialogue w/ those who have written before you....)

*by classtime on Thursday, read Borders and Boundaries, Invisible to Most, and also
John Dewey, Preface and "The Live Creature," from Art as Experience (1934), vii-viii, 3-34.
This essay, by the great American educational theorist (and friend of Albert Barnes)
will prepare you for your trips both to see 17 Border Crossings and the Barnes Foundation...