Friday, June 8, 2012

Fun

Very well:

"Fun is the enjoyment of pleasure ... Fun may be encountered in many human activities during work, social functions, recreation and play, and even seemingly mundane activities of daily living.  Fun may often have little or no logical basis, and opinions on whether or not an activity is fun may differ.  The distinction between enjoyment and fun is difficult to articulate but real, fun being a more spontaneous, playful or active event."

Remembering that pleasure is a positive feedback mechanism, either mental or physical, and that it is rarely something we can "force" ourselves to experience, it should be evident to anyone who can read and keep definitions of words in their head that "fun" is descriptive of activity which does not depend upon deep thought.  Any moron can have fun.  Anyone having fun usually has the volume of their mental activity tuned to moron.  This is a good thing.  We can't use our brains all the time - and not using our brains can be a fucking riot.

"Fun," however, is tempermental, unreliable, inconsistent and most of all, exhausting.  Fun is NOT addictive.  The more fun you have, the less fun you want.  If a particular activity is fun for you, and you chance to do it as much as you want, it ceases to be fun.  Rushing out to ski in the mountains every weekend is fun - it is a welcome break from your crummy, annoying, stress-driven job, and as long as you have that job, getting the fuck away from it and flying down a mountain is fun.

It loses its appeal, however, when skiing becomes your crummy, annoying, stress-driven job, because you landed work at a chalet for eight months.  The "fun" part of it dies.  That's why a lot of ski-fanatics get spiritual; they lose their giddiness and replace it with something more consuming.

Some people think that won't happen to them.  Some people stupidly think that if they can get a job doing the thing they really love to do on the weekends with their mates, it will be the BEST ... THING ... EVER.  Such people are usually very young.  Such people usually hate everything except the one thing they think is fun.

Consider addictions and addictive behaviors.  Smoking is not fun.  Heroin is not fun.  The 300 million people crawling from bed every morning to wrestle with the coffee machine are not being playful.  Coffee is serious fucking business.  Get between me and my coffee at certain hours of the day and you'll find out just how goddamn serious it is.

Companies do not sell coffee based on its fun-factor.  People shooting up heroin do not usually bounce around with joy.  The pathetic createres haunting the porticos of office buildings are not gleefully taking drag after drag.  Addiction is not fun.  It is more important than fun.

Dungeons and Dragons is addictive.  It can be fun.  If it is continuously fun, without breaks for more serious elements of the game, it rapidly becomes stupid and tiresome.  Players who insist that everything the DM says must be transformed into something fun are the most fucking annoying people players have ever been cursed with.  "Fun"-driven campaigns are lively and wonderful for a night or two ... but the appeal soon wanes.

There is no substance in fun.  It is crash and flash, it releases energy, it smooths out the vicissitudes of life and it is absolutely necessary for sanity.  But it's empty.  We have libraries full of books describing how empty fun is.  There will always be an element too dumb and inexperienced to know this; there will always be some lid-banger shouting how important it is that the inclusion of fun must not be forgotten.

This in light of the fact that fun is EASY.  Surprisingly, it is particularly easy for people with intellect.  The creation of fun is like shooting fish in a barrel.  There is fun in everything.  There is fun everywhere.  Nothing EVER has to be pre-planned to include fun.  In fact, pre-planning is the worst thing that can be done.  Fun will occur spontaneously without anyone's conscious help, because that is the way human beings are built.

So when I say, don't fucking design your world to include fun, I mean don't fucking design your world to have something that doesn't need design.

To all the dumb, blind losers out there who just don't get it ... fun doesn't need your help.  Fun has never needed your help.  And if you think it always has, then you're too dumb to know you're the least fun person among the group of morons you hang with.

And they all know it.

2 comments:

Butch said...

Interestingly, I was just reading about this study from several years ago. They divided a group of pre-school students into three groups and had them draw pictures -- something they routinely did for fun anyway.

The first group was told they'd be given certificates if they drew pictures; the second group wasn't told anything, but were given certificates as a surprise after they were finished; and the third group received nothing.

Then they watched the children over the next several days to see if they would continue drawing as a fun activity on their own. Guess which group drew the least? Yes, the ones who had been promised a reward. Those who got the surprise reward and those who got nothing spent twice as much time drawing as those who had been in the first group.

Alexis said...

The question is, Butch, whether they spent twice as much time drawing because it was fun, or because the spiritual reward they received from the activity was less marred by the inculcation of critical merit.

Moreover, does it even matter to ADULTS who draw in order to receive merit (rewards) that they have "fun?" I almost never have fun while I'm writing, even when I am being "funny." Writing humour is as humourless as writing anything else - it's about creating the technical associations of words that cause people to laugh ... but I don't laugh as I'm writing. I'm concentrating and my mind is fully occupied.

It's worse if I'm writing specifically for a reward, such as freelance or something that I know will be performed for cash. In that event, I am having so little fun that even being around me becomes intolerable for, well, everyone. But exactness and quality demands such a level of stress that there's no room for fun in the equation. There shouldn't be.

Fun happens when I'm DONE.