Analysis Of Steven Asma's Essay On Play

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To play is to “engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose” (Oxford English Dictionary). The idea of play has been around for centuries and has served many. This essay serves to evaluate Steven Asma’s essay on play, whether it serves a greater ambition than being a mere time filler or not. Asma claims that play is a productive activity that will help in the cognitive development of man. He establishes that “play is the highest form of human activity” and goes on explaining that humans, as mammals, engage in similar activities that would allows them to hone their social skills. He goes on to say that play may also give one a sense of great pleasure. Asma gave the example of rats and Jakk Panksepp noting how rats play and how they react to it with glee. It has been proven that humans and rats share a very similar genetic makeup (Nilsson, Helou, Walentinsson, Szpirer, Nerman, & Stahl, 2001); one may argue that rats and humans may not necessarily share the same social structure. However, it has been…show more content…
He cites Bertrand Russell, a philosopher that suggested that we should have an increase in leisure time to allow us to partake in introspection and to reflect upon the world’s affairs. In that way, Russell argues, society would be better able to tackle the social problems of the world, a productive and definitely beneficial activity. That said, an assumption was made that all men, given the extra time for leisure, would use it for such reflection. As much as such would be desirable, it would be of a Utopian standard. This is also unrealistic as a decrease in work hours, would lead to a fall of productivity, something that is very much undesirable in today’s world. Even in Singapore, we see how productivity is of great importance, as Singapore is one of the few countries that have the longest working hours in the world (Nanyang Siang Pau,

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