In a blog held by a friend, a few weeks ago I read an article that said that the etymology of the word fun comes from Latin diversus, which means different.
That concept stuck in my head. At a superficial glance someone could think that fun, considered as leisure, is a different moment from daily commitments, a liberating moment. I don’t think our language is so shallow and stupid. Maybe we should start with what fun really is. Each of us knows by instinct what it means to have fun, but it is not so easy to describe it in words: a state of well-being? Not enough. A moment of joy? No, because you can actually have fun at work or while studying. In short, what is fun?
If its etymology comes from the word “different” then perhaps we should try to understand its essence better. Maybe it is a change in us, a moment in which we feel participant with others or with what we are doing harmoniously. Time flows faster, we understand what the other is thinking, and what we are doing corresponds deeply to who we are, bringing a lightness which is not superficiality.
So from what I’ve said, it seems that fun has a lot to do with who we are and very little with what we do. In other words, having fun is the is the result of someone’s own identity and not the freedom to do anything we want. Thus, maybe we can have fun doing serious things and not have fun at all in situations where entertainment is just superficial, but we actually feel that something is not right.
Recently, many kids between the age of 14 and 17 met in some squares in Rome to start a massive brawl. I don’t want to make any moral judgments about what happened, but I’d like to understand why. This is certainly not fun, but what happened isn’t freedom either. Freedom to break the rules, violate distance, hurt each other. Violence is not freedom, ever.
So, maybe, to have fun and be free we have to go back to the word different, because different is not only the moment of leisure as opposite to the one of seriousness, but it is something different that comes out unexpectedly: the girl or the boy who moved from far away and now lives near us, the love that blooms suddenly for someone, which we do not understand at all, but which attracts us without knowing why, or the thinking of the night, our dreams, compared to the way we think when we open our eyes in the morning.
If our fun was based on this “different”, then maybe violence wouldn’t be considered fun.
Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article