Having Fun Is Trad

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It has come to my attention that e-trads have been crusading against fun. Interestingly they do so on the Internet, which is a curious choice of battleground for such a subject. I have absolutely no idea why they are doing this or what they think they will achieve. The most confusing detail of this trend is that having fun is in fact trad so what’s with the intentional friendly fire?

These days people either treat fun as a part of everyday life (which it is), as an excuse to waste their time (addiction cope) or as an evil to be conquered (the cringe take). It’s incredibly strange to see the latter take from people that call themselves ’traditionalists’ as these are the very same people that strive to return to some kind of societal normality. In normal societies people had fun.

History is full of examples of people having fun, be it feasting with friends and neighbors or dancing around a fire or in a ballroom. One could argue that these traditional forms of fun don’t exist anymore, they would be wrong of course. Quite commonly you will find if you try hard to look in the first place that there are plenty of opportunities to do these things already and if that somehow yields zero results for you then the problem is that you aren’t organising it yourself. However this doesn’t explain the aversion to fun that a lot of trads seem to have developed recently.

I think the real problem that some of these people have isn’t people having fun, it’s the ways that people have fun. Particularly the habit forming excesses of it that lead to a loss of enjoyment but an addictive desire that compels participation when any joy to be found is already dead. So is the issue that fun is bad or that having fun is no longer fun? I’d wager it’s the latter.

A good example of habit forming fun is video games, they are formulaic in design, particularly to extract as much of your time as possible. Where is the fun to be found when these video games become a part time (or even a full time) job? If you have to commit yourself to something that used to be possible to just pick up and play you will find yourself drained of enjoyment very quickly.

A major problem with people playing video games is excess. People play them way too much, they revolve their lives around them until they stop being fun and become a chore. They play these video games alone in their bedroom for hours or even days at a time in some cases and what do they get out of it? An ever decreasing dopamine rush when the shiny and sparkly effects flare off when you do the same chore (and that is what a lot of video game content is these days) for the thousandth time.

There’s nothing wrong with having some fun on your own of course, I find myself enjoying a book quite often. Books are trad right?

It’s not just video games that masquerade as fun whilst in actual fact being nothing more than addictive distraction. Television, YouTube, TikTok, etc all fulfill this role as well. Since consumption of these is entirely passive the victims of addiction don’t even need to think about anything.

So let’s make a distinction between fun and distraction.

Fun is when you enjoy yourself. A distraction is when you occupy your time. To quote anti-gambling PSAs “when the fun stops STOP!”.

You don’t owe distractions any of your time, that time belong to you.

Traditionally when someone had free time they spent it with other people, or learning a new skill, reading a book or just getting in some extra rest. Fun was enjoyable in the moment and benefited you in some way as well.

Fun is an ancient and primordial experience that has been twisted and turned into a control mechanism, you can reject it any time you want.

I’m not saying you can’t have fun playing video games, or watching YouTube, etc but you have to be aware that they are built on algorithms and design standards to keep you engaged with them and not with something else. Time is money and they are draining you of it.

At a bare minimum if you want to have fun find a hobby. Dedicate time to it every week, if after a while you don’t enjoy it then find a new one. Repeat this until you are having fun. Don’t fall for the trap of wasting time to pass time.

Your grandfathers went to the pub, the tavern and the mead hall on Thunorsday. You sit on a couch. Who do you think had more fun?

The problem isn’t fun, the problem is a lack of fun.