The Play of Man
Chapter 8: The Theory of Play
HAVING reviewed the extensive field of play and its systems, the task now remains of collecting the results and important conclusions thence resulting. To this end the conception of play must be viewed from different standpoints: on the one hand that of physiology, biology, and psychology, and on the other a more definitely aesthetic, sociological, and pedagogical view.
1. The Physiological Standpoint
In the attempt to find a " common-sense " explanation of play we are confronted by three distinct views, none of which science should neglect. The first says: When a man is "quite fit," and does not know just what to do with his strength, he begins to sing and shout, to dance and caper, to tease and scuffle. " Jugend muss austoben, der Hafer sticht ihn "; " He must sow his wild oats "; " Il n'a pas encore jeté sa gourme." All these sayings recognise the necessity for some discharge of such superabundant vigour. The second view is diametrically opposed to this one, regarding play as it does in the light of an opportunity afforded for the relaxation and recreation of exhausted powers. As the strings of a zither and the cord of a bow should not always be taut if the instrument is to retain its usefulness. so do men need the relaxation of play. The third view emphasizes the teleological significance of play.
Observation of men and animals forces us to recognise its great importance in the physical and mental development of the individual—that it is, in short, preparatory to the tasks of life. Every effort made to arouse and foster a feeling for play among
(362) our people is based on the conviction, pro patria est, dum ludere videmur.
The physiological theory of play is derived mainly from the first of these views—namely, that of surplus energy. Schiller was its first exponent in Germany, when he accounted for play by calling it an aimless expenditure of exuberant strength, which is its own excuse for action. But Herbert Spencer, in his Principles of Psychology, first attempted a scientific formulation of the theory. It is characteristic of nerve processes, he says, that the superfluous integration of ganglion cells should be accompanied by an inherited readiness to discharge. As a result of the advanced development of man and the higher animals they have, first, more force than is needed in the struggle for existence; and, second, are able to allow some of their powers longer periods of rest while others are being exercised, and thus results the aimless activity which we call play, and which is agreeable to the individual producing it.
A further question, which is not sufficiently provided for in Spencer's elucidation, depends on the physiology of this theory. Since we find that each species of higher animal has a kind of play peculiar to itself, we must try also to explain the origin of such varied forms of activity, all serving to relieve the tension of superfluous energy. Spencer does indeed attempt to make his theory of imitation cover all this, but a close examination proves it to be inadequate to the task. His idea is that imitation of one's own acts or of those of adults of the race determines the channels for overflowing energy. The former supposition might be tenable on the supposition that the child's first experimentation is not playful but intentional repetition, which is not the commonly accepted meaning of imitation. Spencer himself, however, seems to find imitation of models more general among children, since he expressly says that their play, as they nurse their dolls, give tea parties, etc., is a distinct dramatization of the acts of adults. This view, as I have tried to prove
(363) in my earlier work, can be applied with assurance to but one department of play, and consequently the origin of special forms must find some other explanation. Imitation, then, in its ordinary sense, can not be the universal criterion of play.
The question, therefore, as to the origin of special forms of play must be answered in some other way, and Spencer himself points it out when he says that the actions imitated in pray are exactly those which are important in the subsequent career of the animal, and when in pursuance of this idea he refers to the robbing and destroying instincts which play satisfies in a manner more or less ideal. Here we meet again with the thought which has, indeed, hardly ever been absent in this inquiry, and which I regard as a most fruitful one. Not imitation, but the life of impulse and instinct alone, can make special forms of play comprehensible to us. The surplus-energy theory assumes in the higher forms of life a series of inborn impulses for whose serious activity there is often for a long time no opportunity of discharge, with the result that a reserve of exuberant strength collects and presses imperatively for employment, thus calling forth an ideal satisfaction of the impulse, or play.
A wide range can not be denied to the theory thus set forth, especially when we consider youthful play with its ebullient vigour which has scarcely any other outlet. The movements of imprisoned animals, too, may be cited in its support, as well as the actions of men whose business does not give them enough physical exercise. Yet I think experience teaches us that superfluous energy, as Spencer conceives it, is no more a universal criterion of play than is imitation, since in many cases the inherited impulse toward prescribed reactions in certain brain tracts seems to be in itself a sufficient cause for play without the necessary accompaniment of superfluous energy. When a ball of cord is rolled toward a kitten, nothing more is needed to set her claws in motion than in the case of a full-grown cat that starts up at the sight of a mouse. And the same is true of a child whose imitative and fighting instincts are excited by whatever cause. When there is absolutely no external stimulus to supple-
(364) -ment the creature's inborn impulses, only long inactivity of stored-up energies would lead to play; but, as there are thousands of such stimuli always at work, the Schiller-Spencer superfluous energy seems not to be a necessary or universal condition of play. It is of course a favourable but not an indispensable one, and therefore I regard not this but the 'inborn impulse as the keystone of an adequate system .of play. It is true that we must assume in that case a flood tide in the affected tract as a result of the external stimulus, but this is quite a different thing from the view whose validity we are contesting. If, then, a condition of superfluous energy is a favourable though not indispensable one for play, we must endeavour to find its supplement, and this brings us to the second popular idea, which under the name of the theory of recreation has found its most scientific champion in Lazarus. Its fundamental principles are quite simple. When we are tired of mental or physical labour and still do not wish to sleep or rest, we gladly welcome the active recreation afforded by play. At first blush it seems to lead to a conclusion directly opposite to Spencer's, according to which play squanders superfluous energy, while here it appears as the conserver of it; there it is an irresponsible spendthrift, here the provident householder. Yet, as I have pointed out in my earlier book, this opposition is more apparent than real; that, indeed, the recreation theory is often supplementary to the Spencerian. "When, for example, a student goes to have a game of tenpins in the evening, he thus tones up his relaxed mental powers at the same time that he finds a means of relieving his accumulated motor impulses, repressed during his work at the desk. So it is the same act that on the one hand disposes of his superfluous energy, and on the other restores his lost powers." So far as this is the; case this theory is a valuable supplement to the Schiller-Spencer idea, but is, of course, incompetent to explain play which transcends its limits.
Close inspection, however, will show that even this statement has its limitations, and that the recreative theory has, after all, an independent sphere of activity. When, for instance, the conditions point to an active
(365) recreation, superfluous energy pressing for discharge seems no longer indispensable; a moderate normal energy is quite adequate for its demands. It is a striking fact that the new recreative activity is often closely related to the work of which we are weary. Fresh objects, varying the direction of our efforts, a slight change in the pychophysical attitude, are often sufficient to dispel the sense of fatigue. Thus, while it may be futile to direct the memory, worn out with prolonged service on some difficult subject, to other objects, yet turning it toward new circumstances connected with the same subject may restore it to its original vigour. Recreation may even be achieved by changing from one scientific book which wearies us to another, perhaps quite as abstruse, but dealing with different phases of the subject; and after an interval the first may be taken up again with renewed interest. Steinthal is right when he says that change of occupation, involving the use of the same limbs, rests them. The mountain-climber who has toiled up steeps, gains new strength, or at least loses his fatigue, by walking on a level. The acrobat who has tired his arms by difficult exercise on a bar tries pitching as a change, and presently returns to the first with comparative freshness. The swimmer who has been swimming for a long time in the usual position rests himself by taking a few strokes on his back, and so on.
We occasionally find, too, that the recreation theory is very useful in determining the status of a play to which the Spencerian theory is inapplicable. With the student playing skittles in the evening the two theories represent the negative and positive sides, of one and the same process; but if he feels inclined to participate in some game involving the use of his mental powers alone, the recreation idea is noticeably predominant. A principle is operative here which may go far to fill the gap to which we have referred. While the theory of surplus energy ac
(366) -counts for play in thousands of cases, especially in childhood, when there is no need for recreation, this need may also produce play where there is no surplus energy. This is chiefly illustrated by adults.
Although we are still a long way from a satisfactory explanation of play, a step toward rendering it intelligible is gained in the fact that play is often begun in the absence of superabundant energy. But we find on further examination that a game once begun is apt to be carried on to the utmost limit of exhaustion—a fact which it is superfluous to illustrate, and which is inexplicable by either of the theories in question. An appeal in this dilemma to the physiological standpoint reveals two possibilities. Let us recall first the tremendous significance of involuntary repetition to all animal life, for just as the simplest organisms in alternate expansion and contraction, and the higher ones in heart beats and breathing, are pervaded by waves of movement, so also in the sphere of voluntary activity there is a well-nigh irresistible tendency to repetition. Because of this tendency of reactions to renew the stimuli, Baldwin calls them "circular reactions." Perhaps the child first produces them quite accidentally, then he repeats his own act, and the sensuous effect of the repetition furnishes the stimulus for renewed effort. When prohibition breaks this chain it does not as a rule effect complete cessation at once.
In our busy life, occupied as it is with the struggle for existence, we see substantial aims before us which we wish to realize as soon as possible, and we have not time to yield to this impulse to repetition; but we realize its power when a man steps aside from his strenuous business life. Psychiatry, too, furnishes us with pathological examples; some forms of mental disease are marked by continual repetition of some exclamation or act. One woman murmured constantly all day long, " 0 Jesus, 0 Jesus! " while another patient ladled nothing indefatigably from an empty dish; and a third scratched himself so persistently in the same spot that serious wounds resulted. To the same category belong the automatic and persistent movements of hypnotic subjects. If the arm
(367) of one of them is forcibly stretched out, he shows a disposition to repeat the movement, and often keeps on doing it, as children do, for some time after a positive command to the contrary. Something similar to this occurs when a great grief or a great joy separates us for a time from our everyday life, and we mechanically repeat a single exclamation or trivial act. The intoxication of love among birds is a very clear and beautiful illustration of this phenomenon. Bell birds are said to repeat their wooing call so long and so ardently that they have been known to fall dead from exhaustion.
Play, too, furnishes a similar distraction from the commonplace world, and after this inquiry we are able to understand why it is persisted in to the point of exhaustion. Especially is this the case with children, who more readily and completely lose themselves in present enjoyment. Every one who has had much to do with these little people will recall with feelings of not unmixed pleasure how everlastingly the small tyrants insist on hearing the same story over and over, and playing the same games. Fighting and movement games are invariably begun again as soon as the children can get their breath, and some kinds of experimentation are even more faithfully repeated. "When a child strikes the combination required," says Baldwin, "be is never tired working it. H—— found endless delight in putting the rubber on a pencil and off again, each act being a new stimulus to the eye. This is specially noticeable in children's early efforts at speech. They react all wrong when they first attack a new word, but gradually get it moderately well, and then sound it over and over in endless monotony." 
This impulse toward repetition is doubtless the physiological reason for carrying on play to the utmost limit of strength. The second point to be noticed is the trance-like state resulting from such repetition of some move
(368) -ments, and sometimes with the added influence of rhythm. The child who leaps and hops about or runs with all his might, or scuffles with his companions, is seized with a wild impulse for destruction; the skater and bicyclist, the swimmer sporting in the waves, and, above all, the dancer, whose movements are adjusted in harmony with the rhythmic repetition of pleasant sounds, are all possessed by a kind of temporary madness which compels them to exert their powers to the utmost. It is not an easy matter to determine the physiological basis of this intoxication of movement. Violent muscular contraction is not an essential, for in such passive motion as coasting, for example, the effect is strong, amounting sometimes to a sort of giddiness. Active motion is, of course, of more interest to us, since, in conjunction with the state of trance, the principle of circular reaction is then operative. Dancing is a kind of play calculated to augment this condition to the verge of the pathological. Read, for example, the description of the arrow dance of the Weddas in Sarasin's work and compare it with St. John's picture of the dancing dervishes of Cairo. The harmless magic of play, however, is as different from such mad excesses as is the exhilarating effect of a glass of wine from the frenzy of drunkenness.
We may now sum up: There are two leading principles which must ground a physiological theory of play— namely, the discharge of surplus energy and recreation for exhausted powers. They may operate simultaneously, since acts supplying recreation to exhausted forces may at the same time call into play other powers and thus afford the needed discharge for them. In many cases, and especially in youth, the first principle seems to act alone, while on the other hand play may be solely recreative, without any dependence on a store of surplus, energy. Further, it is important to notice two other considerations which throw light on persistence in play to the point of exhaustion. The first is circular reaction, that
(369) self-imitation which in the resultant of one's own activities finds ever anew the model for successive acts and the stimulus to renewed repetition. The second is the trance condition, which so easily ensues from such activity, and which is practically irresistible.
The essential thing seems to be the demonstration of a theory of play entirely from a physiological standpoint, and not involving hereditary impulses. No more comprehensive explanation is known to me, and yet, in looking back over the ground covered, while it must be admitted that we have reached an advantageous point of view, still, on the other hand, the feeling naturally arises that these principles, loosely strung together as they are, do not include the whole subject. Think of the play of children too young to go to school, for in such spontaneous activity, not yet enriched by invention or tradition, we have the kernel of the whole question. For a series of years we find life virtually cantrolled by play. Before systematic education begins, the child's whole existence, except the time devoted to sleeping and eating, is occupied with play, which thus becomes the single, absorbing aim of his life. Can we then be content to apply to a phenomenon so striking as this a physiological principle confessedly inadequate to cover it, although admirably adapted for application to some features of it? Does not its peculiar and inherent nearness to the springs of life and life's realities demand a complete explanation grounded on a general principle which is applicable at once to youth and to the play which lasts all through life? To answer this question an appeal must be made to the third popular conception of play, for a biological investigation alone can reveal the sources of human impulse.
2. The Biological Standpoint
In considering play from the biological standpoint we find two tasks prepared for us: first, a genetic explanation of play, and second, the appraisal of its biological value. The theory of descent whose scientific formula bears Darwin's name will be most useful to us in both undertakings. There is a steady and constantly increasing current against his teaching, and the opposition has taken
(370) a witty form, if not one dictated by good taste, in the saying that it is high time that biology recovered from its " Englische Krankheit." I think that this exaggerated depreciation is grounded in the just opinion that Darwinism does not unlock all the secrets of evolution. Scientific theories which explain everything they should explain are comparatively rare, particularly in the sphere of organic life, and I regard it as more than probable that an x and a y still remain to be calculated after Darwin's principle of evolution has done its best. But whether we shall soon find a better working principle is another question. It may even now be ripe or it may yet linger for centuries; perhaps it may never come in terms of thought now known to us. For the present we have only the choice among metaphysics, Darwinism, and resignation. I, for one, then, regard the cavalier treatment of the Darwinian doctrine as a mistake, and still prefer to test special problems according to its light. Its two fundamental ideas are, first, evolution by means of the inheritance of acquired characters; and, second, evolution by means of survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. The essence of the first (Lamarckian) principle is denied by many Darwinians, but, assuming that its influence is as strong as its advocates claim, we should then be forced to hold that the activity of ancestors wrought in the child hereditary predispositions. These ancestors, having made use of their sensory and motor apparatus all through their lives in every possible way, must have fought out many battles, conducted the chase, and connected themselves with social groups. Accordingly, we find in their descendants the impulses to experimentation, to fighting, chasing, hiding, social, and other plays. Schneider believes that the boy's strong propensity for catching butterflies, beetles, flies, and other insects, as well as that for robbing birds' nests, is attributable to the fact that his savage ancestors obtained their food supply by such means; and Hudson says, in speaking of heredity in connection with certain bird dances, that if at first the habit had been found of expressing feelings of gladness by
(371) means of minuet steps, men as well as birds would be said to have an instinct for dancing the minuet.
It is just along these lines that we may hope to estimate the biological value of play, and subsequently develop it in relation to our own view. But the assumption of the heredity of acquired characters and its wide application introduce a new element. It is difficult to understand, for example, how a habit originates whose physiological basis is confined to the acquisition of specified traits in the nervous system, which in their, turn bring about changes in the germ substance of the organism, and appear in the offspring as hereditary paths for the tendency to repeat the same sorts of acts. If such a process is possible at all, it must be in the period of youth, when the organism still possesses great plasticity. Thus A. E. Ormann says, in an appendix to his German translation of Baldwin's Mental Development: " The last objection . [the neo-Darwinistic], that organic structures, such as bones, horns, teeth, etc., are fixed and unmodifiable, I am not prepared to admit. I do not believe that these structures change in adult animals just as I do not believe that bionomic influences can effect important accommodations in them. Yet change and accommodation in these very orders are quite possible in the case of young animals still in the developmental period, and I am convinced that the majority of effective accommodations do originate at this very time, and that the possibility of their appearing diminishes as maturity is approached." If this should prove to be the fact, play would then have the task of maintaining a countless mass of hereditary impressions important to the preservation of life, and also of supplying a means for individual adaptation of the example of adults which through imitation and direct transmission gradually become hereditary possessions of the race.
But interesting as this point of view is, we find grave reason for doubting its reconcilability with the facts that we have already ascertained. First, there is the questionableness of the inheritance of acquired char-
(372) -acters at all. Götter said long ago that common experience is all against it, and Galton, too, is very skeptical in regard to it, if he does not flatly deny the possibility. A. Weismann is, however, its chief opponent, and is therefore regarded as the leader of the neo-Darwinian school. How the inheritance of acquired characters can be entirely excluded from the struggle for existence is yet undemonstrated, but Spengel has recently pointed out a notable series of adaptations which are independent of it. Indeed, in regard to the instincts which chiefly claim our notice, such a competent critic of neo-Darwinism as Romanes  is forced to admit that some quite complicated ones have attained perfection without the aid of the Lamarckian principle. These facts warn us not to attach too much weight to it.
Under these circumstances we must attempt an independent basis for our biological theory of play, since, if the Lamarckian principle is ruled out, only natural selection remains of the scientific hypotheses. To this as well just and weighty objections have been raised, and I may mention that selection in the Darwinian sense does not account for the origin of structures which are at first useless, nor how it comes about that the right selection occurs in the right place. To meet these objections Baldwin has advanced his Organic Selection and Weismann his Germinal Selection. According to the former, the inheritance of acquired accommodations is unnecessary, their task being sufficiently accomplished if they keep the creature afloat in its natural environment until selection has time through favouring accidental variations tending in the same direction (coincident variations) to build up
hereditary adaptations. Osborn and Lloyd Morgan have reached a similar standpoint independently of Baldwin. Weismann, who in a surprising change of base abandons his former position on the all-sufficiency of Darwin's individual selection, extends the selective principle to the germ substance, which, in his view, does not consist of similar life-units, but possesses a sort of structure, the elements of which (the " determinants ") already represent the respective parts of the future individual.. Each " determinant " struggles for sustenance against its neighbours, so producing a sort of germinal selection, in that the stronger among them has its development furthered at the expense of the weaker, transmits the force so acquired to the offspring, furnishes them in the very beginning of their career with a favourable footing in the struggle for life, and insures further progress in the same direction. Here, then, is the possibility of a specially determined variation grounded in the very existence of the germ substance, and through the interaction of individual and germinal selection much is accomplished which the former could not alone achieve.
The future must finally judge between these rival efforts to improve the old theory. Baldwin's organic selection, which has now been accepted by Wallace Poulton and others, may possibly be applicable to all cases of adaptation, though it has not yet been so widely developed
(374) by its author. The chief value of Weismann's new hypothesis is perhaps its luminous portrayal of the interaction of individual selection with special developmental tendencies in the germ substance, but the explanation of these tendencies themselves by means of a struggle for sustenance seems to find little confirmation. Here is probably an x, or possibly several unknown values. Yet the important part which selection plays in this exceedingly complicated process should not be underestimated. Nägeli has likened selection to a gardener who cuts away the superfluous growth of a tree, which then by its own inner processes forms its crown. But when we consider, for example, the wonderful mimicry, for whose striking external resemblances "inner" developmental tendencies could hardly suffice (whether with metaphysical hypotheses of pre-established harmony or of unity of will or consciousness), the skill and power of this " gardener " appear to be sufficient.
In the attempt to form a biological estimate of play independently of the Lamarckian principle we must constantly bear in mind the value and origin of youthful play, and therefore we must begin with instinct in its more limited sense. We find in all creatures a number of innate capacities which are essential for the preservation of species. In many animals these capacities appear as finely developed reflexes and instincts, needing but little if any practice for the fulfilment of their function. With the higher animals, and above all with man, it is essentially otherwise. Although the number of his hereditary instincts is considerable—perhaps larger than with any other creature—yet he comes into the world an absolutely helpless and undeveloped being which must grow in every other sense, as well as physiologically, in order to be an individual of independent capabilities. The period of youth renders such growth possible. If it is asked why an arrangement apparently so awkward has arisen, we may reply that instinctive apparatus being inadequate for his life tasks, a period of parental protection is necessary to enable him to acquire imitatively and experimentally the capacities adapted to his individual needs. The more complicated the life tasks, the more necessary are these preparations; the longer this natural
(375) education continues, the more vivid do the inherited capacities become. Play is the agency employed to develop crude powers and prepare them for life's uses, and from our biological standpoint we can say: From the moment when the intellectual development of a species becomes more useful in the " struggle for life " than the most perfect instinct, will natural selection favour those individuals in whom the less elaborated faculties have more chance of being worked out by practice under the protection of parents—that is to say, those individuals that play. Play depends, then, first of all on the elaboration of immature capacities to full equality with perfected instinct, and secondly on the evolution of hereditary qualities to a degree far transcending this, to a state of adaptability and versatility surpassing the most perfect instinct.
Our attention so far has been given mainly to special instincts, and their effects are extraordinarily widespread in both human and animal play. We have dwelt upon instinct as it is manifested in fighting, love, and social plays, and in experimentation with the motor apparatus we are pre-eminently on instinctive ground. In sensory experimentation, however, the practice of inborn reflexes (they are gradually differentiated from instincts) is in the background. Ribot, however, designates both these processes as instinctive. Even in experimentation with the higher mental powers, practice in fixing the attention, which is an indispensable prerequisite of all experimentation, and indeed of all play, may be regarded as a motor reaction allied to instinct. On the other hand, as I have pointed out in the preface, the narrower conception of instinct is not suited to our purpose, and we therefore took the more comprehensive idea of hereditary impulse as the ground of our classsification. We found the imitative impulse especially important here, and its far-reaching biological significance was dwelt upon in the beginning of the section on imitative play, and need merely be recapitulated.
The imitative impulse is an inborn faculty resembling
(376) instinct whose first effect is to supplement instinct by means of individual acquirements; secondly, it preserves those race heritages which survive only through tradition. The first of these functions falls in the biological domain, while the second belongs to social play. The former may be advantageously observed in the world of birds, which learn the characteristic song of their kind by the help of playful experimentation to a great degree, but never get it so perfectly as when they hear the song of older birds as a model. Children, too, exemplify it clearly in the transition from their lall-monologue to speech; in their tussling, where many of the movements are instinctive, but are materially assisted by imitation of older boys; in the nursing of dolls by little girls, who would probably not make any use of the instinct during childhood but for imitation; and in many other cases. Imitation is clearly playful in such instances, so far as it is both unconscious and unpractical.
From the biological standpoint, too, imitative play is an important agent in supplementing instincts, usually tending to render them more plastic, and thus further the opening of new paths for the development of intelligence. Therefore I believe that a general theory of play should keep this thought in the foreground; though under some conditions contrary effects ensue, since, under Baldwin's principle, imitation gives selection the opportunity to strengthen the hereditary foundations of the activity imitated. It seems to me that in imitative play of avowedly social character the impulse probably aids selection in its gradual upbuilding by means of the furtherance of coincident variations. I touch again upon this point (pp. 395 f.), and will only say here that the two views are not necessarily contradictory, since, while a weakening may take place in the details of the activity, there may be a strengthening of the accompanying feelings —these two elements being very different.
Besides imitation, many other natural impulses come into play, as we discovered in studying experimentation and the higher mental capacities. That the practice
(377) theory, too, is applicable we can plainly see. Practice in recognition, in storing up the material collected by memory, in the use of imagination, reason, and the will, together with the ability to surmount feelings of pain, are all of the greatest, indeed of incalculable, value in the struggle for life. There is some difficulty in meeting the question of the relationship of experimental impulse in the higher psychic life, since, as I pointed out in the introduction to the first chapter, it is still a mooted question whether the assumption should be made of one general impulse to action which, according to circumstances, is directed now to this and now to that psychic discharge; or whether, by reviving the faculty theory, to speak of many central impulses, grounded in our psychophysical nature and pressing for expression as instincts do.
For my part, I incline to the opinion that such central impulses actually exist, though they are probably but vaguely defined. Long ago the attempt was made,.especially by Reimarus and Tetens, to include the idea of impulse among the higher mental processes, and the future may yet see this effort renewed. However that may be, there is unquestionably one such impulse which in its motor expression directly suggests instinct, and which in my opinion is directly derived from it—namely, attention. But attention is an essential factor in all experimental play, and indeed in all play, of whatever character, and can therefore, in conjunction with the causal needs which so much resemble instincts, bring about results which would appear to require especial incentive to activity.
Raising this question brings me to another point which I have touched upon in my earlier work. While Schiller speaks of a single-minded play impulse, my own view is that there is no general impulse to play, but various instincts are called upon when there is no occasion for their serious exercise, merely for purposes of practice, and more especially preparatory practice, and these instincts thus become special plays. It seems to me unnecessary to suppose a particular play instinct in addi-
(378) -tion to all the others, and the fact that selection favours a long period of youth bears this out. When that is assured, and special physiological provision is made to secure it, then the merely ordinary instincts and impulses are quite sufficient to account for the phenomena of play. Still, if the demand is made for the same sort of impulses for all play, I point to attention and causality as expounded by Sikorski, and familiar to us in the joy in being a cause. The actual act of attention is, as before said, very close to instinct, and so-called voluntary attention is not widely different, since we find connected with many instincts phenomena which are influenced by the intelligence and will. Attention, too, is an impulse in that it urges to activity so long as it is not hampered by fatigue. When we complain of being bored, it is not because we have no experiences, but because the experiences are not sufficiently interesting to occupy our attention, and, since it is an active principle in all play, we naturally think of it in connection with the impulse to any sort of activity. Following attention we have pleasure in the production of effects appearing as another element in the general impulse to activity and exhibited more or less clearly in all plays that are connected with external movement. Nor is it wanting either in those which are ostensibly merely receptive, as we shall see. As the categorical standing of causality depends in all likelihood on hereditary capability, and as it first becomes prominent in a motor form—namely, in the active production of effects— we have here a further means of giving to the conception of a general play impulse a concrete form.
In conclusion, adult play must be considered from a biological standpoint. That the grown man continues to play long after he has outgrown the childish stimuli to play has been sufficiently shown in the foregoing chapters. Much of hit play, and especially the sensorimotor experimental kind, is of but slight biological significance, though the practice theory is often applicable even in later life to movement and fighting play, and still more so to social play, since the latter serves not merely as ontogenous practice, but is indispensable as well to phylogenetic development of the social capacities. Artistic
(379) enjoyment, too—that highest and most valuable form of adult play—is, as Konrad Lange has demonstrated, extremely influential biologically and socially. " Man's serious activity," he says, "has always a more or less one-sided character. His life consists, as Schiller has shown in his letters on aesthetic education, in a progressive alternation between work and sensuous pleasure. Indeed, in the various occupations of mankind, as a rule, but a limited number of the mental powers are employed, and these not fully so. Innumerable springs of feeling are hidden in the human breast untested and untried. It is plain that this would have a most disastrous effect on the whole race did not art supply the deficiency of stimulus. . . . Art is the capacity possessed by men of furnishing themselves and others with pleasure based on conscious self-illusion which, by widening and deepening human perception and emotion, tends to preserve and improve the race."  Schiller's famous saying, that a man is fully human only when he plays, thus acquires a definite biological meaning.
One word more: If the Lamarckian principle be adopted, the play of adults has a still more specialized significance, since, as it would be essential to a well-rounded culture, its office as preserver of hereditary race capacities  is obvious, especially as these require a gentle fostering, not to hamper individual adaptation, and yet preserve the fundamental aim of all adaptation. Since, however, caution forbids our using the Lamarckian principle, I content myself with the mere mention of this possible effect of it.
3. The Psychological Standpoint
Here in the first place we are called upon to apply a psychological criterion to playful activity. Wundt, in his lectures on the human and animnl soul, suggests three such criteria : first, the pleasurable effect; second, the conscious or unconscious copying of useful activities; and third, the reproduction of the original aim in a play-
(380) -ful one. As I have said before, I do not regard the second of these—namely, imitation—as universally a mark of play. Wundt says that an animal can play only when certain memories which are accompanied by pleasurable feeling are renewed, yet under aspects so transformed that all painful effects vanish and only agreeable ones remain; the simple and spontaneous play of animals being, so to speak, association plays. Thus the dog, at the sight of another dog which displays no unfriendly feeling toward him, just as naturally feels a disposition to the agreeable exercise of his awakened powers as to fight with his fellows. Kittens which for the first time try to catch a moving ball, are not playing according to this view, and only play when the action is repeated for the sake of the pleasure it gives. I shall return to this conception, which includes more than simple imitation in its ordinary sense. I feel that I have not succeeded in conveying all that Wundt means in the passage cited from. However, if I understand him aright, he attempts in the last edition of his published works to explain imitation in quite another way. Thus he gives that name to the play of young dogs, which, without having seen it done, seize a piece of cloth in the teeth and shake it violently, because such play exhibits the playful activity of former generations. This is a hardly justifiable use of the word, and I think it better to admit at once that imitation, as commonly understood, is not a criterion of play.
The case is entirely different with the "apparent aim" or sham activity. It is undeniable that, objectively considered, such play appears to be detached from the real, practically directed life of the individual, and Wundt, too, understands it so. No one plays to attain what is
(381) real object of effort outside of the sphere of play. All the objects of play lie within its own bounds, and even games of chance keep in view the aim to promote strong excitement in the parties to the wager until the decision. Since, then, we must consider sham activity as a genuine projection from earnest life, it becomes a universal criterion. This is not contradicted by the fact that playful activity is of great value to the individual, since the value of the play is not the player's motive.
The question respecting the illusion-working character of playful activity is much more difficult to meet, if the psychical processes of the playing subject are kept in view, and the inquiry is pressed as to whether the actual sham quality of the play is reflected in his mental states. Here it must be emphasized that actual consciousness of fulfilling a merely ideal purpose, of being engaged in sham occupation, is not at all essential to imitative play, and is wanting altogether in experimentation and fighting plays. Consequently it too fails as a universal criterion of play. Later we shall inquire whether in much play the objective sham character may not influence the psychic condition of the player in another way.
There remain, then, as general psychological criteria of play, but two more of the elements popularly regarded as essential—namely, its pleasurableness, and the actual severance from life's serious aims. Both are included in cally speaking, in activity performed for its own sake.
I proceed after this introduction to inquire into the character of the pleasure derived from play. It is the most universal of all the psychological accompaniments of play, resting as it does on the satisfaction of inborn impulses. The sensorimotor and mental capacities (of the latter, attention pre-eminently) fighting and sexual impulses, imitation, and the social instincts press for discharge, and lead to enjoyment when they find it in play. To this simple statement of fact we must subjoin the not unimportant consideration which Baldwin has suggested in his preface to The Play of Animals. He distinguishes
(382) two distinct kinds of play: one "not psychological at all," and exhibiting only the biological criterion of practice for, not exercise of, the impulse; and the other, which is psychological as well and involves conscious self-deception. The situation, he says, is like that displayed in many other animal and human functions which are at once biologic and instinctive, as well as psychologic and intelligent; for example, sympathy, fear, and bashfulness. This last statement is unquestionable, but there is room for doubt whether the previously assumed difference exists. Baldwin's grounds for the distinction seem to me to be inconclusive, in that conscious self-deception is by no means the only nor the most universal psychic accompaniment of play, the most elementary of them all being the enjoyment derived for the satisfaction of an instinct, which makes play an object for psychology, where conscious self-deception is out of the question. But the further question is suggested whether the biological conception of play has not a still deeper grasp than the psychological, and to this extent the proposed distinction is of value.
It may be assumed of young animals, and probably of children, that the first manifestations of what is afterward experimentation, fighting and imitative play, etc., is rarely conscious, and consequently we can not assert with assurance that it is pleasurable. Therefore the biological but not the psychological germ of play is present. It was in this sense that I intended my previous remarks to the effect that actual imitation was not an indispensable condition of play, while repetition possibly could be considered so, since the impulsive movements must be repeated frequently and at last performed for the sake alone of the pleasure derived from them, before play ensues. This marks the psychological limits of play.
To make the relation clearer, let us take the grasping movement as an example. The child at first waves his
(383) hands aimlessly, and when his fingers chance to strike a suitable object they clutch at it instinctively. From a purely biological point of view this is practice of an instinct, and play has already begun. Psychologically, on the contrary, it is safer to defer calling the movements playful until through repetition they acquire the character of conscious processes accompanied by attention and enjoyment. This distinction, I think, is a proper one, and it enables the biologist to pursue the idea further than the psychologist would be justified in doing. Therefore I can not recognise any activity as playful in the most complete sense which does not exhibit the psychological criterion as well. Examples of such plays may be found scattered all through the systematic parts of this work, and at the beginning of the section on contact plays.
In examining somewhat more closely the nature of the feeling of pleasure which springs from the satisfaction of an inborn instinct we may assume as a general law that it is threefold: first, there is pleasure in the stimulus as such; then in the agreeableness of the stimulus; and, third, in its intensity. The first is due to the fact that a set of hereditary impulses press for such expression; it is superfluous to attempt to prove that there are special stimuli inherently pleasurable; it is only the third class, then, that need demand our attention, and this we have repeatedly encountered in our excursions into the various departments of play. It would be well worth while to devote a monograph to the investigation of its meaning and grounds in the light of the literature of the past. Probably a variety of causes would be brought to light, among which, however, the influence of habit would be prominent, since attention and enjoyment would need
constantly stronger stimuli. The most valuable contribution to the subject seems to me that of Lessing in pursuance of Du Bos's idea. He says that the violent emotion produced by the feeling of heightened reality is the occasion of the pleasurable effect. But whence comes this feeling? Its origin is sufficiently clear in movement—play, where intense stimulus is connected with the violent exertion of physical powers; but how is it with receptive play? In the eighteenth century it was said, on the
(384) ground of Leibnitz's psychology, that what we regard as receptive play was the soul's spontaneous activity. The strong emotion resulting betokened a development of force which is always a satisfaction. This view quite naturally lends itself to modern psychological terms now that we can put our finger on the strong internal motor processes involved; yet it is limited by observation, which shows that intensive stimuli taking possession of us, so to speak, in spite of ourselves, are not invariably cherished as pleasures. Only when we voluntarily seek the strong feeling, and gladly yield ourselves to it so that the emotion it produces is in a measure our own work, do we enjoy the result. The conditions are the same as with the pleasure in power displayed in violent movement plays, and they may be treated together.
Among the many inborn necessities which ground our pleasure in play we find again that three is the number emphasized by psychology—namely, the exercise of attention, the demand for an efficient cause, and imagination. As regards attention, I have already said in the biological discussion that it seems calculated to lend a definite meaning to the vague idea of a general need for activity. The examples of practice in attention which were introduced in the section on experimentation with the higher mental powers were chosen with a view to illustrating mental tension, and special stress was laid on the fact that, apart from these limitations, attention is of the widest and most comprehensive significance. Indeed, fully developed play in the psychological sense is scarcely conceivable without the simultaneous exercise of motor or theoretic attention. From the first sensory and motor play of infants, straight through to aesthetic enjoyment and artistic production, its tension is felt, and when the opportunity is not afforded for its satisfactory exercise a pitiable condition of boredom ensues, the unendurableness of which Schopenhauer has so exhaustively described.
The desire to be an efficient cause also has a motor and a theoretic form. We demand a knowledge of effects and to be ourselves the producers of effects, and it is through this motor form that the theoretic, if not exactly
(385) originated, is at least perfected. Hence the root idea of causal connection depends on volition, and Schopenhauer, in referring force to the will, has but expressed in his metaphysical way an established psychological fact. This motor impulse finds expression in the joy in being a cause, which I regard as so essential to play, and in conjunction with attention is probably the source of the impulse for activity of which I have spoken. We must bear in mind all the forms of pleasure connected with movement, and especially motor experimental play, where, besides the mere enjoyment of motion in itself, there is the satisfaction of being one's self the originator of it, the joy-bringing sense of being a cause. Use of the sensory apparatus is a source of the same pleasure, since here, too, a motor condition is involved, and is accompanied with consciousness of its own activity; and when the inner imitation which we have described is also included, the connection with external movement is of course still closer. And in any case joy in being a cause is well-nigh universal, since in play no purpose is served apart from the act itself as impelled by inner impulse, which thus appears in the character of an independent cause more than in any other form of activity.
This joy in being a cause is susceptible of varied modification. In violent movements, and even in the receptive enjoyment of intense stimuli, it is converted into pleasure in the mere possession of power, and is proportionate to the magnitude of the results. It appears also in the form of emulation when a model is copied, and in imitative competition, the pleasure of surpassing others arises with enjoyment of pure success and victory, which, as we have seen, results as well from overcoming difficulties as from the subjugation of foes. All these ideas have been so often encountered in the systematic part of our work that merely directing them to their natural conclusions is all-sufficient here.
Of imagination, however, we must speak in greater detail in regard to its illusion-making power, which again brings us to the sham occupation recognised as such by the doer in a partly subjective manner. I am careful to limit this statement because it is evident that only a
(386) simple form of the phenomenon, and not its whole content, is present in such reflex forms of consciousness.
In many games there is a veritable playing of a rôle in which the players, like actors, are quite conscious all through the pretence that they are only "making believe." It is a genuine conscious state in which, on the one hand, the illusion is perfect, while on the other there is full knowledge that it is an illusion. Konrad Lange has called this condition one of conscious self-deception, a term which most aptly conveys the idea of the strange contradiction of inner processes. He limited the use of the term, however, to plays that depend on the imitative arts, while I have advanced the view in my Play of Animals that it is even more clearly exhibited in such fighting and hunting plays as are conducted independently of models, than in actual imitative play. But when it comes to human play I am forced to admit that speech discloses conscious self-deception in the imitative play of children where it might be doubtful in the case of animals. Still, I have other points of controversy with Lange. If imitation includes the conscious repetition of our own previous acts, as it may by an extension of the definition, then we are warranted in assuming conscious self-deception only with it. Thus, in fighting play, for instance, clear consciousness of playing a rôle can ensue only when previous experience has taught the players what are the serious manifestations of the fighting instinct. If, however, the narrower use of the word is adopted, illusion is more extensive than imitation, and, furthermore, the latter may exist without the former.
When, as I said before, there is a clear consciousness of sham activity, we may subscribe essentially to Lange's theory, with its oscillation between reality and appearance, since the enjoyment of illusion does alternate with the impression of reality. His figure of the swinging pendulum should not be taken too literally as implying measured regularity in the succession of states. The essence
(387) of his meaning is that in self-illusion which is conscious, even the moments of most absolute abandon are followed by other moments of readjustment, and this is undeniably the case. Think, for instance, of the laughter of romping boys which serves to reassure the combatants by its implication that, in spite of appearances to the contrary, the fight is only playful.
But this does not fully explain the illusion of the players. Just as in aesthetic enjoyment we are for a long time entirely surrendered to the illusion without consciously recognising the fact, so we find in play, and especially that of children, absorption and self-forgetfulness so complete that no room is left for the idea of oscillation. And when the illusion is so strong and so lasting, as is sometimes the case with little girls nursing their dolls, or with little boys playing soldier or robber, they can no more be said to see through the illusion than to alternate between it and reality. My own contribution to the solution of the problem is set forth in my earlier work in the section on hypnotic phenomena, more exhaustively than is possible here, where the points of view are so much more varied. I therefore content myself with the following partial elucidation:
If we may not assume consciousness of the illusion in complete absorption, nor yet any true alternative with reality, we are forced to the conclusion that the. appearance produced by play differs essentially from the reality which it represents, and is incapable of producing genuine deception. Now this postulate seems to be borne out in a very obvious and striking manner by the fact that sham activity and the pretended object are evidently symbolic, since they are never perfect duplicates of reality. Toward the most perfect imitation the playing child entertains feelings quite different from those called forth by a living creature. How, then, is there positive deception? But closer examination shows us that the solution is not so simple. If such external distinctions alone separated playful illusion from actual deception, the force of the former would inevitably decline as this difference increased. But the facts indicate exactly the contrary, as we may see illustrated by the little girl who takes a
(388) sofa pillow for a doll; the illusion is at least quite as great as when the toy is a triumph of imitative art. The child actually approaches the hypnotic state when she says that the pillow is a lady on the sofa, and chats with her. Though there is of course no actual deception, the reason for it must be looked for elsewhere than in any external. difference from reality.
I believe its true basis to be the feeling of freedom which is closely connected with joy in being a cause. Not the clear idea, " This is only pretence," but a subtile consciousness of free, voluntary acceptance of the illusion stamps even the deepest absorption in it with the seal ipse feci as a safeguard from error. If we accept E. von Hartman's aesthetic principle that to the consciousness which is sunk in illusion the apparent I is different from the real I of ordinary waking consciousness, then in illusion play the real I is supplanted by the apparent I. Yet pleasurable feelings which belong properly to the obscured real I may come over into the sphere of the apparent I and lend to it a specific character. As in the contemplation of beauty, enjoyment of sensuous pleasure passes into the sphere of apparent feeling, and lends to the object that regal brilliance which characterizes pure beauty, so in the wider field of illusion play, genuine pleasure in the voluntary transference to that world of appearances which transcends all the external aims of play, enters into the sham occupation and converts it into something higher, freer, finer, lighter, which the stress of objective events can not impair. This effect of the feeling of freedom may advantageously be made the subject of personal observation. Before going to sleep at night it is easy to call up all sorts of faces and forms before the closed eyes and play with them, but as soon as the wearied consciousness lets slip the sense of being the cause of it all, we shrink from these phantoms, and playful illusion takes â serious turn.
Finally, through the feeling of freedom, the recreation theory attains a special psychological significance which
(389) is quite generally recognised. As soon as the individual has progressed far enough to realize the seriousness of life (and this probably happens in an unreflective sort of way to children too young to go to school) the liberty of play signifies to him relief from this pressure. The more earnest is a man's life, the more will he enjoy the refuge afforded by play when he can engage in sham occupations chosen at will, and unencumbered by serious aims. There he is released from the bondage of his work and from all the anxieties of life.
4. The Aesthetic Standpoint
While it is true that undue emphasis of the overflow of energy reduces play to self-indulgence, at the same time it is unfair to art to make too prominent its kinship with play. This is just the position of Guyau in his aesthetic writings; yet he is far from denying the kinship, and I think that he would have concurred to a great extent in Schiller's view if he could have convinced himself of the biological and sociological importance of play by adequate investigation of its phenomena. I at least have been confirmed in my conviction of the close connection between play and aesthetics by the perusal of his book, and there, too, my view stated in the very outset—namely, that this connection obtains in a higher degree than does that between play and artistic production—is also supported by his more thoroughgoing investigation of the facts.
The following points present themselves as the most general results of our observation of aesthetic enjoyment. We have found that all sense organs display numerous impulses to activity, and consequently enjoyment of the response to stimuli is a universal basis of play, varying as to conditions and the quality of the stimuli. Now, since every aesthetic pleasure (except the appreciation of poetry) is connected with sense-perception, we find in it a genuine source of enjoyment, depending on the origin and quality of such perception. Observation merely for its own sake is the lowest form of aesthetic enjoyment, and is so far identical with sensuous play.
On this foundation arises enjoyment of special stimuli. Confining ourselves to sensory play, we can distinguish two groups—namely, sensuously agreeable stimuli and intensive ones. The former, provided higher aesthetic observation does its work of personification, finds its sole object in beauty. Pleasure in intense stimuli is strong enough to subdue the pain which is commonly associated with it, and forms an introduction to enjoyment of what is grotesque, striking, and tragic. It is especially prominent in the trance-like state so common in movement-play as well as in aesthetic enjoyment.
Before going further we must pause to consider the idea so often advanced that such enjoyment is peculiarly the prerogative of the higher senses. Is the pleasure which I feel when I inhale a perfume as much aesthetic as is the perception of beautiful colour? I think the case is like that of the common idea of play. From a psychological standpoint we recognise as such any act that is practised purely for its pleasurable effect, and sham occupation in the higher forms of play may be subjective. Therefore we can affirm that pleasure in perception as such, and not necessarily in agreeable perception, grounds it, and to this extent no one can demur if the beautiful colour is classed with the pleasant odour. For the utmost aesthetic satisfaction, however, more than this is requisite—first,' definite form, and second, richer spiritual effect—and since these are perceptible only to the higher senses, it becomes their exclusive prerogative to take in the utmost effects of artistic effort.
To resume our review, we observe that aesthetic enjoyment is not merely a playful sensor experience, but manifests as well the higher psychic grounds of perception. What we said of the pleasure of recognition, the stimulus of novelty, and the shock of surprise need not here be repeated. Illusion remains the most certain märk of higher aesthetic enjoyment, and the important psychological problem connected with it which was referred to in the preceding section has its application here as in other illusion play. The first thing to notice abovt it here is that it consists partly in the transference of
(391) thought from the copy to an original, and that sympathy and the borrowing of qualities which are connected with imitation have also their parts to play. Bearing all this in mind, we are in a position to put the question next in order, What is the principal content of illusion?
Thus we arrive at a point similar to that reached in our study of sensory plays. As the pleasure in stimulus as such surpasses the pleasure in any particular form of stimulus, so here the subjective activity of inner imitation as such is a source of pleasure quite apart from the qualities inherent in the thing copied. Lipps says, in his notice of my Einleitung in die Aesthetik, that for me the aesthetic value of the object under observation and personification is not that it is personified, but that it is I who personify it. Part III of the book proves the injustice of this to my general view, yet I do maintain that inner imitation is as such accompanied by pleasurable feelings, and consequently that aesthetic satisfaction possibly finds its first limit when any painfulness connected with the subject outweighs the enjoyment derived from inner imitation.
If, then, the act of inner imitation is in itself pleasurable, it strikes me as self-evident that the degree of satisfaction attained must be proportional to the value of its object. This is clearly illustrated by the highest character of aesthetic intuition, the impression of vital and mental completeness; and inner imitation shows this, for it delights to act in response to the functions of movement, force, life, and animation. Therefore Lotze is right when he says, after approving the limitations which we have pointed out, "No form is too chaste for the entrance and possession of our imagination." On the other hand, it is evident that the value of this indwelling depends essentially on the peculiarities of the subject. If, for instance, I transform myself into a shellfish and enter into its sole
(392) method of enjoyment, opening and shutting its shell, I experience a far narrower sort of aesthetic satisfaction than when I feel with a mother who is caressing her child. It is just because inner imitation is involved that the value of the aesthetic effect is determined by the qualities of the object. But what are the qualities, it may be asked, which augment or detract from this effect? An exhaustive and satisfactory answer to this question is impossible here; such is the extraordinary variety of the contributory factors. It properly belongs, too, to specialized aesthetics. In general, however, it is safe to say that we enjoy imitating what produces agreeable and intense feelings, and we thus find again on higher ground the same conditions which we encountered in sensory play. This distinction is clearly brought out by Lipps in his article on the impression made by a Doric column: "The mechanical effects which are `easily' attained remind us of such acts of our own as are accomplished without effort or impediment, and likewise the powerful expenditure of active mechanical energy recalls a similar output of our will power. In the first case a cheerful feeling of lightness and freedom results; in the other no less agreeable sensations of our own vigour."  In other spheres the value of such indwelling seems to me to be chiefly in the two directions which Schiller has indicated in his comparison of " grace " and " dignity." I would refer again in this connection to what has been said about the importance of poetic enjoyment; if we are right in assigning love and conflict as its chief motives, then here too enjoyment of agreeable and intense stimuli is prominent.
If we ask, finally, how aesthetic enjoyment extends its sway beyond the entire sphere of play, we encroach on the ethical bearings of art. With the introduction of an element of moral elevation and profound insight into life, aesthetic satisfaction ceases to be "mere" play find transcends our present subject: But we must be careful to maintain that it is transcendence and not exclusion, for even when (as is possible to a Shakespeare and a Schiller) the intent toward moral elevation and
(393) profound insight is prominent, our enjoyment remains aesthetic only so long as these effects are developed and set forth in connection with playful sympathy.
Our second leading question is that of the relation between play and artistic production. Let us set out by announcing at once that the latter, especially in highly developed art, is further removed from play than is aesthetic enjoyment. This is implied in the fact that, for the genuine artist, practical application of his aptitude is, as a rule, his life's calling; not necessarily his only means of support, of course, but sufficiently absorbing to force the man of creative ability to devote most of his life to an end which to the mass of mankind seems unworthy of serious effort. In such a case art ceases to be playful. But this transformation is not unique. That absorption in an apparently useless form of activity which is so incomprehensible to the average man, but which easily lures its votaries to rapt enthusiasm for their art, is displayed in many forms less exalted than the striving for an ideal. Plays not connected with art hold despotic sway over their victims. Many devote their life's best effort to some forms of sport, and others to mental contests, such as those of chess, whist, etc. E. Isolani says that when Zuckertort was a medical student in Berlin he accidentally became a witness of a match game between two fine chess players, and, although unfamiliar with the rules, he detected a false play. This interested him in the game, and he became a pupil of Anderson. Soon chess instead of medicine became his chief business in life; he thought of nothing but how to improve his play. It kept him awake at night, or, if fatigue overcame him, its problems pursued him in dreams. At twenty-four he was a worn-out man. The demoniac power with which art drives a man so predisposed resides in other games as well; and in this both activities cease to be pure play.
Another basis for our subject is found in the fact that art presupposes a useful field of application for technical skill whose acquirement and improvement are no longer ends in themselves. The acquisition is often a long and painful process, with little that is playful about it. But this is common enough in other play as well when the
(394) technical side of any sport is made the subject of serious study and effort.
Our third ground is to be sought in a very real aim, which is ever beckoning to the artist. It may be designated in a general way as the sympathetic interest of others, manifested in admiring recognition and appreciation of the powers displayed, or in subscribing to the convictions, views, and ideals of the artist. In so far as this is an effective motive, art is no play. Strictly artistic temperaments are especially liable to its influence at the beginning of their career. Indifference, when sincere, is usually a later development, the product of experience.
Having thus fortified our position against misconstruction, we are prepared to proclaim the proper relationship between artistic production and play. It seems to me to be more and more conspicuous as we approach the springs of art. The primitive festival, combining as it did music and poetry with dancing, had indeed a tremendous effect on its witnessers, and its manifestations were essentially playful. Skill acquired in childhood through playful practice was playfully exhibited with original variations. The epic art, too, was playfully employed by the primitive recounter, with no indication of toilsome preparation or serious treatment, and the case is not widely different with what we know of the beginnings of pictorial art. So long as primitive sculpture served no religious purpose, simple delight in its use was much more prominent, since all inherited the capacity, and none was opposed to the mass as the exponent of a specialty. We meet the same conditions in studying the child's artistic efforts; his poetic and musical efforts as well as those in drawing are essentially playful. The idea of making an impression on others does appear, but it is still very much in the background; enjoyment of his own productive activity predominates in the infantile consciousness. Although highly developed art does so transcend the sphere of play, it too is rooted in playful experimentation and imitation, and we can detect their later growth of joy in being a cause in the work of fullfledged artists of our own day. Indeed, it is present in all creative activity, gilding earnest work with a sportive
(395) glitter. In artistic production, however, it has the special office of differentiating it from ordinary toil and making appreciation of the thing created go hand in hand with its production. Each new-found harmony of tone or colour or outline appealing to criticism of its creator causes him intense enjoyment all through the progress of its production, and the indifference sometimes felt toward the finished work results from frequent repetition which has dulled the edge of appetite.
5. The Sociological Standpoint
A still more summary method may be adopted in treating of the social significance of play, since the section already devoted to it is of a more theoretic character. The practice theory, as we have seen, makes youthful play intelligible, but finds no lack of application to adults as well. When we reflect on the unavoidable limitations and mechanical routine of a regular calling we see how valuable is the cheering and humanizing effect of play, both physical and mental, and especially of those games which are calculated to strengthen the social tie. The practice afforded by these is more important to the adult than to the child, since the latter has always a certain social sphere in his relations with his elders, while the wider demands of an adult are not always so well provided for.
Two distinct impulses underlie the foundation of society — namely, the desires for aggregation and for communication. Both are probably derived from the parental relation, which expands as the culture of the group develops. For this reason it is probable that Baldwin's principle of organic selection may take effect in this special case. In general I hold to the view that play makes it possible to dispense to a certain degree with specialized hereditary mechanism by fixing and increasing acquired adaptations. On the social side we find much the same conditions, though we may perhaps assume that comradeship in play has an orthoplastic influence on the intensity of the social impulse. When a society (a primitive race, for example, which is forced by circumstances to wander about a great deal, or to conduct a war) undertakes new tasks which
(396) lead to stronger and more extended social organization, play alone can supply the necessary conditions. Under its " screening " influence natural selection has time to eliminate the variations which are not coincident, to further those which are, and so to strengthen gradually the social impulses.
These two original social impulses find satisfaction in the social circle as soon as the individual has outgrown the narrow limits of the family, and the first social group into which he voluntarily enters is that of his playmates. This is the social school for children; here, says Jean Paul, " the first social fetters are woven of flowers," and here, too, does the adult find the perennial spring for renewing the influence of the " socius " in himself. Where association presents only its more pleasing features, the voluntary subordination which is sometimes irksome is natural enough both to the recognised leader and to abstract law. Kant's moral requisite that a person shall never be made use of as a means is applicable to public life only when individuals voluntarily fit themselves into the social mechanism. In clubs for amusement, social sympathy and good comradeship undergo a sort of artificial expansion which society could hardly attain without the games and festivities that characterize them. This fact is apparent among savages as well as in the most advanced social group of modern times. The union of early tribes for their dances and feasts made it possible for them to work together for serious purposes, and, to take an illustration from the other extreme, a group of university teachers, in spite of their peaceful calling, is best preserved from disastrous dissension when their good comradeship is promoted by frequent and regularly recurring social gatherings.
The effect of ordinary play is supported by social imitation. To do what. the others do, and so get the advantage of the stimulus which belongs to collective activity; to thrill with the feeling that moves the masses; to get out of the narrow circle of one's own desires and effortsthese the child learns with his playmates, and the grown
(397) man in aesthetic sports and in festive gatherings. Thus play contributes to the " experimental verification of the benefits and pleasures of united action,"  and such experience must advance the ends of society, since it forms habits which extend beyond the sphere of play. Hence arises, too, the imitation of individuals who are especially prominent in the social group. When among children or grown people some master spirit takes the lead by virtue of his courage, wisdom, presence of mind, or quick adaptability, his example is of quite incalculable influence on his fellows. The effects of aesthetic sympathy when the model is one of social excellence takes deep hold on the life around it. In modern poetry, too, we have a powerful means of bringing the social and ethical ideal home to each appreciative soul in the privacy of his own home.
We have found, too, that the various aspects of the impulse of communication which ground the inner spiritual association of the group are also available for play. While in the animal world self-exhibition may serve sexual purposes almost exclusively, such is not the case with man. As his personality develops in response to his everchanging relations to his social environment, he feels the need of finding all that moves him, his joys and sorrows, his strivings and attainments, reflected in the consciousness of other men. This is why I have insisted that the various forms of rivalry which are so essential to the preservation of the species are only in part derived from the fighting impulse. The higher motive of proving to one's associates what one is capable of, is also operative, and play which exhibits it not only serves to develop the social impulses, but also assists materially in the struggle for life. Besides giving expression to individual importance, the desire for self-exhibition includes a disposition to depreciate others, and the friction which ensues is a most effectual corrective of the vanity and overweening pride which are so easily associated with it, giving rise at last to a just estimate of the value and limits of our capacities.
The second and higher form of the communication impulse also—namely, the desire to influence other wills and to direct and control public action; in short, to become a social leader—finds full scope in play, which affords good preliminary practice of the art of ruling, just as it is the first school for voluntary subordination to social law. Here the masterful mind learns how to control milder spirits and to identify his own with the common interest, and here awakens the feeling of responsibility and the wish to become by his example an inspiration to his fellows. Any form of activity which develops sturdy independent leaders is to be encouraged, for it is these that society is most in need of.
Finally, we discover that imitation, where not mere collective play, is eminently promotive through tradition of various departments of culture. Few of our acquisitions in that line are due to physical heredity. Time may increase the intensity of the social impulse, and possibly diminish the force of our pugnacious tendencies (although to my mind a comparison with the so-called lower-standing peoples offers little encouragement to the hope), and intelligence may be further refined if the limit has not already been reached; still this store of culture must be acquired by each individual anew. Play does much to make its attainment possible, and, above all, dramatic imitation play. I would refer the reader again to Signe Rink's description of the children brought up in Greenland. If parental interference could have been obliterated and imitation allowed free play, while the child, it is true, would not have become exactly like a Greenland woman, she would have come very near to it in her thoughts and feeling, and it is doubtful whether any subsequent training in European customs could have wholly extinguished this influence.
6. The Pedagogical Standpoint
The fact that the natural school of play affords a necessary complement to pedagogics was recognised by educators of old, with some notable exceptions, however. For example, the pietist Tollner uttered this sentiment at a conference: "Play of whatever sort should be for-
(399) -bidden in all evangelical schools, and its vanity and folly should be explained to the children with warnings of how it turns the mind away from God and eternal life, and works destruction to their immortal souls." On the whole, however, the educational value of play has been recognised from the time of Plato to the present day.  It affords a reaction from the stress and strain of work. It satisfies the natural demand for pleasure so impressively set forth by Luther, giving opportunity for free, self-originated activity and practice to the physical and mental capacities. A discerning educator could not afford to ignore so important a coadjutor.
There are two ways of regarding the relation of play to education. Instruction may take the form of playful activity, or, on the other hand, play may be converted into systematic teaching. Both methods are natural to us, and may be carried to extreme lengths. The history of pedagogics gives much interesting information as to experiments with the first; for example, Joachim Böldicke, inspired by reading Locke and Baratier, set forth his method in the following programme in 1732, as " an attempt to educate by the help of games, music, poetry, and other entertainment through which important truths may be imparted." Thanks to the originators of the plan, ten intelligent children, twelve years of age when they began, could understand in their fifteenth year German, Latin, French, Italian, and English, and were well grounded in all useful general knowledge. The writer proceeds to give an example of the riddle games as follows: " I know an animal which eats grass, has two horns on its head, a tail, and four cloven feet. What can it be? When in need of anything, it lows. It has calves, suckles them, and allows itself to be milked." Whereupon the penetrating youth promptly responds in Latin: "Non est, quod nomen addas; de vacca emin cogitasti,
(400) quae eat herbatica, cormuta, quadrupes, biscula, mugire, vitulos parere, lactari et emulgeri potest "
Against such trifling it is sufficient to repeat the warning that J. G. Schlosser published in 1776. At school one should learn to work, and he who does everything playfully will always remain a child. Other things being equal, it is most natural and advantageous to distinguish clearly between play and study work. Among primitive races, where the life work is for the most part guided by natural impulse, at least in the case of males, boys may get sufficient preparation from play for their later life, though even they usually have some instruction at the outset. But with civilized peoples usage to earnest, persistent effort that is not dependent on caprice or impulse is an indispensable condition of success in the struggle for life, and for this reason school life should promote a high sense of duty as opposed to mere inclination.
Yet this distinction should not be so stringent as to exclude entirely the play impulse. We have repeatedly found in the course of this inquiry that even the most serious work may include a certain playfulness, especially when enjoyment of being a cause and of conquest are prominent. Between flippant trifling and conscientious study there is a wide chasm which nothing can bridge; but not all play is such trifling. Who would forbid the teacher's making the effort to induce in his pupils a psychological condition like that of the adult worker, who ris not oppressed by the shall and must in the pursuit of his calling, because the very exertion of his physical and mental powers in work involving all his capabilities fills his soul with joy? Since play thus approaches work when pleasure in the activity as such, as well as its practical aim, becomes a motive power (as in the gymnastic games of adults), so may work become like play when its real aim is superseded by enjoyment of the activity itself. And it can hardly be doubted that this is the highest and noblest form of work.
Another question is how far the teacher's effort should go in this direction, and to answer this definitely something more than a purely theoretic inquiry is needed, since many points are involved which have more to do with the art than the method of education. On the whole, we must concur with Kraepelin that in view of the danger of overstrain and overfatigue it is probably fortunate that the majority of teachers do not possess the faculty of turning study into an amusement, and that those who do possess it make a great mistake in employing it constantly. Yet, while disapproving totally of all trifling in education, we still maintain that the school which is conducted exclusively by an appeal to the stringent sense of duty, with no incentive to the higher form of work in which the deepest earnestness has much of the freedom of play—that such a school does not perfectly fulfil its task.
In passing to our second question we must touch upon that connecting link between work and play which we call occupation. The hobbies of adults furnish voluntary activity like play, which is undertaken chiefly from the pleasure it affords, but often has aims outside the sphere of play. Pedagogical occupation is, on the contrary, playful practice in the line of the child's instruction, and forms an adaptive means of transition from the freedom of the first years of life to school work. Froebel's kindergarten system is most valuable in this way. Its occupations suggest to the children something beyond mere play, and supply definite aims for their activity and study, but they should always be kept near the limits of play; forced occupation against the child's will does not fulfil the purpose of such exercise. Since in what follows I shall be limited to the consideration of actual play, I take occasion to mention here that there is a certain analogy to pedagogic occupation among savages. Brough Smith sends from Australia an account of an old woman's direction of the occupation of young girls " The old woman herself collected the material, built a skin hut, and taught each of the little ones with great care to make small ones like the large model. She showed them where to get the gum and how to use it. She sent
(402) the girls to gather rushes, and taught them to weave baskets over round stones, etc." This is not exactly systematic education like that of our schools, but it may properly be classed with kindergarten work.
After this digression we now proceed to our second leading question: How far may a teacher direct play to pedagogic ends without destroying its freedom and genuineness? In this direction, too, many teachers err. Campe thought that the irrepressible tendency to popular sport should be allowed to indulge in only those of its inventions which developed the reason, perception, judgment, etc., and even those persons who recognise the value of Froebel's system bring the charge, which for a teacher is a damaging one, that by his methods, and especially by the songs he uses so much, spontaneity and naiveté are almost totally destroyed. Every user of the system should be cautioned against a careless or thoughtless application of it. Jean Paul says strikingly, " I tremble when any grown-up, hardened hand meddles with these tender buds from childhood's garden, rubbing off the bloom here and marring the delicacy of tint there."
Yet it would be unfortunate and in a sense unnatural for the teacher, and even more so for the parent, to leave the playing child entirely to his own devices. Adults have three important tasks in this direction which are imperative—namely, general incitation to play, encouragement of what is good and useful, and discouragement of injurious and improper forms of play. Animals teach their young to play, and for this reason I have said it would be unnatural for parents to be unconcerned about their children's games. While all animals show a greater or less disposition for sportiveness, it is strongest in the mother with her young, and gives rise to some of the most attractive phases of animal life. Love toward the small, helpless creatures manifests itself as well in playing with them as in nursing and caring for them. The mother not only submits to their tumbling all over her and pulling at her as their movement and fighting instincts impel them to do, but she encourages them to
(403) active play. This instinct is much stronger in our own race. Not the mother alone, but every normal woman feels again a child at the sight of children, and the father, too, is conscious of an irresistible drawing toward the nursery in his leisure moments, there to indulge in a short excursion to the lost paradise of childish play.
His parents are a child's natural playmates for the first years of his life, since, as has been said, a too early introduction to a wider social circle can but have a baneful effect. Consequently, it is important that the inward impulse, as well as the outward stimulus, to play should be present, and when it is lacking the after impression of the early home throws a shadow over all the future life. The same remark, with some modifications, applies to teachers, when the child grows older and goes to school. It is, of course, not necessary for a teacher to join in the games of the merry urchins out of doors, yet in the lower grades especially it is a fortunate circumstance when he possesses the faculty of becoming a child again with the children in their plays and walks. He must be able, however, to resume the sceptre firmly when need arises.
This naturally opens the way for the second duty of the child's instructor—directing his play toward what is good and useful. The two ends do not necessarily coincide, for there is an egotistical sort of playing with children which is more for the amusement of adults than anything else. Better no play than this. Herbart once said, " Let no man use his child as a plaything." There are numerous ways to direct the child's play to useful purposes. We may provide him with toys and tools which suggest their own use, as animals show us bow to do when they bring a living victim to their young as a plaything. The objection that in providing playthings the childºs inventiveness as well as his enjoyment of illusion is interfered with needs but brief notice. Reischle rightly says that the most ancient tradition justifies the use o toys, and has chosen wisely among them. The physical and mental capacities of children are furthered, too, by the use of many plays which require no tools or toys. Recollection of our own childhood and a glance at the condi-
(404) -tions will aid us in directing their play by advice or example. Influence in this direction is less apparent at school, but as the population of our cities grows more crowded the need for intelligent direction is becoming evident. City children grow up under unnatural conditions, and opportunities for play, especially health-producing movement-play, should be provided artificially, space devoted to it, needed aids furnished, and the effort made to introduce the most useful and attractive gymnastic plays to the children. The growing interest of all classes in such efforts encourages the hope that the damaging consequences of our modern methods of living may be effectually counteracted in this way.
As to the positive ethical development of the child by play, we may premise that play in itself contributes materially to the establishment of ethical individuality. This, as we have before insisted, is properly developed only in the give and take of social intercourse which with children is found almost entirely in play. " Development of ethical character," says Reischle, " requires on the one hand social influences preparatory for service in human society, and on the other individual culture. Any supposed antagonism between these is only apparent. In reality they are the two including poles. Human society reaches its fulness only among well-rounded individualities, since they alone are properly fitted for service to the whole; and be it noted that such characters do not develop in solitude, but in the stress of social life. Play has its uses in both directions. How else can individual qualities be so well brought out and developed as in the free, untrammelled use of all one's powers? Here are brought into contact contemplative, quiet natures with active, forceful ones, the stubborn with the pliant will. Play reveals the breadth or limitation of the child's horizon. the independence of his character. or his need of support and direction."
In spite of all this, many are opposed to any attempt on the part of educators to introduce the ethical element into play. It is undoubtedly a mistake to smuggle moral
(405) reflections in whatever form into play (songs furnish a case in point), nor is it wise to single out for praise those who display skill, courage, self-control, a self-sacrificing spirit, or any other excellence of character in play. Such a practice tends to destroy its spontaneity and ideality. There seems, then, to be but one legitimate means for promoting development of ethical character in play. Those who with me regard aesthetic enjoyment of poetry as a play will recognise in it a wide field for positive influence. From the first nursery rhymes to the reading provided for those nearly grown, a discriminating hand should choose those works which are calculated to supply ethical ideals to the plastic mind. Yet attractiveness should always be considered, and any obscuration of poetic charm with moral reflections be avoided.
Much more obvious is the educational value of the negative task, the third, which consists in the avoidance of what is evil, and the effort to check wrong tendencies. The struggle with open iniquity goes hand in hand with avoiding more insidious moral danger. Let us try to distinguish the more salient points by the following method: First, the child should not play too much. In the physiological investigation I spoke at some length of the law of repetition, and the trance-like or ecstatic state induced by many plays, together with the fact that they are often pursued to the point of exhaustion. If the instructor insists on rest before this comes to pass he would seem to be imposing a proper restriction, which is most valuable to ethical education, for at this point the moral law of temperance can be made most impressive to the child. Second, play which has become or threatens to become violent may be restrained to proper bounds, and the important ethical lesson of self-control be inculcated. Third, it may be required that everything dangerous to life or health shall be excluded or carefully regulated. Here the teacher must avoid overanxiety, for courage, which is itself of at least equal ethical value, can only be developed in the growing character by the encounter of actual risks and learning to meet them with self-reliance. Fourth, guardians must sometimes interfere when fighting impulses are manifested in a rude or ill-natured manner, as
(406) it is apt to be in the various forms of teasing. Misuse of this valuable impulse may cause deep spiritual injury to both the aggressor and his victim. When children have fallen under the power of a bad, tyrannous, or low-minded leader, they should be interfered with, and if possible by some method which will show up the unworthy leader in his true colours. Fifth, and finally, it should be emphasized that the beautiful task of play, the development of the individual to full manhood or womanhood by means of an all-round exercise of his or her capacities, is retarded by restriction to one particular form of play. The prevalence of daydreaming is an instance of such injurious one-sidedness. When a child becomes absorbed in solitary musing (see the youthful reminiscences of George Sand), he should be aroused by application to useful occupation or by social stimuli which bring him in every possible way into contact with the external world. Even the noble gift of imagination may from overindulgence degenerate into a deadly poison.