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To truly appreciate the importance – yes, importance – of candy, we have to look at the importance of fun. The idea of fun seems simple… we enjoy ourselves! And fun should be simple, but like everything else, it isn’t. Americans have a difficult time accepting and, even, enjoying fun without an overlay of guilt or the need to justify that having fun, in that particular instance, is okay. We compartmentalize fun in increments of time such as that paltry break, or vacation time, or the odd festive occasions such as a wedding.
This ethos is brought to you by the Puritan aka Protestant ethic from which our nation was founded: work, discipline, and adherence to strict laws of behavior were more than a good idea. They were the difference between the likelihood of being one of God’s Elect, meaning you would be gifted with eternal life, or not. Many consider capitalism, the bedrock of our economic system, a product of the Puritan work ethic: make money and reinvest the money you have made into making more money and – by the way – borrow money to make money which you pay back by making money to make more money…
Of course, some fun events offer hard work-related perks. For kids, playing games such as soccer or baseball is fun and that’s the primary reason they do it. Other perks include a stronger, healthier body thanks to all that running around, and skills such as being a team-player or developing a competitive nature, both of which, I must add, make them better workers and make their parents ever happier that they’re doing it.
Conversely, many people have fun at work. But even these activities, aren’t fun per se. There’s a difference. We have fun doing them, yes, but we don’t do them just because they’re fun. These activities are justifiable and manageable, with an end-result which is not to have a great time. Not that there’s anything wrong with these activities. I for one, can testify to their importance – I love work. Even writing this blog makes me happy!
Fun, the opposite of work – it’s something we do simply because we enjoy it. Going to parties – fun. Going to plays, movies – fun. Carnivals and fairs – fun. The beach, a cabin in the woods, a vacation, any vacation, fun, fun, fun. Candy? Oh yeah, fun. The quintessential embodiment of fun. That being the case – when it comes to candy, we’re suspicious.
Here’s the reality: we need fun. Just about any health care worker from a massage therapist to a surgeon knows that a positive attitude, a sense of joy or well-being keeps the surgical knife away. And should the worst happen, it makes the bumpy road to recovery that much faster. The world of thinking, i.e., books, articles, and blogs, are avalanched with messages about the power of positive thinking, the importance of de-stressing, and thousands of ways to help yourself feel good.
Psychology today offers up these additional advantages. This is but a summary – you can get the full story here: The Superpowers of Candy | Psychology Today
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