Are You Having Fun Yet?

Fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brighton Science Festival | 7th September 2017 | Are You Having Fun Yet?

I went along thinking it would be good to hear what someone had to say about fun and all credit to Ben Fincham who was highly engaging, charasmatic and fun!

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  1. Is fun a bi product pertaining to other areas of life or is it something in and of itself?
  2. Happiness is often conflated with Wellbeing (ref National Happiness Index 2010). Does fun have a part to play in our happiness and wellbeing?

 

WHAT IS FUN?

  • Moments of levity with someone
  • Usually not work connected
  • Often alleviates the beasts of monotony

 

ETYMOLOGY

The use of the word “Fun” has evolved over the years:

  • 17th Century: Usually referred to cheating or a swindle(r)
  • 18th Century: Usually referred to lower classes. Often subversive
  • 19th Century: Working class subversion; not doing what your boss tells you
  • 20th Century: Exciting goings on. Post WW2, fun becomes an important part of who you are and characterised how someone lived in the moment. Previously, the sophisticated classes took pleasure in something
  • Modern Day: Social media focuses and accentuates fun

 

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF FUN?

  • Temporality: a deviation from the norm, very much in the here and now
  • A temporary alleviation of responsibility or anticipation
  • Distraction: where the focus is on the fun experience and not what preceded it

 

CHILDHOOD FUN (uninhibited/public)

Some of the most common references mentioned by children:

  • Outdoors
  • Water
  • Play

 

ADULT FUN (structured and contextualised)

Often adults will say that they don’t have fun, but if they do refer to it, it is usually contextualised as follows:

  • Talking, banter, laughter
  • Holiday, sports, travel
  • Grandparent inter-actions with grandchildren

 

The Schema of Fun -v- Pleasure

Ben Fincham referred to fun being on a scale with Pleasure.

Where Pleasure conveys some degree of committment and dedication, Fun is instantaneous and flippant:

  • Fun > Pleasure
  • Trivia > Relevance
  • Repetition > Progression
  • Spectacle > Aesthetic
  • Transgression > Commitment

 

OBSERVATIONS OF FUN

  • Inhibition interrupts adults having fun. Fincham made a point that inhibition is taught with levels of  seriousness increasing through the life cycles process
  • Adult fun usually involves cutting lose of those inhibitive norms/contexts – eg. Friday, holiday, pub, etc
  • Drugs/alcohol are often mentioned alongside adult fun; providing a forced context within which to have fun
  • Not having fun is pretty much part of the normal day to day
  • Life Satisfaction levels show a massive dip between the ages of  40-59 (ref: ONS)
  • Happiness levels also dip, as above
  • Anxiety levels shoot up through the course of the life cycle process
  • More social responsibilities result in lower levels of fun and happiness all round
  • Notably, all levels of happiness improved in the 65+ age groups; Responsibility, commitment and anxiety alll reduced after 65

 

HOW TO HAVE FUN

  • Having fewer worries aids happiness
  • Allow space to have moments to be spontaneous – just like children
  • It can be good not knowing outcomes (just like children). It is the unexpected that matters
  • Acknowledge fun. Be naughty (transgress the power norms)

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