Playful Intelligence

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:

Nerve (2016) – film poster

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.

The Laundromat (2019)

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!


  1. Oof. Your question and invitation to “share ourselves and be uniquely US” could be dangerous. 😐 There was a bit of a jokey (half joke/half serious) thing I heard a while back, which I think applies to myself: “Don’t let your mind out to play – it’s far too young (immature) to be left alone” (you could substitute “unsupervised” for “left alone” – both apply equally to me). Lately I’ve seen a pattern of sorts in the theme of posts that have arisen in my Reader. The idea that it’s inevitable that we AGE, it’s optional whether or not we grow up (become mature). I’m not mature. At this age it’s becoming clear that I’ll never be mature (grown up). So if you wanna see the really real ME? Find the old fart behind the scenes, sniggering at the sober sides wandering around getting OLD.


    • You are so you, Melanie 😀

      In one of your posts you mentioned that your mental age was 19 yrs old, didn’t you? That’s a great age for the mind to be! It’s on the cusp of many things, still open to learning, still discovering, still finding the world interesting, still excited by possibilities, immature yet not immature, mature yet not mature… in some ways those who retain a youthful mind are wiser than those who let their minds grow old.

      Children tend to be far wiser than adults. They tend to see things as they are without all the complications adults pile on top of them.

      Besides – How do we know what is mature and what is immature? With fruit it’s easy, but with the mind it’s open to interpretation.

      When I read your posts I find there’s a wonderful mix of the wisdom of aging on the outside and the eternal youthfulness within 🙂


  2. Hey Ursula🐒

    To me, “you are so you” = genuine. I’d take it as a compliment. Like when you thanked me for being me and my ego strutted like a peacock.🦚

    The first read through, when I got to the void I chuckled. I see what you did there. Very playful and clever.

    I’ve actually been criticized for being too playful in my speech. It was done gently and with my best interest in mind but it surprised me and didnt.

    My boss told me that my playfulness gives the impression that I’m ditzy and unintelligent. It bothered him a lot because he knew I was smart and capable. He thought I should be taken more seriously.

    It surprised me that he was so bothered by it. It didnt surprise me that people misconstrued playful as stupid. Kind of like the main character in the movie Legally Blond. (That thought connection just occurred). I told him that if people underestimated me that was to my benefit, that I had to be who I was and that I appreciated his concern for me. He was an awesome human and a good boss too.

    Reading the article in the linky link brought back the chat we had on your blogging archetypes post. Specifically, the Jester and how you commented about the Sacred Clown. (is it just me or is even the word “clown” creepy?) Laughter does relax things like tense muscles or a tense emotional atmosphere. It’s good medicine.

    I read Melanie’s comment and I agree about not “growing up” if growing up means losing the sense of wonder, seeing magic, playing and having fun. I dont know if people realize that I actually Happy Dance. It’s not just a phrase it’s a physical activity 😁 I swing on the swings if I’m at a playground. I’ll play in a fountain… I have fun with words too. Movie quotes and song lyrics just pop into my head and fall out of my mouth. I disabled the “what if people look at you weird or think you’re crazy”-filter a long time ago.

    I started playing with sweat words when I became a mom. Kids cursing is cute and then it’s not. My favorite is “Jiminey Cricket on a motor-scooter” or just Jiminey Cricket for short. Older daughter told me she used this favorite swear at work recently and her coworkers were flummoxed. It made her laugh to see their faces.

    I enjoy our chats so much! Thank you for sparking my thoughts with all of your thoughts! 💃🤸‍♀️❣


    • You are so you, Angie 🙂

      What you said reminds me of the parts of your astrological chart which you’ve shared with me. You have Aquarius rising, and Aquarius’ favourite thing is to shock people with the unusual and outrageous, saying and doing things which make other people gasp and stretch their eyes. You also have Moon in Cap in 12th – you have a deep seriousness which you keep hidden behind the sacred clowning around. It’s very clever to do that. You can deliver sharp bites of wisdom while smiling goofily 😀 maybe the reason you find clowns worrisome is because you know what goes on inside the mind of a clown? The serious behind the silly.

      I don’t know about other people, but I took you at your word when you said that you Happy Dance… how would a toe get broken while doing a Happy Dance if you weren’t actually doing it? Of course you could have been lying but why would you lie about breaking a toe while dancing? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful! Two things stand out for me in this post, the link and the void. Both bear much insights.

    I enjoyed the link article, where it went was a pleasant surprise. Never heard of playful intelligence before but it makes perfect sense. Life is too tiresome, inject some playfulness, look at it as a comedy so days are not so sad. Lol but my playfulness is often looked upon as flippant by people 😉

    At first, I read your post on browser, I thought you just enter empty paragraph blocks. However, when I continue reading your post on mobile reader, it looks like a plain white image. Which is it?? I’m curious. I’m trying to keep my mind void these days to balance out Plutonium intensity cum Moon conjunct Saturn transits 😅 yes, with the ‘s’ transit Moon and Saturn conjunct natal Saturn and Moon. Sigh… I finished a post last night, it’s all there – effects of the aspects I mean lol

    It’s interesting to hear stories of you and your partner, in this one, sounds like he successfully jumped another hurdle 😃 Your love story made me envy sometimes. Btw, recently I charted out your Ziwei chart, it also says your parnter is a good looking one lol I used the info from your natal chart to work out the zi wei dou shu. Hope you don’t mind. But no, I only did a rough reading, even my own chart, I have not read in great details till today.


    • Thank you very much, Rev 🙂

      I love your post!!! I’m going to comment on it later, I tried writing a comment just now and decided not to since I’m very distracted due to tiredness and cat talking to me 😉

      I’ll answer this comment properly too later 😉

      It’s a jpg of just white.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much too, Ursula 🙂

        You can’t ignore a cat when they have something to say to you😼 they are very psychic. Ah, I keep a white.jpg file which is used to paste over/hides stuff on a pdf.

        Btw, any reason why you chose a white instead of black void?


        • It’s interesting to note that you seem to be focused on examining the structure of an empty space, and are filling the “void” with questions about it. Kind of goes with the transits which you mentioned. A Saturn transit to natal Moon tends to bring with it a strong sense of emptiness – Sat in Cap is partly about understanding structure, and the Moon is in some ways a void which gets filled in when the Sun’s light touches it. The Sun is ego and ego projects itself into and onto things to discover itself but may miss the discovery of self because it thinks what it projects belongs to the screen it is projecting onto.

          Keep that in mind when messing around with someone else’s astrology data and exploring their chart, whichever type of chart you use – is it them you are seeing and seeking or is it you projected onto and into them?

          What is “envy”… is it not too a projection of what we may want which we think someone else has? Why don’t we have what we are giving to another? Is it because we don’t really want it but want to want it? Or is it …. [fill in the blank]


          Tiredness is rather cool, it makes you notice things and people differently.


          • I must say I’ve been pondering for a long while this thing you say ‘is it them you are seeing and seeking or is it you projected onto and into them?’ I finally figured it here.

            We don’t mess ard with people’s chart. What information is there is there, there ain’t much that you can distort within the parameter. If the person doesn’t resembles what’s the chart says, then the chart is not accurate which is sort of expected. I use charts as a general guide to a person’s character, no expectations whatsoever. Therefore, there is no basis for projection.

            Besides, I believe to really know a person, you need to experience the person themselves, communicate and interact with them through your five senses.

            I can be dreamy, always dancing in my reveries, that is sort of a projection, yes. Yet strangely I draw a very clear line between that and reality. There is no grey area here.

            And you said that what we don’t like in others could be a reflection of the flaws we also have something like that. I also think about that a bit and while in some cases, it can be so, it’s mostly not in my opinion. 🙂 maybe im a bit off, anyway just sharing some thoughts.

            I really appreciate you taking time to reply and comment when you are already tired. Suddenly it reminds me of that one time I saw her face, my muse, tired and looking her age, the slight tug on my chest.. Excuse me.

            Hope you get a good rest tonight. I will get back to the envy thing and fill in the blank later cos is my sleep time now 😄

            Liked by 1 person

  4. My meness. Autocorrect did not like that, at all.
    Things I know about me: I’m direct. Kind of funny, bordering on bawdy. I get quickly irritated by those who don’t hold up their end. At times, I can get whacked by subtleties. What?? I have had serious issues with self-confidence and inferiority. Sometimes, I’ve deliberately done things because I don’t want those things scaring me. Conquer!! I am an introvert (an INTP as you know) but I exert myself to be social where necessary. I am also a Leo, and most Leos I know are major extroverts, but M, who’s also a Leo, is an introvert too. I have three really close friends. Most of my career, I was a dog face who sometimes did minor management work. Now I’m completely management (I get my hands in now and then but not much anymore) Didn’t expect that!


    • You are so you, Lynette 🙂

      We are all living in those “interesting times” the curse (the origins of which are apparently uncertain) promised us, some of it is a collective experience and some of it is personal.

      One of the patterns in human life is to at some point experience the other side of an equation which we have experienced repeatedly and are kind of done with our side of it – you are now experiencing the “having power over others” side of the equation when you leveled-up to “completely management”. The mission, if you choose to accept it and you obviously have, is to discover the aspects of you which come with experiencing the other side of the equation. You may find that you are who you think you are or that you’re not who you think you are while exploring the new territory of the new side of an equation, more likely you’ll find new territory which combines who you know yourself as being and things which remained dormant and latent until you leveled up and they needed to wake up and get a work out.

      Life is full of interesting twists and turns… you might find yourself at some point being an extrovert and wondering how you could ever have seen yourself as an introvert 😉

      The unexpected can be great fun!

      Liked by 1 person

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