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Reply To: Cunneware’s Laugh: The Enticement of Delight,” with Leigh Melander, Ph.D.”



If you don’t mind, perhaps this quote will help set the tone for the question you are posing to Leigh:

Furthermore, the old in many societies spend a considerable part of their time playing with and taking care of the youngsters, while the parents delve and spin: so that the old are returned to the sphere of eternal things not only within but without. And we may take it also, I should think, that the considerable mutual attraction of the very young and the very old may derive something from their common, secret knowledge that it is they, and not the busy generation between, who are concerned with a poetic play that is eternal and truly wise.” (Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Vol. I: Primitive Mythology, 2021 Collected Works Edition, 114)

The Prologue to Primitive Mythology, along with Part One (“The Psychology of Myth”) should be essential reading for every Campbellophile: here Campbell focuses on the relationship of play to the origins of myth and ritual, drawing on the work of historian Johan Huizinga (author of Homo Ludens – “Man the Player”), among others.