Thursday, July 29, 2010

Saving Fun

Have you a moment to cogitate on the subject of language?
No . . . let's be precise . . . have you a moment to cogitate on the subject of words?

Language, I know, is organic. Every day new words come into being whilst others - words that have fallen into neglect - are relinquished. 'Cogitate' is a word in point. It's a beautiful word, but how often do you hear it used? It's almost as though words, like insects, plants and animals, first become scarce, then become endangered, and finally disappear altogether.

A word that I would like to see saved before it follows this path to oblivion is the word
Think about it for a moment, when did you last use the word 'fun'? It's almost as though the word is too innocent, too naive for our complex and sophisticated world.

But if we lose fun we will have lost far more than just a word, we will have lost our capacity for spontaneous pleasure, our lightness of spirit. We will also have lost our trust in the basic goodness of life.

Wouldn't you agree that this is what fun is all about . . . spontaneity and trust? You can't organise fun. You can't fabricate fun or schedule it into your diary. Nor, like 'love', can it be analysed. What's more, fun never takes itself seriously. Like a translucent bubble, it sparkles on the surface of life and makes us smile.
What is fun? Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers. But, if we can't describe it, we certainly recognise it when we see it. With equal certainty, we know when it is absent!

Probably the most important aspect of fun is that it is something in which we participate, it cannot exist on its own. A situation and a person combine to create fun.
Nor is this joyful state the exclusive preserve of human beings. Animals, often wiser than we are, revel in a highly-developed sense of fun.

So . . . what can we do to make our world more environmentally friendly to fun?
We can allow more free time for spontaneous events to occur. We can switch off our anxieties for just a moment, leaving the space for fun to creep in. We can stop being sensible and encourage lightheartedness. We can get down on the floor to play with the children . . . empty cardboard boxes have an unfailing capacity to produce fun. We can dare to be silly . . . or foolish . . . or childlike . . . or just a bit crazy.
Above all, we can trust a little more in the basic goodness of life. Could that be a definition of fun . . . simple goodness enlivened by an infusion of the absurd?

And this is where you come in . . . or I hope you will.
Along with butterflies, bees and the Asian elephant . . . what about having fun saving 'fun'?