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Just by chance I happened to have a bio DVD on Claude Levi-Strauss, the great French anthropologist, and ethnologist, and philosopher…in my Netflix queue. Then on Saturday 8/23 our session got into talking about “Cosplay” and “Anime” and Halloween costumes.

The big question still hanging in the air after our session is, “What is the benefit/ reward/ excitement/ motivation to dress up in costumes, and play roles and personas….. some of which are related to online stories, movies, animes, sci fi movies, sci fi and other books. etc. ???

Why do it?

Saying it’s “fun to do” gets the conversation started, but why is it fun to do?  If we could articulate why it’s fun to do, perhaps we could model it for our SLC and DLE (Defined Learning Experience). And is some of it rewarding in ways we might not describe necessarily as “fun”, but something more “serious”? (not to say we don’t take fun seriously)

Which is where Claude Levi-Strauss comes in, as he studied various indigenous tribes and cultures in places like Brazil’s Amazon rain forests, and he noted the cultures involved a great deal of body decoration and outrageously complex costume wearing, as we are familiar with from indigenous native peoples of the Southwest US. This is also territory covered by another great anthropologist, philosopher, and wise man Joseph Campbell. (Hero with a Thousand Faces).

Legends and books based on legends such as Lord of the Rings also are relevant here.

Bottom line, individuals and groups take on self identification from culture that then gives them meaning and motivation. This motivation from identity is a big part of the motivation for learning and becoming.

IOW, to power learning, individuals and groups need various forms of identity, myth, and story or narrative. Take away a people’s story, or an individual’s source of meaning, and people tend to simply give up on life.

So, might we conclude that Cosplay is a way of creating identity, and thus a meaning and purpose, and motivation... and that because it’s fun to do…it’s an engine that could empower the work of learning.

Which means we need to consult somebody who really groks this Cosplay stuff….like McLuhan groked media, Campbell groked mythos, etc. Maybe someone in our cohort?