All Work and No Play Make The Baining The Most Boring People on Earth

Meet the Baining, an indigenous tribe in Papua New Guinea who has the unusual claim of being the most boring people on Earth:

According to [anthropologist Jane Fajans], the Baining eschew everything that they see as “natural” and value activities and products that come from “work,” which they view as the opposite of play. Work, to them, is effort expended to overcome or resist the natural. To behave naturally is to them tantamount to behaving as an animal. The Baining say, “We are human because we work.” The tasks that make them human, in their view, are those of turning natural products (plants, animals, and babies) into human products (crops, livestock, and civilized human beings) through effortful work (cultivation, domestication, and disciplined childrearing).

The Baining believe, quite correctly, that play is the natural activity of children, and precisely for that reason they do what they can to discourage or prevent it. They refer to children’s play as “splashing in the mud,” an activity of pigs, not appropriate for humans. They do not allow infants to crawl and explore on their own. When one tries to do so an adult picks it up and restrains it. Beyond infancy, children are encouraged or coerced to spend their days working and are often punished—sometimes by such harsh means as shoving the child’s hand into the fire—for playing. On those occasions when Fajans did get an adult to talk about his or her childhood, the narrative was typically about the challenge of embracing work and overcoming the shameful desire to play. Part of the reason the Baining are reluctant to talk about themselves, apparently, derives from their strong sense of shame about their natural drives and desires.

Link - via Kottke


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Sounds like my Catholic Grandma

Whenever she would see us playing or being idle she would put us to work raking leaves of pulling weeds because hard work makes the devil sad.
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Nothing like mutilation to set a young kid straight. (Not to mention that play _is_ the child's work, to learn balance, eye-hand coordination, running, climbing, throwing, competition, cooperation, language, and creative problem solving.)

Less "boring" and more "malevolent".
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