Funology is the quasi-science that asserts that fun can be studied, measured and replicated through experiments. Funological test beds include parties and festivals, where concepts can be analyzed and metrics can be applied to monitor the success of the tools and techniques employed.
Funology is a non-academic adventure in applied memetics. The theory is that festivals and parties can have significant self replicating cultural aspects and that the identification and description of these aspects, properly applied, will improve future events. A central part of funology work is capturing and chronicling social/cultural tools which build cohesion and intimacy between people at group events.
Part of the rationale for working in funology as serious pursuit is that unfunded non-empirical studies indicate that the vast majority of US Americans in their self description consider themselves “a fun person” or that they have “a good sense of humor” or that an important thing in their life is to “have fun”, yet there remains no academic field to understand this near universal aspect of most peoples self claimed identity.
Funology metrics are the various measures designed to quantify the amount of fun which was had at a particular event. Funologists as questions about specific events including:
- How many people started new romantic relationships?
- What fraction of those attending would come to a similar event in 6 months?
- Did participants express genuine appreciation to the organizers for the event?
- Was there communication/interaction between people who normally do not?
- Did participants behave in manners that are significantly outside of their normal patterns?
- Was any on-going project or single other activity born out of this event?
Funological debates include the oft used festival concept of Leave No Trace (LNT). LNT asserts that after the event is completed there should be a serious clean up effort (ideally by the participants) that removes from the site all indications that the event took place. This is a key operating principal of the Rainbow Gathering and Burning Man festivals. And while this principal is elegant and oft legally required (as in these events which happen on public land), it leaves subsequent festival organizers in the place of having to rebuild the infrastructure from nothing. Alternatively, gatherings like the Oregon Country Fair maintain the same site year after year and continue to build it up making subsequent years set up easier and permitting the continued expansion of the event without a growing build up camp.
The Villages in the Sky festivals are the first attempt at designing a self replication focused event which carries political message and content as part of its design.
Another funological debate is around massive parallelism in parties. Some argue that a good event has lots of different activities happening much of the time, so that participants can move away from anything which does not seem like enjoyable at that moment. Others argue that this type of parallelism creates a tension in participants who don’t know if they are in the right place and are unable to settle down an enjoy what is happening around them, for fear that there is “more fun happening somewhere else” and they just need to change rooms to find it.
There are persistent rumors about an Emma Goldman Institute for Theoretical and Applied Funology . Extensive investigations have revealed this appears to be an elaborate fiction which lurks in the minds alone of a dubious collection of twisted thinkers. To the best of our knowledge no such institute physically exists, despite repeated claims to the contrary.
Return to main Contagious-Tales page