Pronoia Is Not Just About Being Nice

The Importance of Being Playful

Playing, whether doing the Charleston, kicking a soccer ball or even curling up with a good book, is healthy for kids and adults alike. It yields both physical and mental health benefits, say experts such as Stuart Brown, a Carmel Valley psychiatrist and a leading expert in the field of play.

Play’s opposite is not work, but depression, he said.

“There are consequences in adulthood when we don’t engage in getting into a state of play,” Brown said. “That means we’re less flexible, less adaptive, less resilient and poorer stress managers.”

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Pretty Much All Play Is Pronoiac

Bottlenose dolphins playing with humpback whales

I’d like to introduce a paper published last year in the journal Aquatic Mammals, which reports on two separate playful and – as you’ll see – uplifting encounters between bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).

The first took place on a January afternoon off the northwest coast of Kauai, when a group of eight bottlenose dolphins met up with a pair of humpback whales. Two of the dolphins — apparently adults — approached one of the whales, first appearing to surf the pressure wave created by the whale’s head as it swam, and later taking turns lying perpendicularly across the whale’s rostrum when it surfaced to breathe. Then, while one of the dolphins lay balanced over the end of its rostrum, the whale stopped and slowly lifted the dolphin high into the air. The dolphin maintained an arched position and made no effort to escape, allowing the whale to continue lifting until it was nearly vertical in the water, at which point the dolphin slid down the whale’s rostrum, dove into the water, and porpoised back to its fellow dolphins.