Analyse the principal definitions and theories relating to friendship and play.

Posted: November 27th, 2013

Principal Definitions and Theories relating to Friendship and Play







Principal Definitions and Theories relating to Friendship and Play

Play is a subject that tests the depths of people’s consciousness and the altitudes of civilization. Play is found in both animals and children and it is found in all societies. It also underlies all forms of culture like philosophy, science, commerce, war and religion just but to name a few. Without the concept of play, the whole world and civilization as we know could be very barbaric. Play is set apart from our daily lives due to its various definitions and characteristics.

Play is a voluntary activity that is not obliged of moral duty or natural necessity; it is not a task either. Play can be said to be superfluous and people can play or not play at any time they want. Play however requires obligation and duty when it comes to have a function that is recognized culturally. It is recognized as a state when people are free from societal constrictions. Play only acquires urgency because of the enjoyment it brings and the joy of play makes it bring freedom. It is a break in the normal living of human beings. When children are playing, they are in a temporary sphere that has a separate outlook. Though children play with a lot of pretension, this does not clear their play from acquiring seriousness and devotion that brings out the true sweetness in the play. Sadly, the playtime in children’s lives is being continually offset by the seriousness that man has brought in the life of the little ones. Education, domestic responsibilities and abuse has taken up very important time in the life of a child, which is playtime (Huizinga, 1955).

To a child, seriousness is a version of play that is serious; therefore, they take everything in life as play but of different types and versions. Play compliments a child’s life; it adorns their life and amplifies it to the extent that it becomes a necessity for both themselves and the society due to its importance. Play however does not qualify as a basic need but serves as an external need to the basic ones. It serves to promote the community, a fact that is not necessary for survival. This is because play is secluded. This means that play is limited; it expresses itself only within boundaries of time and space that are well defined. Play occurs in playgrounds and fields that are marked materially beforehand suggesting that they were meant for that purpose. The meaning of play and the course it takes are contained in itself; when play begins, it goes on over at a certain time. Inside the marked off areas, play has its own order that it creates and demands.

Play’s affinity with order makes it comparable to beauty; this is because all descriptions of beauty, poise, balance, tension, variation and contrast, all describe the power of play, which is quite captivating. Play gives those who are in it a feeling of either being together or being apart. Players withdraw from their normal lives and forget its constrictions, norms, and quest to achieve the magic that is involved. Play is only possible when done communally. This is because players come together, forget their ordinary lives, and suspend their lives to enjoy the sacredness of play.

On the other hand, friendship has no firmly agreed criteria to what makes a person a friend. In one setting, a person may be described as a friend while in another the definition may seem less befitting of the individual. A few people have come up with the definitions of friendship. For instance, one such definition suggests that friends must experience the enjoyment of each other’s company. Moreover, friends must have a common commitment towards good and they must be useful to each other. Many writers from the west describe friendship as a voluntary and private happening between individuals. This definition suggests that friendship happens between two individuals on an equal ground (Aristotle, 1976).

Friendships are described to be of three types; genuine friendships, and others based on either pleasure or mutual usefulness. Genuine friendship does not end easily and it occurs between good men who wish good for each other but the other two last for as long as the pleasure and utility are present. Those who desire good for each other are the only people who can make good friends. Friendship is an implied virtue that is very necessary for living. Man could live without so many things but friendship is not one of them. Every person desires having people they call their friends.

The friendship that is based on utility is impermanent and it changes along with the different circumstances. With the disappearance of the utility, which is the ground for this friendship, the friendship ends. This kind of friendship is mostly common between the old and middle-aged people as in their lives they seek more utility than pleasure from other people. Such friends spend time with each other, as they may not like one another as friends but as mutual partners in a business for instance. Friendships that are based on pleasure are common in the young generation. Those that are between young people are mostly grounded on pleasure because the lives of the young people are mostly based on feelings. The main interest of a young person is in his or her own pleasure and opportunities that occur in the moment (Aristotle, 1976).

Young people, especially the children, change their tastes very rapidly and therefore their friendships are made and broken quite randomly. The affections that they have are very different and they change along with their different tastes. These tastes and pleasures also change quite rapidly. The young fall in love very often and this is because their feelings are not clearly defined and they frequently confuse infatuation with love. They fall in love quite often and like spending the day together as this is how they realize the object of their friendship. There are friendships that are based on goodness. These are the healthy kinds of friendships and are between good people who are both good. These people wish the best for each other and love one another for who they truly are. This friendship lasts as long as the people remain good and since goodness is an enduring quality, this friendship seldom ends. These friends please each other since they see the good in each other and each person is pleased with the other’s good and their own good. Therefore, it is safe to say that only in good people can there be found true friendship and love.





















Aristotle. (1976). The Nicomachen Ethics. London: Penguin.

Huizinga, J. (1955). Homo Ludens: a study of the play element in culture. Boston, MA: Beacon.


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