Those societies in which seriousness, tradition, conformity and adherence to long-established - often god-prescribed - ways of doing things are the strictly enforced rule, have always been the majority across time and throughout the world. Such people are not known for their sense of humour and lightness of touch; they rarely break a smile. To them, change is always suspect and usually damnable, and they hardly ever contribute to human development. By contrast, social, artistic and scientific progress as well as technological advance are most evident where the ruling culture and ideology give men and women permission to play, whether with ideas, beliefs, principles or materials. And where playful science changes people's understanding of the way the physical world works, political change, even revolution, is rarely far behind
Anyone who has ever watched children amuse themselves will recognize that the scientific and technological face of civilization is precisely the result of play in its purest form. Just as children are constantly exploring, experimenting, testing and trying things out, for no conscious purpose except the sheer enjoyment of the game itself, so pure science and applied technology play with ideas and toy with the principles and substance of the world; all the time wondering ‘just suppose…’ and asking ‘what happens if…?