pat kane

pat kane


[glasgow, london]


intro’d to Pat via another one of Luba‘s great finds/shares.



4 min – history of internet – not commercial

1. scholar

2. state

the work ethic – no matter what labor you do – it’s worthwhile – gives you dignity

7 min – dlegh – root of play – passionate engagement with the world

after 9/11 – started digging into play more…

10 min – play sets at the juncture of human and nonhuman – connects us to nature – quite intrinsically – and why so….

11 min – play is about taking reality lightly – it’s not about non-reality..

ethan laughing  –

shows the appetite for human ingenuity – grasping the world – feeling that you have agency…

play is a part of inexhaustible optimism – novelty for experiment for re framing

20 min – to have your daily practice have cosmic or global consequences – your life is lived differently…  one of best ways where ornery humans aren’t going to be able to deal with themselves..

22 min – in some ways – iphone great model of planned obsolescence – but also a mystic portal

23 min – where do we find a place in the environmental movement for the insatiable appetite

25 min – hyper consumerism is going straight for that play element in us

28 min – what we think is truly scarce is plentiful and what we think is plentiful is scarce – Michel Bauwens — the web allows us a tool for our imaginations  – that has no scarcity

29 min – Jeremy Rifkin – energy entropy paradox – every time we get a leap forward – we get a planetary consciousness – then we almost in lock step – rip stuff out of the environment – aspiration: get a global society that matches our global consciousness

*what can we do to deal with our playful natures in a world of limits…?

30 min – prosperity w/o growth – Tim Jackson – if you want to live an alternative lifestyle – it’s really difficult – it has a high psychic cost – his solution is to make a call to govt to help us out – a hope for more enlightened govt..

32 min – the only solution i see from unlimited human playfulness and limited material planet – is craft. is that a way for us to get off the consumer treadmill is to get back into the idea that we are the makers of our life. we also have to look at the bit of us that can see what new gadgets can do – in regard to the value it can bring to society…

Craft Town Scotland

Richard Florida – 

The Canadian economist Richard Florida has made a global career for himself by advocating a formula that “technology, talent and tolerance” is what’s required to make your area “creative”. Technology meaning a combination of networks and transport, allowing mobility and connectedness; talent meaning universities, start-up zones, cultural sectors; and tolerance meaning a willingness to accept bohemian, non-majority lifestyles, and thus the kind of personal eccentricity that drives innovation.

Did St Andrews – which probably fits most of Florida’s categories already – really need to be awarded its category winner prize (towns with a 100,000-plus population), even given its plans were by far the more developed and ambitious? This is perhaps a flaw in the Creative Place approach that needs to be addressed: the extent to which localities can even get to the starting gate of effectively promoting their “creativity” to funding agencies

transition towns  – 

Its founder, Rob Hopkins, is quite explicit that one of the principles of Transition – apart from building up the resilience and self-sustaining nature of communities, and keeping their supplies as local as possible – is what he calls “inner” transition. People need an “engaged optimism”, aroused by acting in concert with their neighbours, to defy hard times.

In Hopkins’ words, “playfulness, creativity and happiness” are key.

This vision of “creativity” moves beyond the arts-media definition, into something like the basic human energy of a nation.

But it’s an example that proves why the current “creativity” of any place should begin through a recall of the “creativity” that already exists there.

How many stories can we excavate, and perhaps generate, from the massive commitment to pleasure and freedom that the Scottish seaside town represents? Their current travails – in terms of poor employment and drugs cultures – are well known. But anyone who visits them, after they fight back their nostalgic disappointment, can see what a stage they could be for the imagination. 


As a teenager, I found creative enclaves there, for sure: a local library teeming with European and American modernist literature; a school drama department; English teachers, who responded to my expressive hunger; and later, the Masonic halls and local pubs that would allow spotty musicians to mess about for hours. But I can’t deny that much of this occurred in a mild warzone of tall poppy-cutting – where sports were the only cultural expression worthy of a young man; where deviance from the herd was a kind of punishment in advance, for those not wishing to submit to the managed life.

So you explode out of that environment – to Glasgow, its universities, London and then the world (of ideas and of cities) – driven by the desire to shake off the shackles. But that explosion has its own psychological costs and pathologies; and over the years, you find out how many other interesting, idiosyncratic friends simply didn’t have the willpower to break away as freely as you did.

The idea that something like Creative Places – or indeed, the whole approach of a Creative Scotland – mollycoddles people into creativity that it creates an extended kindergarten that protects the real artist from struggle, or the need for do-or-die commitment … Well, it’s a soundbite.

*answer – ? recover the joy of making things – eclectically

too exhausting waiting for the govt – find a way to help people come together to make things…


founder/writer of the play ethic:


the play ethic









book links to amazon

the play ethic notes and highlights


play… it always seems to slip away from the standard rules of measurement, through being either too inconsequential or too diffuse.

play… something we only allow ourselves to recover in moments of permissible excess.

Celtic, Germanic, Slavic and possibly Latin, is dlegh, meaning ‘to engage oneself’

play enters into our lives in much more profound and constitutive ways than as merely the stuff of recreation or leisure, idleness or diversion

So we think we know what play is? If we truly listened to the culture around us, we’d understand it a lot better.

Could we use a full understanding of play as a critique, helping us to liberate our best capacities from unnecessary control and regimentation?

To see all this play, and all this as play, is partly a perception issue, of being able to flow through a city, rather than peer out at it for most of the daylight hours – and perhaps also an issue of not being in an office, school or some other disciplinary institution.

in the cityas the day – ness

‘He may have looked like a flake, never finishing anything,’ said one of the experts. ‘But at the end of a life, he turns out to have achieved an incredible amount.’ Clearly, da Vinci could never stop taking the opportunity to engage with the world.

the it is me ness

..pledging funds to indulge creatives in order that they may engage the world?

no strings attached – in order to set people free. 7 bill creatives.. upcycle ed resources et al

does everyone who wants to play, at the level they want to play, actually get to play?

equity – everyone getting a go – at the thing they can’t not do. everyday. none of us are free if one of us is chained. ness.

Perhaps, I mused, the problem is that organizations might want to utilize your playfulness, or even allocate a space of play within their building, but their system as a whole is never truly in play. It still regards play as this radioactive, fissile element: an energy source, sure, but one which – if it isn’t properly contained and harnessed – could irradiate the entire place and melt down all existing boundaries.

partial freedom is no freedom. 100% ness.

The work ethic has been a cornerstone of industrial modernity for over 250 years – and in many ways, is its most powerful and enduring ideology. Its essence is simply stated: that work, no matter how alienating or ill-suited to temperament, is noble in and of itself. Work is good for the soul.20 A more appropriate metaphysic for the early to middle stages of industrial capitalism, requiring the passivity and self-discipline of its workers, could scarcely be imagined.

the death of us. ness.

a play ethic, by definition, must have ambitions to legitimize a certain social order – even if that order emphasizes experiment over routine, dissensus over consensus, self-realization over self-division.

a people experiment

The huge issue here, of course, is whether the communication networks and technologies of our times are more appropriate for play than for work. If so, is this a society of mutual collaboration between passionate and capable individuals, instead of a market economy constantly heaving and straining to commodify what is beginning to look like the uncommodifiable?

re\wire ness

commons’ (or to use an even older phrase, ‘common-wealth’). What are the shared resources we need to establish in an information society, so that all its citizens get the chance to be players?

What are the shared resources we need to establish in an information society, so that all its citizens get the chance to be players?

a qr film ness – what matters most

Instead of our existence being defined by the necessary pains of work and the compensatory pleasures of leisure, a better arrangement might be to embrace the many dynamisms and enterprises of play, while accepting that our social duty is to care for those whose fragility, either temporary or permanent, means they must retire from the game. From work-leisure (and its less polarized variant, work-life), to play-care

We need a new way to look at the complexity of the educational experience – one that regards the apparent ‘messiness’ and ‘imprecision’ of play as a deep resource for understanding, rather than something which has to be squeezed out of curricula tailored to deliver better performance statistics for short-termist politicians

literally redefine ness

I offer the player, rather than the worker, as the figure of social agency that might be able to braid together various strands of the future, currently tangled and badly arranged.

How could anyone justifiably impose one exclusive system of power and money on a planet peopled by such capacious souls?

control as failure

the play moment begins in a tension between experiment and safety – the need to fully test out all the possibilities of being human, yet under conditions which are themselves not fatal, violent or beset with privation and pain. Is it too idealistic to imagine an extended ‘play moment’ for our planet – where global sustainability and global creativity sustain and reinforce each other in a peaceful yet energetic spiral? If it is idealistic, then guilty as charged. Players are literally nothing if not congenital optimists

1 yr to be 5

What would it mean to live your life in the modern world – to be active and purposeful with politics and technology and money – if you believed that play was more important to human beings than work? That the values of playing (improvisation, fantasy, abundance) were more integral, more ennobling – more ethical, in short – than the values of working (routine, self-denial, propriety)? Could a play ethic ever shape the mainstream of a society, rather than just caper at its margins?

earn a living,.. money was no object.. whimsy, …. art ist bot ist ness

[Science] is a bricolage of experimentation . . . initial playful activity is an essential prerequisite of the final act of understanding . . . new scientific practice needs time to develop its conceptual tools and its empirical data by playing with them, that is, by constantly repeating and combining them until they become common usage or reality. – Paul Feyerabend, Conquest of Abundance, 1999

The child’s unquenchable optimism and energy embodied the hope that human society could be bettered. And play, in all its irrepressible variety of forms, was the obvious expression of the child’s potential for progress.

As Sutton-Smith says in the piece, ‘The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression.’16

suffocating from the day

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery . . . none but ourselves can free our minds. – Bob Marley, ‘Redemption Song

Who we are, and what we do, come together in the act of free play

eu\daimon\ia ness

Modern play in all three of its definitions – as progress, as imagination, as self – can become an unlimited fuel supply of human dynamism. Play is the primal force which built our early selves, and can revivify and infuse our adult selves with a craving for action and innovation.

why grit – as thriving/sustaining energy – upcycling the human spirit

As Howard Gardner, the Harvard educationalist and psychologist, says: ‘We play to master our self, our anxiety and the world.’36

This is the other side of play’s profound ambiguity. Not only do we play, but we are often played with – by others, by systems of which we are elements and by the sheer unpredictability, uncertainty and complexity of life.

importance of giving everyone something else to do. makes bad less desirable. personal fabrication  et al

This is not a modern, but an ancient understanding of play – more coercive, more violent, less voluntary, less optional. Ancient play, as it manifests itself in the present, signals a world view where we are as sport to the gods, mere counters in their celestial game. Here, individual will is subordinated to the mass celebrations of the crowd, the carnival and the festival. This is where struggle and contest, rather than collaboration and creation, are the main initiators of playful activity. And this is also where our reaction to these demanding conditions of play can be one of sheer frivolity.38

too much ness

Play can be the means to self-mastery, but it can also master the self. We can choose to play – but we are often compelled to play as well.

key to play – freedom to quit

So playfulness – that endless surge of messy innovation which begins with the infant human – becomes the most important ‘fitness indicator’ of our creative health and imaginative strength in later life. Our continuing playfulness indicates to potential mates that we can respond to all the risks and challenges of existence with resilience and resourcefulness.

credential.. ness

ch: work ethic

Play’s ultimate function for humankind is to maintain our adaptability, vigour and optimism in the face of an uncertain, risky and demanding world.75 However, we endure a political tendency in the developed countries that believes, by and large, that work is the most functional and useful mode of human existence.

Whatever Brown thinks ‘the work ethic’ might be, he is clear – and has been for a number of years – about its emotional and moral content. A comprehensive search through Brown’s various public performances over the last few years reveals that the phrase always appears within a highly charged, highly judgemental context.  (Brown pm talk 2001)

This is Brown acting in the very best of Puritan traditions. The first legislature to make idleness a ‘punishable crime’ was that of the state of Massachusetts in 1648, set up under the zealous Calvinism of early settlers like John Winthrop.3

luxury ness

the soul’s play day is the devil’s work day, said another, anonymous, eighteenth century reformer.

why can’t we say angels make work for idle hands?

The work ethic is a tough adversary because, as Max Weber said, it represents the ‘spirit of capitalism’.11

The work ethic is useful to the governing classes of early twenty-first-century market democracies because it has the time-honoured effect of imposing social order.

To ‘do nothing’ useful or good after a hard week’s alienation is permissible; to do nothing but do nothing useful or good is utterly impermissible

there is never nothing..

No one can deny that violence, substance abuse and low spirits are rife in areas of Britain that have been beached by the end of industrialism. But it’s my argument that those pathologies are partly generated by governmental ‘regimes’ which regard the possession of work – no matter how shoddy or meretricious – as the only proper measure of social status.

us creating adolescence, mid-life crisis… et al

How can we live in such a schizophrenic way – when we work we are essentially slaves, and in our leisure we are potentially gods?

the opposite of the work ethic is this: being ready and feeling capable. Renton doesn’t say it, but I’d suggest it’s what he really meant. ‘I choose something else. I choose play.

something else ness – bravery to change your mind

Work will make you behave

Where the whole man is involved there is no work. Work begins with the division of labour. – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

If the essential foundation of character, as the classicists had it, is ‘Who needs me?’, then can our characters survive the reply of the new capitalism – not that much, not for too long, and only in these specific ways?

couldn’t get the life space to pursue his talent

how we value work indicates what we value about humanity. Sennett poses the question very beautifully in his chapter comparing Diderot and Adam Smith: do humans thrive by routine and order, or by flexibility and spontaneity?

work will make you behave


When our non-work lives become more significant than our work lives, we become less tolerant of our office pathologies – the power games, the sharp practices, the empty values. The challenge this already presents to standard cultures of work is enormous. And perhaps we should start to accept, politically, that we need a newly conceived public realm (or commons) to support our aspirations to play well and expansively.43

commons perhaps via a people experiment

And this is where my interest in play moves beyond workplaces and organizations and into the realms of civil society – the hackers, down-loaders and Linux-heads who are slowly evolving their ‘open-source’ constitution through the rich games of their coding; the protestors who integrate carnival and pranksterism into their otherwise deadly serious manoeuvres; the refugees from the patriarchal workplace who want to ‘play’ a role in their community, or just ‘play’ with their children more

thurman ness

Yet the people – whenever they get the chance to freely align their passions to their technologies – head somewhere else. This is towards digitality as a means of playing better and more freely, and not as a means of working harder and consuming appropriately.

whimsy matters, productivity and pragmatism et al – as we know them – becoming irrelevant

Somewhere, in the space created by some facility of the next generation of mobile and wireless devices, there will be a need for people to organize their random societal paths into some useful, effective flows (represented at the moment by the blogging movement), waiting for some general crisis of meaning or purpose to bring it all together in a flash

cure ios city – 2 needs

the player’s paradox: strong agency and vigorous imagination in the face of radical uncertainty

embracing uncertainty

The soulitarian is above all a connoisseur of ‘human occasions’, from festival to tourist trail, from anti-corporate carnival to urban hangout. What can any employer give these soulful players that their own values and experiences haven’t already validated? The soulitarians happily flit between start up and corporation, self-employment and job sharing, being paid in cash and being paid in kind. If and when they work, they work for the good of their soul. Whatever they’re making, and for whom, the production of character comes first for all soulitarians. For them, play is naturally what you do with your world: there’s no angst or self-loathing about it.

So they’ve already got a weird, almost dot-communist sense of property rights, which subverts the work ethic at its core. How much do you have to labour for stuff, when the stuff often comes as a gift anyway? How much do you have to grab for yourself, when sharing what you already have (the basis of open source software and file sharing) generates so much more?

the pioneer of virtual reality Jaron Lanier once said that information was alienated experience.

besides resonating with the idea.. reading this sentence made me wonder to what extend Jaron is perhaps the/a visible pioneer of virtual reality (or whatever fill in the blank). how many 10’s 1000’s millions think/do/be these things but we just don’t see/hear about them. so what if we create a mechanism that tunnels us better to each other – for likenesses and for differences.

‘There are so many young people, both in Northern Ireland and Japan, who are rejecting the work ethic, but there’s no structure or group or authority telling them they can do what they want to do,that it should in fact be lauded. They just become passive people, essentially.


The soulitarian is above all a connoisseur of ‘human occasions’, from festival to tourist trail, from anti-corporate carnival to urban hangout. What can any employer give these soulful players that their own values and experiences haven’t already validated? The soulitarians happily flit between start up and corporation, self-employment and job sharing, being paid in cash and being paid in kind. If and when they work, they work for the good of their soul. Whatever they’re making, and for whom, the production of character comes first for all soulitarians. For them, play is naturally what you do with your world: there’s no angst or self-loathing about it

So they’ve already got a weird, almost dot-communist sense of property rights, which subverts the work ethic at its core. How much do you have to labour for stuff, when the stuff often comes as a gift anyway? How much do you have to grab for yourself, when sharing what you already have (the basis of open source software and file sharing) generates so much more?14

very early on, Ed and I both realized that digital culture was rock ’n’ roll for very patient, meticulous people

Ed was undoubtedly soulitarian in his impulses – allowing ICT to express his interiority, rather than regulate and shape it; making the projects serve his sensibility, rather than the other way around

the Greek roots of the word scholar – shkole, meaning ‘the ability to organize your own time, and not learn like a slave’

it’s the soulful, playful, scholarly ‘idleness’ of hackers that has partly helped to swell Brown’s pre-election coffers. All those world-changing, freely gifted innovations produced – HTTP, TCP/IP, Perl, Apache, Sendmail and Linux – have provided the very backbone for the network economy. Rather than coercing the poor into their brain-destroying McJobs, perhaps the chancellor should be thinking about how to make them all ethical hackers

it’s possible that some unemployable, disaffected kid, glommed onto a PC for days, nights and months on end, supported by free education and decent social support, could come up with the next geek miracle for Britain.

Jake Davis ness

Untangled, that means if you work for a wage – if you do what they tell you do to for money (or even if you like what you do, but you have to do it anyway) – you are a proletarian

The soulitarian has a clear notion about – indeed an ethical and spiritual commitment towards – a more satisfying, meaning-driven life within the new economy

what is the point of investing in the full development of your child if the world that he or she steps into immediately denies or represses most of the capacities that you have so assiduously cultivated? What happens when your flexible, empathetic, inventive, bold and optimistic child – your child as full player – meets the petty reductions, controlling specialisms and arbitrary hierarchies of the working world?

The rise in quality children’s fiction – like Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and scores of others – reinforces the idea that adults’ embrace of child culture is more than just a retreat from the demands and pragmatisms of the grown-up world, but a kind of embracing of the roots (and routes) of human wisdom and understanding.23

Adults curtail the climbing of trees, metaphorical or actual, ‘because they have forgotten how to climb trees [themselves]’: As a result, when they interpret how children develop their growing sense of self, they tend to focus on the rational, tangible aspects of becoming a person, such as gradually earning and inheriting the various aspects of status: the permission to do various things, the ability to earn money, the presence of one’s own place and space, etc. In the institutions of society, children’s autonomy is most likely to be encouraged when it is conducted on pseudo-adult terms – for example, in school councils, peer research schemes or youth parliaments . . . We need to create time and space – physical, emotional, virtual, psychological – where children can be children in the ways they want to be.37 Replace ‘children’ with ‘adults’ in the last sentence, and the play-ethical critique is made: don’t adults deserve that exquisite zone of autonomy too?

children lack one key social resource. To escape from their current constraints, they need a ‘commons’ of resources and trust throughout society: a sustained mutuality that will help us welcome ‘other people’s children’. Yet this is a lack that underlies much of adult life, too.

An alliance of adults and children around the necessity for more profoundly playful lives, from birth to death, is long overdue. The challenge is to find a political language that can articulate that alliance

A play ethic starts from the premise that we can arrange our productive and social relations to support everyone’s active passion: that a particular dispensation of technology, economic regulation and democratic structures can remove the need for most, if not all, alienated labours.71

location 3505 – talking ed, and finland, and oecd (organization for economic cooperation & developent?) for ed performance.. oh my. that’s not conducive to play. almost like all the talk of play being serious – just flew out the window. along with all the years where the kid forgets how to climb a tree… no?

Perhaps one of the greatest attributes of play is the opportunities it affords for learning to live with not knowing, for it is readily recognized that we all learn more effectively through trial and error, and play is a non-threatening way to cope with new learning and still retain self-esteem and self-image [her emphasis].5 ‘Learning to live with not knowing’, in a complex, unpredictable twenty-first-century world, begins to seem like a master skill.

In Deschooling Society (1970), Ivan Illich advocated that schools dissolve themselves, and that the educative moment should disperse itself into a ‘learning web’. This would be a network which took the entire urban space as its classroom – from bank to restaurant, from laboratory to hospital, from sports ground to market district. It would use computers, telephones and television to facilitate the creating of self-directed communities of interest, forged from teachers, pupils and the community.

city as school – cure ios cityliterally redefine

Yet the challenge for educators is that their pupils are living as if a culture ‘liberated from labour’ already existed, as evidenced by their technological, cultural and emotional choices.

earn a living ness, what if money were no object, microtopia, money ness

Are these young people ‘stealing’ their songs and movies – or are they taking the logic of interactive media more seriously than anyone, as a challenge to economic models based on scarcity and property?

ownershiphansaaron – et al

loc 3629 – talking how it can’t be all free play.. but maybe it can now. ie: as opposed to the: if  you’re teaching evolution do this, if you’re teaching holocaust do this. we can now actualize Illich’s vision.. by facilitating 7 billion daily trails of whimsy. aka: free play becomes very serious/deep/interconnected/energetically-ongoing.

loc 3720 – Gardner notes approvingly Plato’s line about the purpose of ed being to get children to want to know what they have to know. – no. not that.

Free play becomes more than a compensation for unfree tedium, but a necessary element in a complex environment.

as the day. sync matters. ground hog day of finding your people. via curiosity/detox.

A play ethic, with all due modesty, claims that its subjects should be truly ‘educated’ – that is, prepared for surprise, regarding everything as unfinished, aiming at ‘continuing self-discovery’

Whoever merely follows the script, merely repeating the past, is culturally impoverished.59

basics.. getting in ness … employability

Culture is the preferred medium for these players – that perpetual communication which plays with the boundaries.60

Illich’s notion of the ‘learning web’ was before its time in many ways: one of its prophecies was the vision of learning occurring throughout a city or urban area – at street corners or at office desks, in parks or in zoos, among crowds and in flows of transport. Of course (and this was Illich’s main point) this could happen right now. One might easily imagine a kind of urban regulation which could make an entire town or city a resource for learning, where doors would be open for those who wished to understand a particular process or specialism. Technology isn’t the only solution here: deinstitutionalized minds might be more helpful. Yet the rise of ubiquitous computing and wireless networks does seem to fuel the idea of the city as school to even greater heights.

What we have here, what we always have here, are two irreducible, yet intertwined elements: passion and technology.

At some point, they’ve heard some music, some particular organization of sound, which has popped open a kind of chasm inside them, a new space filling up with a surfeit of presence that itches the skin and pushes at the ribcage. Call that something ‘passion

The listener’s body is twitching at its extremities, or wriggling its trunk around a groove, or walking and talking a different way than before – and it needs to start holding onto something, explore and test something, that can amplify and materialize this passion. Call that something ‘technology

Between passion and technology, there is a continuum of what we can call ‘skill’ or ‘technique’. But there’s no point in being purist about this. You learn what you need to learn, to say what you need to say

Pat writes about the diversity of back up bands… as they interpret a multitude of diverse artists.. then he adds:

the archive is theirs, ours, everybody’s. there are no police in the room to stop us from playing something

then after using his iphone ish on stage for the first time – in order to remember the words to a song.. he writes:

so tonight, i feel something i never felt before: i’m mixing my head-tech and my heart-tech; the tech i do my business with and the tech i express my inexpressible with. that’s new: never did that before. am i falser now, or realer? i’m unsure. but that’s good.

right after quoting plato like this.. plato’s apportioned roles for artists was that of propagandist: their job was to ‘lead people unawares from childhood to love of the beauty of reason’. … he writes:

James Carse argues against this and proposes a different role for the artist, in a life of play and possibility: ‘True poets lead no one unawares. It is nothing other than awareness that poets – that is, creators of all sorts – seek. They do not display their art so as to make it appear real: they display the real in a way that reveals it to be art . . . [True poets] make war impossible because they have the irresistible ability to show the guardians that what seems necessary is only possible.’4

From the turn of the century, when artists like Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky and Klee aspired to draw like children – because children ‘draw what they imagine, not what they see’5

see with your heart ness

For the player, the arts are an energizing paradox, a complex experience. They nourish both the roots of our soul and our routes to other souls, without presuming that both pathways are similar or coincident.14

networked individualism ness – oh the dance

two of the great anti-capitalists seemed to be able to predict the cultural contours of actually existing twenty-first-century capitalism (much better than they predicted the fate of socialism or communism) tells us a few interesting things. One is about the real power of the arts – that is, its potential to release us from the policed compound of ‘recreation’ and ‘leisure’.

was talking Trotsky and Marx (i believe)

when he describes art as ‘the most perfect method of the progressive building of life in every field’, the revolutionary stands up for the play ethic, not the work ethic. Trotsky’s instincts for the player’s condition rather than the worker’s are evident – an energetic readiness for risk and opportunity, rather than an accommodation with routine.

It is precisely the question of how we ‘liberate the passions’ of twenty-first-century humans that I’ve been worrying away at in this book. We need the chaos, the surprise, the dystopianism and utopianism of art more than ever, to propel us towards a play-dominant rather than work-dominant world.

ah. indeed. set 7 billion free to follow their whimsy.. with tech to ground the inevitable/desired chaos. help us to find the/our right channel. that day/moment.

How should one legislate to lose control?

If we want to heal our world system, we need to understand the irrationalities that cause its wounds.

deep enough ness – a qr film

the need for a genuine ‘dance of civilizations’, a polylogue of enriching differences conducted in peace.57

i’m dreaming of a dance. oh. improv\e.

play as a source of human energy; as a perpetual engagement with the world; as a mentality capable of living with uncertainty and risk; as an attractive form of collective identity; as an imaginative, symbolic freedom; as a spirit of honesty and integrity; as a saving sense of humour and subversion

and we’re missing it

When you get a taste of genuinely unalienated labour then even the slightest alienation comes to seem like a temporary stay in the prison house.

whoa. exactly. partial is no ness. and also why we can’t yet see.. we won’t let go.

loc 4851 – ah shoot. neville – stung by the raised eyebrow – the non-sync ness that we need. ie: play is sweeter when there’s a bit of work applied. – whoa. he even said – what get’s measure get’s done.

Vacant office space was at its highest rate for a decade in the Bay Area.14 IBM had just been fined for defacing the city with their software logos in a guerrilla marketing campaign; the signs marking out offices and residences ‘for rent’ seemed even more disfiguring in the city that drove the boom years of the new economy from 1995 onwards.15

Global Business Network.

sounds so similar to pbl, et al, in Ed.. ie:

encourage a new ethic of play – one more mature and less unthinkingly hedonistic?

Scenario planning was explicitly about seeing the company as a ‘player’ within ‘games’ (in the marketplace, politics, culture and technology)

A disquiet was growing in my mind about the easy acceptance of a certain version of the ‘play ethic’ in the new economy. It could be captured in a simple question:

who gets to play what kind of game?


their commitment to keep each ‘c’ of play – communication, creativity, collaboration – corralled within the definition of ‘work’ (i.e. labour directed towards ends which do not fully embody the labourer’s will)

How genuinely liberating can ‘a liberating culture at work’ be?

how the very vocabulary of ‘work’ can create a blind spot about ‘human potential’, even amongst the best and most energetic of us

a dam erected by a corporation to generate power from flows of play it could never really understand

our continuing self-definition as ‘workers’, and our lingering attachment to the dignities of the work ethic, have severely clouded our vision.

We need the space to play; we need the time to play; and we need materials to play with. And of course, we need other people around us, ready and willing to play too

in the city. as the day. ness.

Work becomes the point at which society asks that our potential for action and intention become temporarily limited and exploited, for collective benefit. But an infinite player always looks for a way to continue the game, rather than seek a victory

When will we genuinely reap the benefits of our ever-rising techno-economic productivity? How far can we keep devising ever more efficient and ingenious ways to extract meaning and energy from our natural resources – whether they be mental or material, cultural or physical – without seriously considering the radical option? Which is: a guaranteed income, or social wage, well above the poverty line.

bucky ness

ulrich beck – brave new world of work:

beck –  ‘civil labour” – a state-approved exit from the market.. space is opened here for democratic society , as citizens give their own chosen form to themselves.  […] by no means be confused with the pressure being put everywhere on benefit claimants to undertake work in the community.. civil labour is also a kind of ‘organized, creative disobedience’ and social ‘experimentation’. [..] civic money (beck’s terms for the citizens’ income)..

Kane wrote of André Gorzreclaiming work

3 main justifications for a social age:

1. imagination, intelligence and emotional commitment are becoming the very ‘means of production’, it is very difficult to say when people are ‘at work’ or not ‘at work’.

2. a guaranteed sufficient income grants people their full voluntary freedom to make their own kind of ‘exit’ from market society, rather than being redirected into ‘thrid-sector’jobs that ony pay support for ‘socially useful’activies. Gorz says that what we should be recognizing is the value in ‘activieis which derive from being done fo rtheir own sake’

3. what the combination of free time and social income does is to ‘enable individuals to develop capacities (of invention, creation, coneption and intellection) which give them a virtually unlimited productivity’.

luxury ness via neil and neil

 Gorz’s three justifications provoke a vision of experimental, multi-disciplinary, unalienated ‘work’, engaging a multiplicity of intelligences and skills.58 They are so close to this book’s understanding of play that the difference seems almost neglible.59

ha. fitting – and reaffirming perhaps.. that i made Gorz’ page before reading the above sentences. nice.

We will live in a players’ republic when the overarching political structures encourage a culture of creative democracy – that is, a presumption that the will of human groups can be manifested in more ways than the model of one person, one vote, in periodic referenda.66

voting ness

My desire in October 2000 for ‘huge and visionary reinvestment in the public sector’ is partly being answered – except it means more police on the streets, larger prisons and asylum apparatus and greater state surveillance of the info-commons.82 Is there any possibility that the leadership of the developed countries can govern in the direction of hope and play, rather than fear and control?83 Tom Bentley, who is well acquainted with the possibilities of state government in his role as director of Demos, is gloomy: The irony, and perhaps the greatest obstacle [to reform], lies in recognizing that to achieve such a revolution our current generation of leaders need to make themselves redundant; that the techniques of control and command which they have used to take and retain power must give way to a more distributed, pluralistic and self-sustaining governing logic

I was finalizing these thoughts in early September 2001. Then, to paraphrase the first lines of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, a screaming came across the sky. And in the aftermath of 9/11, the relationships between work, play and spirituality have become almost unbearably pertinent.

Spirit is that which animates the inanimate, defies the determinate, flickers between order and chaos. In short, as playful as it gets.1

It would be a vast historical irony if the anti-ludic motto of the 9/11 attackers – the time for play is over, the serious time is upon us – became one of the few things that these supposedly ‘clashing civilizations’ could agree on.16 How could a humane and broad play ethic defend, let alone extend itself, in a developed north becoming more obsessed with homeland security than cosmopolitan democracy?

Terror obviously is not an answer,’ concludes Barber, ‘but the truly desperate may settle for terror as a response to our failure even to ask such questions

‘We should use the tools of our fathers . . . to stay awake while participating in a culture that puts us to sleep . . . The awake human being is intrinsically, naturally ethical.’ Rushkoff’s

spot on – already written on each heart ness – it’s not that it hasn’t always been – perhaps it’s just that we keep not being quiet enough to see it

Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.

what keeps us alive.. perpetual beta – no labels

Governments who believe that force, might and violence prepare the way for democracy, civility and peace need to be reminded, by the imaginative activism of their citizens, that their logic is deeply flawed. If the play ethic enabled in Westerners and northerners a greater self-consciousness about the multiple truths that might pertain in a truly globalized world; if it encouraged us to be aware of diversity not as an act of tolerance but as an imaginative empathy that puts you in the shoes of the other, respecting their games and the integrity of their rules – then it might be more than a shuffle of the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, however fascinating, innovative, even preferable these rearrangments might be in the short-term



sept 2014 on yes scotland:


find/follow Pat:

link twitter




oh my.

wikipedia small






– – – – –


july 2014


aug 2014:


june 2015: the radical animal

Can we reconnect our purposes and enterprises to healthy, developmental roots in play? Is this a redefinition of human nature that could have significant institutional and political consequences?




Final shout for my @scotnational on how cities drive progress, from Glasgow to Mexico City 

Imagination fires Mexico City as Lab reclaims forgotten spaces

..our urbanised planet is not proceeding according to the tidy plans of city bosses in stable regions and nations. I’m writing this from a hotel room Mexico City, whose city government invited me to speak this Thursday about play, creativity and city life.


what Laboratoria Para La Ciudadare trying to do – …. – is to generate different realities for its citizens, using small but powerful interventions in urban space.


We want to prove that imagination isn’t a luxury or a simple nice-to-have, but a requisite for a city that thrives,” they say.

Laboratory for the City’s website is

Original Tweet:



in the city.

as the day.

city ness


let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


oct 2016


A.I. will let human imagination & empathy flourish – if smart, wise wee nations can seize the opp. My @ScotNational…

It looks like a call-centre: the icon is a globe with a headset on, the slogan, “transforming passion into excellence”.


The anthropologist David Graeber would say this, and many other tele-services, fall into the category of “bullshit jobs”. Artificial intelligence is after this sector, and will almost certainly seize it.


So as well as the millions “delayered” from call centres, maybe add some hundreds of thousands more from marketing and advertising, as “programmatic” services remove humans from the selling loop.

unless.. ai ness helps us to disengage from – bullshit jobs and anything marketing ish.. why automate (and esp.. why automate and then call it intelligence..) things that are irrelevant to human being ness..


His discussant, Joi Ito of MIT Media Lab, also asks if we could also revalue other models of human busy-ness – like academia or the arts – “where people have a purpose that isn’t tied directly to money.”

Joi – links to talk

or at all to money..

These turn out to be the distinctively “human” things we should turn our attentions to, as artificial intelligence (and other automations) steadily liberate us from unnecessary routine, and point us towards what we’re naturally best at.

interpretive labor ness


Obama’s law teacher at Harvard, Roberto Unger, talking about automation in 2013, says the human mind is an “anti-machine … it has the capacity to combine everything with everything else. It enjoys the power to achieve insight, by transgressing its own presuppositions, by defying its own methods. What we might call imagination.”


A nation that put the human imagination front and centre – in order to harness and deploy these powerful artificial intelligences, advancing on us like a seawall – would be a small and shining glory.

no one should have to do work that can be done by a machine.. everything that we have learnd how to repeat we can express in a formula/rule/algo.. and everything that we can express in a rule we can embody in a physical contraption/machine.. the point of a machine is to for us what we have already learned how to repeat.. so that we can preserve our supreme resource.. time.. for that which we have not learned how to repeat..
To change people’s minds would take a bold, broad and far-reaching communication strategy.  It would need to reach deep into culture, utilise the popularising power of advertising and harness support from all corners.  It would be the kind of strategy that a political group or an art group would write up as a manifesto
ie: refugee camps – anywhere.. but local.. perhaps nederland [3d printing meets hexayurt.. makes it circular…no..?..very eagle and condor ish] – w hexayurts and/or 3d printed and/or crate houses.. whatever..
UBI needs artists as much as artists need a basic income.  And we all need artists because artists create markets.  Artistic renaissance in a city creates demand across the whole economy.
disagree with first two sentences.. 3rd is true.. but we’re not unleashing the imagination enough of what economy ness could be.. ie: no money.. money is made up
If you want to change the way people think, you need to change the way they feel.  Universal Basic Income is for everyone.  It’s not a perk nor an attack, it’s an *opportunity to revolutionise how we live our everyday lives.  Everyone deserves it, everyone’s BI. 
We have nothing to lose but the insecurity that keeps us docile.  We are a popular front of the powerful and our most powerful weapon is art.
In The Patterning Instinct, Jeremy Lent defines agriculture as the beginning of human “anxiety” itself. As cultivating farmers, we don’t just rely on natural bounty any more, but generate surpluses of food and other materials. This we hoard for the future, and regard as a resource which we must defend – which starts to generate hierarchy and status.
As we domesticated ourselves, our animals and our crops, we became hugely worried about what we have to do to keep this precarious new enterprise going
There are also over 34,000 homes in Scotland sitting literally unused.

Pat Kane (@theplayethic) tweeted at 6:16 AM – 26 Mar 2018 :

My new “Starting Monday” column – in which I consider the conditions of a freelancer, and how better policies (and Nordic self-development) could make it a less precarious, and more fulfilling way to live: (

As paraphrased by Bjorkman and Anderson, it couldn’t sound a more beautiful way to be:

Bildung is the way that the individual matures and takes upon him- or herself ever bigger personal responsibility towards family, friends, fellow citizens, society, humanity, our globe, and the global heritage of our species, while enjoying ever bigger personal, moral and existential freedoms.

It is the enculturation and life-long learning that forces us to grow and change, it is existential and emotional depth, it is life-long interaction and struggles with new knowledge, culture, art, science, new perspectives, new people, and new truths, and it is being an active citizen in adulthood. Bildung is a constant process that never ends.

bildung sounds to me like the ultimate training programme for the resilient and dynamic freelancer of the 21st century.

no train.. because.. rowson mechanical law

What network, organisation (or even union) could offer to develop the freelancer’s bildung?

Who’s making them? If not, shall we?

no one that i can see.. is doing this so that it’s for 100% of us.. which i believe is the missing piece.. ie: the dance won’t work unless we’re all doing it.. in sync

which begs.. we craft a mech to facil the chaos of 7bn people leaping to a nother way to live..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way

per Pat’s suggestion.. read indy deeply.. and also trying to make a politics of all this

The Alternative UK is a political platform based in the United Kingdom. Through curation, editorial, public events, commissioning and research, we aim to transform the language and practice of politics on these islands. Inspired by and associated with Alternativet in Denmark, we are trying to bring about “a friendly revolution”.

We face broader forces and trends which are (intentionally) coarsening citizens’ responses to each other, and to the complexities of living on this planet. We want to seed and and cultivate a way of being citizens, which taps into our creativity, our fellow-feeling and the power of the networks at our fingertips.

.. including Pat, Indy, Jonathan, ..

______________via michel fb share:

interesting presentation on the state of community development by Pat Kane.. Trusted To Develop Us? How Community Development Trusts Can Respond To – and Thrive In – Our Current Crises


links to 30 slide deck

slide 13: Raymond Williams: ‘to be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing’..t

slide 17: too many unwanted, unloved, undermanaged buildings.. but are they a new ‘commons’ in waiting?

slide 20: there are many ‘new econ’ experiment, needing ‘communities of trust’ to work

and none are/have-been working because we can’t seem to let go enough to get to the unconditional ness of trust

ie: slide 24

slide 24: how to make a citizens action network.. establish a policy

policy ness as red flag we’re heading to tragedy of the non common

common\ing et al can’t happen w/o unconditionalality (aka: trust)


which you/world can’t hear/see because of our hierarchical listening

slide 25: commons no state/market.. it’s shared resource.. actively managed by communities resting on rituals of trust/tradition.. pics of elinor and david

thinking we have to manage is red flag for tragedy of the non common (ostrom and bollier included)

part\ killing us..

for (blank)’s sake.. there’s a nother way

slide 28: who can demo to legislators, practically and powerfully, why communities should develop their own assets..

ie: next experiment (short) to model a nother way.. but one that would make legislators et al irrelevant

slide 28: who can we trust to develop us..t

has to be all of us or it won’t work

we do have means to undo our hierarchical listening

ie: 2 convers as infra (hope possible)


pat and indra on waking up