Learning & Play: You Have to Want It


Learning & Play: You Have to Want It

Dare Carrasquillo


“But because we do not have real robust diverse communities of care, with diverse multicultural behaviors of coherence, we are instead siloed into capitalist bubbles of individuals, each person burdened with the weight of a thousand inaccurate concepts.”


I’ve said a lot of things.
I’ll likely say more.
I never believed that just via saying things, that other things, big problems, would change.
However, sometimes the reader or listener is catalyzed by the words.
This catalyzation is a spark that activates a nascent sensing in the body, mind and spirit.
But what determines who is catalyzed and how?

There is a factor that might only be called “wanting it”, or “hitting rock bottom”.

For this kind of person, the kind of person I am, the kind of person i have been, words are easily seen as mostly pointless deceptions uttered by oppressed and desperate people. Occasionally, someone writes or utters something that can feel like a lightning bolt of wisdom, a temporary poetics that lives despite its captor’s best efforts. Sometimes those kinds of words are on purpose, cultivated by the author or speaker, because they found some kind of wellspring and want to share with others. Sometimes, the words are accidental, miracles of nature, the wisdom existing only in that moment of encounter due to the neurons hitting the spirit just right.

And sometimes, it’s a mixture.

For all the wise words in the world, why then is society so unbelievably barbaric and violent? Why are we at odds with ever other living being? Why do we struggle for even the meager-est of essential nutrients, the toxic scraps of an anti-culture?

Words alone, strung together in epic combinations, do not change behaviors. Words are like dust. They just happen. They contain the potential for magical effects, yet they can just as easily ruin one’s life.


All my life, I have attempted to be the kind of person I needed but did not have.

I have not become a parent or caregiver. I have not become the kind of person with a ton of patience. I have scraped and clawed my way towards post traumatic growth, while many people seem to cower in the corners they are accustomed to. Trauma effects people differently of course, and there are many people that might require extreme re-parenting and re-maturing assistance. However, as a chronically ill and poor person, I did and do not have the luxury of waiting for saviors, of taking my sweet time “healing”. I have a limited window before my immune system totally stops working. I have been conned, manipulated, grifted, abused and otherwise treated poorly by many different kinds of people and systems.

I do not pretend that humans are somehow “good” or “evil”, or that we are just one step away from some miracle cure for societal oppression.

I am here to get to the point.

Faster, better ways to get to the point, Now. Because the point is the point. I’m not really interested in anything else, even if it’s good for you.

I think people need to understand that we each need different setups for learning and doing and being, and that those setups are at times so unique, that they are no one else’s responsibility to provide. This means that to really GET IN THE GAME, we each have to take responsibility for what we need to do to be able to show up, to learn and to play. No teacher or mentor can provide for you that piece of the puzzle that is ours to provide. No one else can substitute our own determination and desire. No one else can take those leaps of faith for us. No one else can request what we need for us. No one else can summon up the audacity to make the move that only we can make.


If everyone can agree that play is learning and learning is play (there are entire academic fields that revolve around Ludic methodologies and pedagogies), then I would have to question why learning in the west, which includes post traumatic growth, is overly serious to the point of morbidity.

The indoctrination of the western worldview is still the number one impediment to having a good time. We can have a good time even when we are in pain. But because we do not have real robust diverse communities of care, with diverse multicultural behaviors of coherence, we are instead siloed into capitalist bubbles of individuals, each person burdened with the weight of a thousand inaccurate concepts.

Both learning and playing are state-based. That means that the behaviors and outcome of both learning and play happen when the internal conditions & attitude, i.e. state, of a person reach a certain threshold for learning/play to occur. This state is not accidental, but can be trained on purpose.

To learn something one must want to learn it. We may want to learn it simply because doing so will improve our quality of life. If the thing didn’t do so, we wouldn’t care enough to learn. These kinds of learnings are based in survival. We learn to cook because we have to eat, and cooking makes eating better. We learn to wear clothes because it’s safer to do so, and then we add fashion to that because fashion makes us feel good, but also affects the way others treat us.

Some things we learn only because we are interested in them, and they are not immediately obvious in how they may help us survive. Art is the big one. Art, the investigation of aesthetics, takes a long time to become skillful at in a certain sense. You may be able to survive better because of it (and a life without art would be brutal), but there is a long journey of exploration and learning via play. In this area, we learn because both the process of learning and the potential outcome are valuable.

However, this is where the western culture falls off the rails. The western worldview, and indeed all imperial/colonial/dominator based worldviews, essentially indoctrinate the people as to what is worth learning and what is not. This means that your menu of options is biased, and that many interesting and worthwhile studies are minimized right off the bat.

So when i say something like:

“The roots of theater are the same roots as play, ritual and culturemaking. The essence of performance is such that it is applicable to every aspect of life, because it directly reveals how consciously shifting our states and perceptions via specific actions is the baseline for being human and dialoguing with every aspect of reality. Theater is learning is play is the sacred is animism is collective governance models. Theater and performance are not at their core capitalistic or status seeking endeavors, they are human endeavors that are essential nutrients for consciousness and cooperation itself.”

I am engaged in a culture war against hundreds of years of colonial, imperial psyops that have warped our sense of self and other, divorced us from the land and the commons, and indoctrinated us with fictional concepts such as gender, race and other divisive propaganda.

Theater and performance have already been used against us, for generations, by oligarchs and dominators, to the point that we are mostly unaware of what theater and performance are, what learning and play is.

Like i said, YOU HAVE TO WANT IT, and you have to do it. Amidst a threatening, hostile and ignorant society and culture. You have to want to change your state and discover more of what a human is capable of being. You have to want to break free of your habitual doldrums and stagnant ideas of what things are and how things are. The incessant addiction to fixating on what we don’t like is like bad theater. When a person begins to play with what they don’t like ON PURPOSE, with curiosity, humor, insight and creativity, we reveal the vitality inherent in all reality, especially within the very many social issues we must remedy. We are not imprisoned within a handful of culturally encoded “emotions” or “morals”. There is more to life and being and reality than the limited codes of a brainwashed and oppressed people who have forgotten they are nature itself.

You have to want it, and you have to discover it again and again, now, in any given moment, regardless of external circumstance or internal habit.

Trauma, abuse, PTSD, and the vast litany of diagnoses are not absolute truths. Every indigenous society understands that ‘initiation’ is a kind of trauma that is given to us by the universe in order for us to integrate and become more whole, more nuanced, more complex players in the great game. This is post traumatic growth. This is the only thing that has ever really matured us as humans.


Feature Photo by eleonora on Unsplash

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