Fun's Fun

My son and I were on one of our rare and most delicious walks through Jerusalem, when we got to talking about fun and flow and the connections and differences, not only between fun and flow, but also between the various kinds of fun, the degrees of flow. The more we walked and the further we walked, the clearer we were both able to get, at least about how I see the connections and degrees of it all.

Looking at a relatively simplistic image of flow as described in this article about the implications of flow on the nature of design, or a more recent, and more complex chart from an article about flow in the workplace, it's natural to conclude that among the various forms of flow, there are those which are "higher" and more fun, and those which are "lower," and not so much fun. Like, for example, watching TV, when it's fun, is not really as high or as good or as complete fun as skiing down a mountain, when it is fun.

Fact is, at least as I understand it, fun is fun. Fun is flow. And flow is flow, no matter how high or low it is in the channel. There are the apparently nobler kinds of flow, like those surgeons sometimes experience. And there are the oft-derided baser, more immediately accessible kinds, like those experienced by people who chew or smoke for fun. There are forms of flow that seem more like fun, like riding a roller coaster, and forms of fun that seem less like flow, like collecting stamps. But the whole point is that when chewing gum is fun, it's just as much fun as bungee jumping - when bungee jumping is fun. That's the big contribution of this whole idea of flow. Rock climbing or rock dancing, the joy, when it's joyful, is just as joyous, just as all-embracing, just as time- and mind-transcendent.

And what we were able to conclude in our most fun and flowful walk of ours was this: For me, flow is fun. And fun is fun. My playful path is not at all about having deeper fun, or looking for fun that's more major, or trying to identify the particular flavor of fun that is most profoundly and deliciously flow-like. It's about finding the kinds of fun that are fun for me, whatever they are - the kinds that are most reliably, most deeply, most thoroughly fun - and having them, living them, entirely, whenever I can, for however long they are fun for me. And most often, it appears to me that those kinds of fun tend to be the kinds of fun I can share with you, my son, and you, too, my cherished reader.



from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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Blogger Yehuda said...

Sounds like you're wandering into Raph Koster's territory in his book A Theory of Fun.

Yehuda

 
Blogger Bernie said...

Actually, Ralph and I have both been wandering and wondering in this territory for quite some time. My first effort was my "Well-Played Game" - published in 1978. And I believe I've noticed your presence in the said same territory more than several times....

 

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