Why it is important to embrace Being Fun

Being Fun is important to mental fitness; instead of finding happiness in an approach to life dominated by having fun; real happiness is found in living life orientated towards being fun.

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Fun is a strange word. We all know what we mean by fun, but it is tough to define it; each of us will explain it differently. As part of my research, I looked back over time to understand was meant by fun and how we use it now. What emerged was two different approaches to engaging with fun which I described as Having-Fun and Being-Fun.

In Having-Fun, we emphasise the role of short-lived emotions and instant gratification. Now there is nothing wrong with having fun, but when having fun becomes the central focus of our life, if we exist only to have fun (Having-Fun), fun itself becomes harmful. We become self-centred, fusing on what we want to the exclusion of others. Effectively, we become addicted to fun, with all the usual warnings that come with addictions.

In a Having-Fun orientation, we are little more than individuals; Being-Fun is how we develop towards being human persons. When we are oriented towards Being-Fun, we focus on our personal and professional, emotional and intellectual development as a human person for the common good.

The division between Individuals and Persons is important and reflects a historical understanding of what makes us different. For the ancients, as Individuals, we are little more than objects under the control and influence of other forces (cosmic, ethical or historical). As Individuals, we are no different to rocks, plants or other animals. However, all that changes when we become develop as Persons. Through our creativity, our struggle for liberty and our ability to reason we become a unique person (Maritain, 1946; Gracia, 1991). Although as a human being, we need both aspects, the Person should be in the ascendancy; this is achieved by being oriented towards Being-Fun.

If we live our life orientated towards Having-Fun, our life is controlled by others who suggest our life cannot be complete without their ‘fun’ products. What is really happening is that we become standardised, losing what differentiates us not only from the other orders of creation but also from other human beings.

An Individual is an animate being seeking to satisfy its immediate needs without recourse to reflection or reason; no longer caring about creating; perpetually trapped in Freud’s oral stage of development – simply consuming. The individual acts on instinct, bound by processes, procedures, or a tasks list at work (servile work)— trying to exercise control over the only thing we think we can influence, what we can consume.

However, even what we consume is not always within our own control!

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Why it is important to embrace being fun