Games, Fun, Frivolity, Playfulness, Creativity, Pretending   

Quotations, Sayings, Aphorisms, Clichés, Quips, Quotes, Wisdom, Poetry

Compiled by Michael P. Garofalo

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"This is the real secret of life - to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now.  And instead of calling it work, realize it is play."
-   Alan Watts, Work as Play


"A girl is Innocence playing in the mud,
Beauty standing on its head,
and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot."
-   Alan Beck


"To get a great idea, come up with lots of them."
-   Thomas Edison 


"In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time's continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world's ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold."
- Diane Ackerman in Deep Play
  Deep Play  By Diane Ackerman.  New York, Random House, 1999.  Index, 235 pages.  ISBN: 0679448799.  VSCL. 


"Man, Nietzsche contended, is a being that has leapt beyond the "bestial bounds of the mating season" and seeks pleasure not just at fixed intervals but perpetually.  Since, however, there are fewer sources of pleasure than his perpetual desire for pleasure demands, nature has forced man on the "path of pleasure contrivance."  Man, the creature of consciousness whose horizons extend to the past and the future, rarely attains complete fulfillment within the present, and for this reason experiences something most likely unknown to any animal, namely boredom.  This strange creature seeks a stimulus to release him from boredom.  If no such stimulus is readily available, it simply needs to be created.  Man becomes the animal that plays.  Play is an invention that engages the emotions; it is the art of stimulating the emotions.  Music is a prime example.  Thus, the anthropological and physiological formula for the secret of art: "The flight from boredom is the mother of all art." "
-  Rudiger Safranski, Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography, p. 23


"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play."
-   Nita Leland


"It is only in playing that the individual is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being
creative that the individual discovers the self."
-   Donald Winnicott


"In our play we reveal what kind of people we are."
-   Ovid 


"There is no correlation between creativity and equipment ownership. None. Zilch. Nada."
-   Hugh MacLeod 


"If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play."
-   John Cleese 



"A child who does not play is not a child, but the man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him."
-   Pablo Neruda



"The true object of all human life is play."
-   G. K. Chesterton



"If you aren't playing well, the game isn't as much fun.  When that happens I tell myself just to go out and play as I did when I was a kid."
-  Thomas J. Watson, Sr. 



"When we come together to play and be we are truly ourselves.  When we are truly ourselves it is wonderful and when we act collectively in that wonder we do transformative work for our community and our world.”
-   Brad Colby



"Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest."
-  Douglas Jerrold (1803-1857), A Land of Plenty



“Play is the exultation of the possible.”
-   Martin Buber 



"Children need the freedom and time to play.  Play is not a luxury.  Play is a necessity."
-   Kay Redfield Jamison



"Be aware of wonder.  Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some."
-   Robert Fulghum,  All I Need to Know



"The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail."
-   Edwin H. Land



"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."
-   Arnold Toynbee



"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working."
-   Pablo Picasso 



"If life doesn't offer a game worth playing, then invent a new one."
-  Anthony J. DeAngelo



"The very existence of youth is due in part to the necessity for play; the animal does not play because he is young, he has a period of youth because he must play."
-   Karl Groos 



"Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father."
-   Roger van Oech



"Play is the taproot from which original art springs.  It is the raw stuff that the artist channels with all his learning and technique."
-   Stephen Nachmanovich



"We may play with and pass on a garden, possessing one is an illusion.
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn.
Some gardeners don't grow old and stop playing; they stop playing and grow old.
Nature's playfulness is a gardener's delight.
A garden is a sporting field, an area for play."
-   Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions



"In Hindu philosophy the whole creation is regarded as the Vishnu Lila, the play of Vishnu.  Lila means dance or play.  Also in Hindu philosophy, they call the world illusion; and in Latin the root of the word illusion is ludere, to play.
-   Alan Watts, Work as Play



"Now in myth and ritual the great instinctive forces of civilized life have their origin: law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science.  All are rooted in the primeval soil of play."
-   Johan Huizing



"To play is to listen to the imperative inner force that wants to take form and be acted out without reason. It is the joyful, spontaneous expression of one's self. The inner force materializes the feeling and perception without planning or effort. That is what play is."
-  Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley in Life, Paint and Passion



“Acting is nothing more or less than playing.  The idea is to humanize life.”
-  George Eliot  



"The opposite of play is not work.  It’s depression."
-   Brian Sutton-Smith



"Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity."
-   Bo Bennett



"Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it."
-   Dee Hock



"Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well."
-   Josh Billings 



"The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct."
-   Carl Jung



"When I grow up I want to be a little boy."
-   Joseph Heller 



"Children at play are not playing about.  Their games should be seen as their most serious minded activity."
-   Michel de Montaigne



"People tend to forget that play is serious."
-   David Hockney



"The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work."
-   Richard Bach 



"Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act, but with a special function of its own in human experience.”
-   Johan Huizinga



"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning."
-   Fred Rogers 



"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look at the stars."
-   Henry Jackson Vandyke, Jr.



"Play is the taproot from which original art springs.  It is the raw stuff that the artist channels with all his learning and technique."
-   Stephen Nachmanovich



"Creativity is thinking up new things.  Innovation is doing new things."
-   Theodore Levitt 



"All the genuine, deep delight of life is in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic consideration."
-   A. M. Thornburn



"Humor is the affectionate communication of insight."
-   Leo Rosten



"At books, or work, or healthy play,
Let all my years be passed;
That I may give for every day
A good account at last."
-   Isaac Watts (1674-1748), Divine Songs for Children



"Perspiration is the best form of differentiation, especially in the creative world."
-   Scott Belsky 



"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning."
-   Diane Ackerman



"Don't stint on foreplay -- or afterplay.  Be inventive!"
-   Dr. Ruth Westheimer



"The comic spirit masquerades in all things we say and do. We are each a clown and do not need to put on a white face."
-  James Hillman



"All the genuine, deep delight of life is in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic consideration."
-   A. M. Thornburn



“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
-   George Bernard Shaw



"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."
-   Plato



"Whoever wants to understand much must play much."
-   Gottfried Benn



"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
-   Nelson Mandela 



"It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.”
-   Leo Buscaglia 



"To the art of working well a civilized race would add the art of playing well."
-   George Santayana 



"A great man is he who has not lost the heart of a child."
-  Mencius 



"Laughter is a holy thing.  It is as sacred as music and silence and solemnity, maybe more sacred.  Laughter is like a prayer, like a bridge over which creatures tiptoe to meet each other.  Laughter is like mercy; it heals.  When you can laugh at yourself, you are free."
-  Ted Loder



"True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found."
-   Eckhart Tolle 



"The true object of all human life is play.  Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground."
-  G. K. Chesterton  



"Play is training for the unexpected."
-   Marc Bekoff



"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson 



"God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
-   Voltaire 



"Play is hard to maintain as you get older.  You get less playful.  You shouldn’t, of course."
-   Richard Feynman



"Play exists for its own sake.  Play is for the moment; it is not hurried, even when the pace is fast and timing seems important. When we play, we also celebrate holy uselessness.  Like the calf frolicking in the meadow, we need no pretense or excuses.  Work is productive; play, in its disinterestedness and self-forgetting, can be fruitful."
-  Margaret Guenther in Toward Holy Ground



"Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor."
-   Stuart Brown 



"Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play."
-   Heraclitus 



"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."
-  Benjamin Franklin 



"The fastest way to succeed is to look as if you're playing by somebody else's rules, while quietly playing by your own."
-  Mike Konda



“Play has been man's most useful preoccupation.”
-   Frank Caplan 



"If animals play, this is because play is useful in the struggle for survival; because play practices and so perfects the skills needed in adult life”
-   Susanna Miller 



"The cat has nine lives: three for playing, three for straying, three for staying."
-  Proverb



"When we play, we sense no limitations.  In fact, when we are playing, we are usually unaware of ourselves.  Self-observation goes out the window.  We forget all those past lessons of life, forget our potential foolishness, forget ourselves.  We immerse ourselves in the act of play.  And we become free."
-  Lenore Terr in Beyond Love and Work



"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep."
-   Scott Adams



"The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion.  He hardly knows which is which.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he's always doing both."
-  James A. Michener



"Thus so wretched is man that he would weary even without any cause for weariness... and so frivolous is he that, though full of a thousand reasons for weariness, the least thing, such as playing billiards or hitting a ball, is sufficient enough to amuse him."
-   Blaise Pascal




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"When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing - just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?"
-  Ralph Marston 



"Creative play is like a spring that bubbles up from deep within a child."
-   Joan Almon



"It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe, do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu-lila, lila meaning "play."  And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt."
-  Alan Watts in Zen and the Beat Way



"A child loves his play, not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard."
-   Benjamin Spock



"Failure is built into creativity… the creative act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure."
-   Saul Bass



Life choices involve playing games: sometimes you throw the dice, sometimes you play chess.



It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.



All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.



He that will cheat at play, will cheat you any way.



If you must play, decide on three things at the start: the rules of the game, the stakes, and the quitting time.  



Play is the beginning of knowledge. 



"Be patient also with life itself. those who love life are tolerant of its ups and downs, its reversals and leaps forward.  Those who love life enjoy playing it by ear, engaging life without a printed score, simply flowing with its melody.  By keeping our agendas flexible and minimizing our demands, life can be a melodic song.  Whenever circumstances interrupt the normal rhythm of life, those who cultivate patience and inner freedom are able to improvise with a life situation like jazz musicians, making up music as they go along.  The emphasis in playing it by ear is on playfulness.  Those who use that gift of the Holy Spirit make their way gracefully through life."
-  Edward Hays in The Great Escape Manual



"If you're going to play the game properly, you'd better know every rule.”
-   Barbara Jordan 



"Men reach their sexual peak at eighteen. Women reach theirs at thirty-five. Do you get the feeling that God is playing a practical joke?"
-   Rita Rudner



"We all need empty hours in our lives or we will have no time to create or dream."
-   Robert Coles



"If there were a prerequisite for the future successful digital creative, it would be the passion for discovery."
-   John Maeda 



"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play."
-   Henri Matisse 



"Almost all creativity involves purposeful play."
-   Abraham Maslow



"Surely all God’s people…like to play."
-   John Muir



"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing."
-  Charles Schaefer



"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."
-   Friedrich Nietzsche



"A genuine sense of humor is having a light touch: not beating reality into the ground but appreciating reality with a light touch.  The basis of Shambhala vision is rediscovering that perfect and real sense of humor, that light touch of appreciation."
-  Chopgyam Trungpa in The Essential Chogyam Trungpa edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian



“Life's like a play; it's not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters”
-   Seneca



Play: It is an an activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility.  The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion.  A feeling of exaltation and tension accompanies the action."
-  Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens



Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture  By Johan Huizinga.  Beacon Press, 1971.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-0807046814.  VSCL. 

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul  By Stuart Brown, M.D..  Avery Trade, 2010.  240 pages.  ISBN: 978-1583333785. 






"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way."
-   Edward de Bono  



"Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation."
-   Stuart Brown



"Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do.  Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."
-   Mark Twain



"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."
-  Henry Van Dyke 



“Play keeps us vital and alive.  It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.  Without it, life just doesn’t taste good”
-   Lucia Capocchione



"Children learn as they play.  Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn."
-   O. Fred Donaldson 



"So, in all these spheres—in painting, sculpture, drawing, music, singing, dancing, gymnastics, games, sports, writing, and speech—we can carry on to our heart’s content, all through our long lives, complex and specialized forms of exploration and experiment."
-  Desmond Morris 



"There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness."
-   Gelett Burges 



"Play keeps us fit physically and mentally."
-   Stuart Brown   



"It is better to play than do nothing."
-  Confucius 



"Ideas are the seeds, not the substance, of creativity."
-   Michael Schrage 



"Deep meaning lies often in childish play."
-   Johann Friedrich von Schiller



“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
-   Joseph C. Pearce



"I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
-   Isaac Newton  



"The playing adult steps sideward into another reality; the playing child advances forward to new stages of mastery."
-   Erik H. Erikson



"The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable."
-   Carl Jung 



"Culture arises and unfolds in and as play."
-   Johan Huizinga





Cloud Hands Blog


The Good Life Website

Compiled by Mike Garofalo

Last modified or updated on February 21, 2016. 

First posted online in September of 2013.   

Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California

Cloud Hands Blog