Introduction Play is one of the most pleasurable activities in human life. Play has the potential to make human beings forget their worries and tensions for sometime, and enjoy the moment to its fullest. However, studies on human behavior and animal behavior have revealed that play is not just limited to human beings but is as much a part of animal behavior as it is a part of human behavior…
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The most important thing that their studies reveal is the relationship between the animal and human play. Play in humans and animals reveal that animals are as intelligent and as evolved as humans are. The texts prove that if humans learn from the animal behavior of play, then their life will be more fun and natural, and this will lead to freedom from psychological, social and biological distress that humans suffer. The texts also reveal that play not only brings fun and enjoyment in human life, but also helps in preventing the development of lifestyle related problems like depression, anxiety and tensions, which are the root cause of various psychological, social and physical problems. In doing so, the texts send a strong message that even though play is a source of fun and enjoyment, it should be taken seriously. Analysis The article by Huizinga “Nature and significance of play as a cultural phenomenon,” and the lecture by Brown “Serious play: Why play is more than just fun,” aim at making the reader understand the importance that play has in human life. In doing so, they have explored the different areas of life that are affected by play. However, Huizinga and Brown have taken different approaches to explain the role of play. While Huizinga has explored the cultural and historical base to explain how play is embedded in the very fabric of human life, Brown has taken a biological and scientific approach to explain the same. Even though their approaches are different, there is one point which they both have tried to highlight strongly and that is the relation between the play of animals and play of humans. Relation between play of animals and play of human Huizinga, in his article “Nature and significance of play as a cultural phenomenon,” has explained how play of human beings is not just a cultural or social phenomenon but is a natural phenomenon. To support his argument, he has explained how animals also know how to play and have fun. In fact, Huizinga goes to the extent of saying that “animals play just like men” (Huizinga 97). To prove his point, he has given the example of dog’s play. Dogs use different ceremoniousness of attitude and gestures to invite other dogs for play (Huizinga 97). Their rules of play, like not hurting or biting while playing, are communicated and agreed upon in non-verbal language (Huizinga 97). In doing so, they experience tremendous fun and enjoyment (Huizinga 97). This also shows that the purpose behind ‘play’ is not just physical or biological, but is something beyond it (Huizinga 97). Huizinga points to a very important fact that animals do not wait for humans to teach them how to play but do so naturally and on their own (Huizinga 97). This fact that animals play as good as humans is also revealed by Brown in his lecture. In his lecture “Serious play: Why play is more than just fun,” Brown has referred to the strong similarity between play of animals and play of humans. He has given the example of polar bear to show how animals follow rules and communicate in non-verbal language to indulge in play. He has described how a polar bear override the carnivorous tendencies when he gets
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