Two ways of doing something for fun

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I’m interested in fun. However, there are two ways that we can do something in order to have fun.

Sometimes we do something “For fun.” When we do something for fun, fun functions very similarly to “for no reason,” or “on a whim.” One similarity is the way that this explanation for action (I did it for fun) compares to “I did it for no reason” in how they aggregate with other, more traditional reasons.

If I go to the store in order to get some milk, my reason can easily add to another one, say, going to the store to get some eggs. Putting these two reasons together, I can go to the store to get some milk and some eggs. The explanation of “I went to the store for no reason” does not function additively in the same way. I cannot say “I went to the store for no reason and in order to get some eggs.” The fact that I went to the store for no reason excludes going to the store for the reason of getting eggs.

Fun seems to sometimes work in this way. If I say “I went to the store for fun, and also for eggs,” then my feeling is that there is a contradiction. If I went for fun, then I went on a lark and so could not have gone for a purpose.

However, fun can be used to explain an action when it functions more like an ordinary reason. This is usually found with the locution “to have fun.” I went to the store to have fun and get some eggs” or “I went to the store because its fun, and to get eggs.” These reasons can combine in the usual way.

There itself a further wrinkle. I can do the same thing for the same reason, and pick a means that is not optimally efficient for reaching the ends because the action is itself fun. “I’m going to the neighbor’s house to get bread.” “why wouldn’t you just go to the store?” “because its fun to ask the neighbor.”

Notice also that one can append “fun” to any action, however finely specified. One can say “I went to the store because it’s fun” but one can further specify what is fun, as in “I went to the store to buy bread because its fun.” Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine why buying bread would be fun, but anything is possible in this regard. Sometimes we think the weirdest things are fun.


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