Just before I went to sleep last night, I told my mind that if it wanted me to write a post today it had better wake me up early…
You are so you.
I said those words to someone recently.
There was a pause in our interaction between my saying those words to them and them asking me what I meant by those words.
During that pause their mind tried to figure out what I meant, what those words meant to them, what did – “You are so you” mean?
They had some fun with it, and shared the fun they’d had with it with me.
That’s intelligence being playful.
What did I mean by – You are so you?
I meant exactly that.
It’s a fact.
I was simply saying that they are themselves and very much so. Isn’t everyone?
Why did I say it?
As I was in the process of saying “You are so thoughtful”…
to thank them for being thoughtful in the way that they are which I appreciate – they notice details which not everyone notices, or at least not everyone mentions that they’ve noticed them and asks about them. They’d noticed something about me and asked me about it, asked if I was okay…
it occurred to me that “You are so thoughtful” = “You are so you” so I said that.
That was also a case of playful intelligence.
What is playful intelligence?
I hadn’t heard the term before either… or at least I don’t recall having ever heard it before.
My mind has a habit of deleting things which it thinks I don’t need to keep stored in it. It does that more and more these days thanks to the internet – I can always look something up thus no need to store it.
Its process of deleting tends to follow the logic that some of those home de-cluttering gurus use – Because I haven’t used that bit of information ever since I got it, the chances of my ever using it are slim. The space taken up by that bit is more useful than the bit, I might need it for storing something else, something I will actually use and find useful.
Clearing space in the mind is also viewed by the mind as a way to create a void
because the universe abhors a void and soon fills it, and you never know what idea it might decide to pop into the empty space in your mind (so, tell me, did your mind try to fill the void above in this post because it couldn’t handle the empty space?).
And as a way to give the thoughts which are in there more room to think – more play room.
Those two work together – Having a blank mind allows an idea from outside to enter inside, into the room, and the thoughts which are already in there but not in the blank space, watch and wait, to see what the idea does with and in the room.
Perhaps it holds out a hand and invites one of the watching and waiting thoughts to dance with it, play with it, and they can create something new together.
Here’s an example of someone who let a new idea in and played with it, created something new, it’s also where I heard about playful intelligence:
“Recently, a friend and I were talking about some of the challenges our kids are facing. At one point, he says, “It’s really hard to be a kid these days.” I nod, and we start covering the usual suspects like social media, academic stress, and extracurricular pressures.
But then suddenly, out of nowhere, my friend blurts, “Actually, you know what, it’s really hard to be an adult these days!” We have a good chuckle, but then quickly revert to kid-shop. For the rest of our conversation, I couldn’t stop wondering why my friend’s mind had momentarily changed direction.
This post is the second in a series that will introduce a concept that I call playful intelligence. Playful intelligence is not a new form of intelligence, per se. Rather, it’s an extension of both intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence. It involves unpacking our childhood wisdom and developing an understanding of how playful behaviors influence the internal and external aspects of our adult lives.
As I mentioned in the first post of this series, in my research, the five playful behaviors that seem to hold the highest value in adulthood are imagination, sociability, humor, spontaneity, and wonder. The most interesting thing about these behaviors is how differently they function in our adult lives as compared to when we were kids.excerpt from Playful Intelligence by Anthony T. DeBenedet M.D.
The excerpt above is the introduction to the article. If you, like me when I read it, think you know where the author is going with his narrative… you, like me, will find yourself being surprised and perhaps a bit confused but in a good way.
My mind gets very excited when a narrative doesn’t go where I expect it to go, especially if it goes somewhere new and refreshing. The excitement ripples all the way through me, inside and out. I can feel the cells of my system celebrate.
But there’s a flip side… there’s always a flip side.
My mind tends to get very bored when a narrative goes where I expect it to go, especially if it’s old and stale, looping around – play, rewind, repeat. Those of you who regularly read my posts, particularly the ones about narcissists, can probably guess why my mind is like that about that.
My mind can be an ass – it’s rather proud of its ability to spot patterns, which includes where someone is going with their narrative. It’s worked hard to develop that ability – it’s one of those abilities which was born and borne out of pain and pressure, it evolved out of a need to predict, to deal with confusion, to identify and stop repeating certain patterns.
This can make me a bit of a nuisance for others when it comes to watching a film or TV Show – I’ve watched a lot of those and that means I’ve learned patterns of plot, tropes, predictable ways the story can go. I can predict where things are going next, what a character is going to do next, and can sometimes even predict what a character is going to say next.
My partner called me out on it the other night because he’s getting rather fed up of me rolling my eyes and groaning – Oh not that again! – when he gives me a synopsis of a film or show which he is excited about and wants to watch. My eye-roll-groan sucks all the fun out of his excited-want-to-watch.
I had noticed that I was doing that… but I didn’t think he’d noticed.
He was right to call me out – just because the synopsis sounds like every other film or show doesn’t mean that it is. Maybe they took a worn out narrative and played with it intelligently, messing with the tropes and twisting it so that it doesn’t go where you expect it to go.
More than that – the reaction I have is a worn out narrative in and of itself. It’s become a trope, which my partner is finding predictably boring.
I’ve become the very thing I dislike in films and TV shows. I’m the character who does and says what all characters like that do and say in every film with that synopsis, following the usual plot.
Time to change the narrative! Add some twists! Play with it intelligently!
My partner is doing that by just putting films and shows on without asking me first, without sharing the synopsis with me, when it’s his turn to choose something. Which means I watch without knowing what it’s about first and… that has lead to some interesting views.
Like this one:
Its synopsis is similar to other films which use the internet and people’s increased use and reliance on it as a narrative, then plays with our worst fears of it, going to a fear-scare-mongering extreme, where the internet and our use of it becomes an addiction which takes us to darker and dangerous levels of human being, spirals out of control, is a villain who almost wins… but luckily we have a hero/heroine to save the day and us all from being tangled up in the villainous web which has brought out the worst in us and ruined our “good person” self-narrative!
But the creators of that film played with it intelligently and it was a thoroughly enjoyable film! Glad I watched it!!!
Which reminds me of another film I watched last night, also one my partner just put on, that played intelligently with a lot of tropes, worn out plots, and old narratives… in society.
Here’s the trailer:
It used the Panama Papers as inspiration.
If you don’t remember that which was a big breaking news item a couple of years ago… don’t forget that you can look it up.
I must admit when they mentioned the Panama Papers, I’d forgotten about the whole thing, even though I’d read some of the leaked papers online and found them interesting.
That’s one of the brilliant aspects of the internet – it connects us to information, to people with information to share. Serious and silly, factual and fictional, personal and impersonal – all the colours of the information rainbow with which our intelligence can play.
It can fill in the blank, fill the void, enter our mind and invite our thoughts to dance, discuss and perhaps learn something new about others, ourselves, the world… it might even help us find solutions to personal puzzles which we’ve been struggling to solve for years and years.
Not all play is frivolous, but it is fun… sometimes it’s the best way to learn.
So… connect with me and share yourself, your information which emits out of you being so you!