Today I present the “Calvinball, Violent Riots, DMV, Dungeons and Dragons” mental model. It mostly speaks for itself, though I have a few things to add:
Many of the plotted items are admittedly subjective. Family traditions are not always enjoyable; not every dictatorial marriage is a bad marriage, and good marriages don’t all require a balance of freedom with restriction. The intent was to illustrate the model.
As I plotted the examples, I found that complete freedom rarely leads to fun or rewarding experiences. Most often, the greatest fun comes with an alignment of the possible with the desirable. In gaming terms, Dungeons and Dragons is very restrictive in many ways. You have a finite number of options any given time; however, those who love the game love it because the limited number of choices are more pleasurable than too many choices. We roll D20s because we want to lose some control of the narrative; otherwise we’d be storytelling and even in there we have better ways and worse ways. The task of all gamers is to find the balance of restriction that leads to the most fun.
If this graph was interesting to you, please check out my take on Regret, Hobbies, Chores and Oppression.