Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fun Part 2

Fun. It's a word that has no tangible meaning to me. I'm not sure what I am saying when I use the word fun. I guess I mean something that makes me happy and gets me excited. But the word is empty to me. It has meaning for other people that I can see. I use it reflectively and in the preterite tense. I had fun. It is never I am having fun—at least not in a way that I can truly mean it. When I say I am having fun I am really trying to assure people that they need not worry about me. I will do what I want, and I will evaluate whether I had fun later. Fun is a surface word. Something with a generalized meaning and almost no substance. When people say it they don't think about the greater implications of it, they don't evaluate the context of the word. It just is.

That's not bad. It's the nature of such a common word. We have common words that we use like that all the time. Ones where we throw the meaning around without thinking too much about whether that was the appropriate or adequately descriptive word. We don't find the subtle hues between two definitions of words. Soporific, somatic, and sleep-inducing can all be used to largely the same effect. The tragedy of not feeling the neurons that spark in another's mind. Words convey meaning like a venn diagram. In one circle is you, and in the other is me. The meaning behind the words occupies the whole area of understanding, but I can only grasp the portion that is in my circle. And hopefully part of that circle is in your sphere of understanding as well.

Surface words are ones that take up a small portion of the overlapping portion of the diagram. One that everyone can understand in a narrow context. But everyone also understands it in a personal and much more expansive way—the non-overlapping portion of the diagram. And those feelings that go with that word are thus lost on other parties. The word only has a surface meaning. Everyone understands the meaning of the word but not the sentiment behind it.