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The Museum of Vestigial Desire


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Enjoyment is necessary but it offers a break from ordinary life that is largely not enjoyable. Life engulfs, sucks us in, spits us out and we have nothing to show for it. There is no reward at the end. there is no bonus for behaving. So we might as well have fun, while we are here.

Fun is not a shared, universal concept. It is difficult to figure out what kind of fun to have and how to have it. Because fun is just about making a transition from the current frame temporarily and not actually about establishing a base anywhere else, it is a rather fleeting emotion. It is not the scene, it is just the transition. And the transition is not of consistent quality. sometimes it is blur, sometimes it is a high-contrast photograph. How does fun become a state rather than an event? To become a state it will have to become standardized in its description. The same set of parameters should mean the same thing. The margin for variation should be minimal. Only then the sentiment can be shared more widely.

Enjoyment is also a letting down of defense and an openness towards minor damage. If the edges do not get chipped, it is obvious that the furniture has not been moved around much. Fun encourages strength. The exhibition of strength in being able to deal with new situations relentlessly. And life itself is not so kind. Life is punishing in its routines. The way most people manage to survive at all is by cultivating habits and routines and by allowing dullness to scrape their senses. So if life is the continuous propagation of narrative, then fun is the break in narrative. It is the windows on its surface that open out into uneven, unexpected landscape. Over the course of life, one of the process that unravels is the deflation of enthusiasm to ever open the windows again. There is a loss of desire. If not with time, if not with the onset of old life, then definitely with the degradation of the human body that ensues. Fun is inconsolably aligned with youth. And youth is impossible. No matter how old you are, youth is either in the past or in the future. It is either past or not yet arrived. And if the spirit of youth is a pre-condition for fun, no one ever has any fun because no one is ever young any more. We are always past our prime or not ripe yet. Fun needs to be qualified as fun-enough because fun can’t be had without a price. It’s not about the money, but about trade - about exchange. You have to give something to get nothing. You cannot give nothing to get nothing. There is no sense of injustice involved in the latter, there is no suffering involved. For some strange reason, the agents of fun feel the need to make us suffer. Just because we want to have a little bit of fun.

So, in order to render this situation in a more functional form, we have to do away with the idea of fun all together. We want to translate enjoyment to something else that is less in demand. With a word so much of a popular item as fun, we need to do away with it. Which word would do?

Much more important to dismantle is the idea that fun is available only at certain times. That it is an emotion and not a state. States can be comfortable to settle in, emotions are imagined to be fragile bubbles. So let’s diffuse the idea of enjoyment. Once we diffuse it, we do not have any idea of enjoyment any more. Instead of fun only being a spike on a graph, it is the nature of the landscape now.

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