Music player

Homo Ludens


A Happier age than ours once made bold to call our species by the name of Homo Sapiens. In the course of time we have come to realize that we are not so reasonable after all as the Eighteenth Century, with its worship of reason and its naive optimism thought us; hence modern fashion inclines to designate our species as Homo Faber, Man the Maker.


Homo Ludens, Man the Player, deserves a place in our nomenclature.

p. ix.


"In play there is something 'at play' which transcends the immediate needs of life and imparts meaning to the action. All play means something. If we call the active principle that makes up the essence of play, 'instinct', we explain nothing; if we call it 'mind' or 'will' we say too much. However we may regard it, the very fact that play has meaning implies and non-materialistic quality in the nature of the thing itself."

p. 1.


"Play cannot be denied. You can deny, if you like, nearly all abstractions: justice, beauty, truth, goodness, mind, God. You can deny seriousness, but not play."


"Play only becomes possible, thinkable and understandable when an influx of mind breaks down the absolute determinism of the cosmos."

p. 3.

"The very existence of play continually confirms the supra-logical nature of the human situation. Animals play so they must be more than simply mechanical things. We play and know we play, so we must be more than merely rational beings, for play is irrational."

pp. 3-4.


Johan Hiuzinga, Homo Ludens, June 1938