In a previous blog post Playful Work & Serious Leisure I shared a matrix of Work-Leisure that outlined eight different states of being when it came to Work & Leisure.
Being a theoretical person, I thought it would be enjoyable to combine that matrix with my concept of Playstates, particularly how it should be possible to find each of the five Playstates in the realm of Recreation. This would also further validate my Playstates theory, being able to find it in other concepts.
Recreation is the socially sanctioned use of leisure time. It is those activities that society wants us to do when we are not working and tends to entail some kind of personal development or challenge. But as I do this thought experiment I saw that playful activities such as Puzzles, Playgrounds, and Games can be taken very seriously and can become high-stakes.
Here is my Matrix with the emphasis being placed on Recreation. Recreation is a range of activities that combine Leisure and Seriousness.
It is conceptually easy to link up Seriousness and High-Stakes but they are not the same thing. Seriousness is the emotional state that a participant brings to the activity while the severity of the Stakes is the potential impact or outcome that participating can bring.
What are High-Stakes? I’d define it as an outcome where there is a gain or loss of reputation or assets. A person might take their Recreation seriously (such as hiking) but the activity becomes High-Stakes if the hiking takes them to extreme conditions (such as vertical rock-climbing).
So with those definitions being made we can now see how each Playstate manifests in some High-Stakes Recreation activities:
- Toys & High-Stakes Recreation – Snow mobiles, motorbikes, musical instruments.
- Playgrounds & High-Stakes Recreation – Stadiums, stages, amusement parks, extreme sports.
- Sign-Play & High-Stakes Recreation – Acting, art, communications, reading.
- Puzzles & High-Stakes Recreation – Game shows, scientific problems.
- Games & High-Stakes Recreation – Game Theory, simulations, gambling, investing.
- Sports & High-Stakes Recreation – Elite/professional sports and competitions.
If a person enters a High-Stakes Recreational activity with Fun attitude, then it can lead to recklessness and an unfortunate outcome or potential tragedy.
This theoretic exercise has validated my Playstates theory. Finding examples of Playstates in books, the visual arts, and also beyond the playful side of Work-Leisure Matrix has convinced me that Playfulness permeate way more of human makeup than what I originally. Humans really are Play Innate.