Making Belief


Children have shown us all along, you can MAKE BELIEVE. Bernie DeKoven amplifies that, saying, “You can make belief. ”  

Maybe it’s not about proof or truth after all, this wisdom thing, this knowing of things that we sometimes ascribe to the old and weathered. Maybe it’s about pretending, acting, maybe about assuming that things are already the way we want them to be, the way we want to believe they are.

Like, for example, fun: of things being fundamentally fun, of it all happening just for fun, all and only because of the fun of it all. Truly. Really.

As I wrote a few years back:

Suppose you supposed that the only reason birds sing was the sheer fun of singing, of having songs and the ability to give them voice. Or the fun of discovering themselves suddenly landing on a moving branch in a swaying tree in perfect balance.

Or the fun of knowing that whenever the wind or whim took them, they could take off, and fly.

Suppose you supposed that the only reason you laugh is because it’s fun to laugh. Not because of the endorphins or the health benefits. But only because of the fun. Only because it’s more fun than you can contain.

Suppose the same about squirrels scampering around and inside of trees, or bees buzzing or flowers flowering.

Then every bird you hear, every squirrel or bee or flower you saw would be an invitation to have fun, too. To share the fun. To celebrate the fun.

Suppose we just assume that it’s all for fun, all about fun.

Scientifically, the fun assumption could be shown for what it is. But assuming the birds sing to claim territory? What makes that assumption any more relevant or insightful or useful than the fun assumption? Assuming the squirrels are fighting over potential mates, the bees struggling to be first to sip the nectar, the flower’s only purpose propagation? What makes those assumptions any more valid than the fun one?

Why not, really, why not fun?

What, you like love better? Is that a more reasonable assumption that it’s for love that the birds fly, the squirrels scamper, the flowers flower?

Well, then, yes, love. The sheer love of singing, of laughing. The love of fun. The fun of loving. Or would you rather assume that it’s just life, then? The fun of it all? The exuberance the overflowing with life? The joyful effervescence?

Ultimately, it seems, it’s what you believe it to be. Ultimately, it’s a belief. And the good thing about belief is that it doesn’t need to be true. The only thing required, really, is that you believe it.

And here’s another thing. You can make belief. You can choose to believe that it’s fun or love or life itself that moves the soul to dance, the heart to sing. And knowing that the soul will sing, the heart dance regardless of what you believe the reason to be, you also know that reason itself is beside the point. That the point is the dance, the song.

You can spare yourself the contemplation, the introspection, and ascribe the cause to almost anything. You can choose your belief. Belief is a made thing. You can make belief.

It’s fun. So you might as well believe that fun is the reason. The one real reason. OK, then. Fun, then. Fun is enough.


About Author

Bernie DeKoven

Bernie De Koven is a leading fun theorist who has shown over the course of his 45 year career how fun and playfulness can positively affect every aspect of personal and interpersonal health. Many of the most important trends in games today, from the 1960’s New Games to game apps have roots in Bernie’s influential ideas. He is the author of The Well-Played Game (originally published by Doubleday in 1978 and reissued in 2013 by MIT Press) as well as Junkyard Sports, and A Playful Path (over 640,000 downloads). His CD, Recess for the Soul, became the basis for his newest book, Infinite Playgrounds, to be published by MIT Press. A wealth of insight and extraordinary game resources are available at and


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