978-0-679-44879-2 / 9780679448792

Deep Play


Publisher:Random House



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About the book:

"Deep play" is what helps humans survive, grow and spiritually transcend, according to acclaimed poet and author Diane Ackerman. Children are of course drawn to deep play--those activities that catapult them into an altered state of consciousness, where all their senses are engaged and for that moment life is timeless and fully absorbing. But few adults are conscious of how this form of deep play continues throughout adulthood.

For athletes, deep play could embody the extreme and spiritually rewarding feats of mountain climbing or scuba diving, explains Ackerman. For lovers, it could be the compelling dance of courtship. Some find the act of making soup from scratch a form of deep play. For Ackerman, deep play has meant swimming with dolphins, writing poetry, piloting planes and making sojourns to remote locations and sacred places. "Swept up by the deeper states of play, one feels balanced, creative, focused," explains Ackerman. "Deep play is a fascinating hallmark of being human; it reveals our need to seek a special brand of transcendence, with a passion that makes thrill-seeking explicable, creativity possible, and religion inevitable."

Ackerman's writing and metaphors are most engaging when she uses her fascinating life experiences to characterise how adults can engage in the rapture and ecstasy of deep play. This is a fascinating new territory of discussion, which could forever alter your approach to play in daily life. --Gail Hudson

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