Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We all just wanna have fun..

Something weird is going on in our culture. We have only one synonym for happiness - "fun". Everyone wants to have fun.

Fun is pushed on almost every kids channel - no all kids channel TV. All school lessons are expected to be fun. Learning is promoted by telling kids how fun it is. Parents take their kids out to fun days, shopping, eating, playparks, ballpools, fun animal farms and other commercially constructed areas where fun can be had and paid for.  They can go on holiday where organised fun is expected as part of the package - for them too. Nights out must be fun - obligatory. Fun is our most promoted adjective. Observe how often it is used.

How do we know we are having fun? Well laughing, shrieking/screaming, clapping and grinning are taken as symptoms of fun. People having fun are people experiencing happiness it seems. If we are not having fun, we are missing something. Everything in our world tells us to have fun. We are offered manufactured fun constantly. Fun is an industry.

When we are really having fun, the novelty of it causes our brain to release a pleasure chemical that makes us feel good. It makes us healthy too. Fun is an important aspect of life - a necessity almost.

Fun is transitory, lighthearted. When we aren't having it and think we need it, we are offered more - for a price usually. And we become pleasure seekers, addicts really, paying for another shot of fun. When we are having fun, time flies. We can forget reality. Reality is not fun.

Yet reality is where happiness lives and happiness is not the same as fun. Happiness is felt along a continuum from contentment, gratitude to bliss. The symptoms of happiness can be imperceptible. And can be felt whilst perfectly still, whilst not outwardly having fun. Happiness is a condition, once discovered, can last a lifetime.

Happiness cannot be bought or sold. But fun is the next best thing, easily sold, easily manufactured and easy to charge for. And everyone wants it.