Bernard L. De Koven

On Having Fun

Of Playfulness and Play

We must play because it is as necessary to us as breathing. We are born players.

Posted Apr 05, 2017

I was asked by Patricia Echeverria Liras, founder, Experiment on Purpose, to spend a half hour with her recording a mini-interview with me. How could I say no? (In fact, lucky you, if you want to play with us or just watch us have all the fun, here's the link. Consider signing up by April 17.)

In preparation, she sent me a list of questions. Below are her questions with my oracular responses appended:

First of all, how would you define PLAY + Playfulness? What is it?

It’s one of those things we know when we experience it. It’s built so deeply in to us that it’s beyond words. Our children and pets bring it to the surface. It’s why we have them.

I love the concept of 'the well-played game' can you describe what it means, and how we can apply this concept to life itself? What would it look like if we lived in a supremely well-played way?

The well-played game has nothing to do with who wins or loses. It’s all about how we play together. As such, it  is a template, a model for a well-lived life. That kind of life is lived with love and intimacy, ease and laughter, in a community of masters.

Do you think we are too serious about work, life, and everything in between?

I get serious about it too. There’s a kind of work I do that’s also fun. A kind of work pursued with love and wonder. Writing. Teaching. Playing.

Why MUST we play? (I have heard you describe PLAY as a spiritual experience. How so?)

First, we MUST play because it is as necessary to us as breathing. We are born players. Then there’s the play between I and Thou, for example between ME and WE. When we are completely ourselves and completely together. This for me is spiritual play. It’s in dance, rituals, art, in love, in taking walks

Can we try out a quick game / a playfulness exercise? Thumb Olympics?


How can we incorporate play into our daily life (if even for just five minutes?)

It’s not so much about incorporating as play it is about finding it, in the fun of life, in chance meetings, in a happy accident.

Can we make work fun? How? (even within the most rigid and serious environments)

Again, it’s about finding the fun. Not making the work fun, but discovering the fun that is the heart of work. Make the people who love their work your guides.

How can we stay playful even in the most stressful and dreadful of situations, where stakes are high?

For this, we need each other. Not something you can do alone. Play is an inherently political action. Playful is a way of being. We need only to play, playfully, together.

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