What's fun?

Montessori said play is the work of the child. Play is also the work of the artist. Can we get closer to play if we re-label our tools as toys? - Austin Kleon 

From a certain moment on, we stopped having fun. 

Our cameras became a tool to capture beauty. Our knifes, pots and pans, tools to whip up a delicious meal in the kitchen. 

What happened? 

Not long ago they used to be toys we played with. No pressure, just pointing the camera at our parents' direction and snapping away without a care if we got them in the shot. Or cooking an imaginary meal with jigsaw pieces too big for the plastic plate. 

When we drew pretty dresses on paper, a teacher or a grown-up might go, "You'll be a fantastic fashion designer in the future!" I'd probably made that mistake one too many times myself.

Kendra Patterson said we are socialised early to see the productive, money-making possibilities of our activities. It's part of how we survive in our capitalist ecosystem. But let's think about our own participation in this ecosystem. Every time we tell a kid they could turn their fun childhood activities into a career, we are participating. We mean well, of course. We don't realise we are a part of a process of socialization that will eventually steal the joy from creative activities, that eventually leads to not being able to enjoy creativity at all. So let's stop saying that kind of things to kids

How about as adults? 

Kendra says, we often feel guilty about doing something purely for enjoyment. We are constantly on guard against wasting time, getting too distracted, too immersed in our own thing. Gone are the days when we could get lost for hours in our own worlds, building sandcastles and dreaming. Think about it: when was the last time you lost yourself like that, without regard to what people might think, or what you should to be getting done instead? Grownup hobbies often have some kind of productive purpose in mind. For example, sports are fun, but they're exercise, too, fitting them into the ever-popular "self-improvement" category of adult activities. Even hobbies that are mostly for fun or relaxation are fitted into this model by us or others in our lives. So you like sewing? Ever think about opening an Etsy shop? 

What can we do then?

I'd say, let's treat fun how we treat productivity or efficiency. As busy adults, we're often on the look out to find the quickest way to do things, or with minimum effort. 

How about we treat fun equally important? 

What ya'think? 


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