“No behavioral concept has proven more ill-defined, elusive, controversial, and even unfashionaable.”
—E. O. Wilson (1975)
“it is evident that a very important stage in this evolution [of play signalling] occurs when the organism gradually ceases to respond quite automatically … and becomes able to recognize the sign as a signal: that is, to recognize that the other individual's and its own signals are only signals, which can be trusted, distrusted, falsified, denied, amplified, corrected, and so forth.”
In both play and proto-planning, your mental machinery has to somehow recreate mental states corresponding to situations that are not actually present, and similarly feign mock versions of the actions that would normally respond to them.
Huizinga, Homo Ludens
“civilization arises and unfolds in and as play. ”
“Now in myth and ritual the great instinctive forces of civilized life have their origin: law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom, and science. All are rooted in the primaeval soil of play.”