Friday, June 12, 2015

Mood control and entertainment

With ideas that seem to apply best to things not entertainment I started asking myself what do I mean by that word. And eventually came to a somewhat surprising conclusion, but before I give my latest attempt at a functional definition will talk a bit around the subject.

Like did a web search on the word, and as usual found the definition that popped up immediately to be insufficient, especially as it emphasized enjoyment and amusement, which I had thought of initially too. But what about those things where things are dark, like with Greek tragedy?

Going to the Wikipedia--which I do a lot I'll readily admit--it emphasizes holding attention at the start, and switches to focusing on enjoyment by the end of that first sentence. Can't imagine easily doing posts like this one without the Wikipedia. It gives me such quick and easy reference allowing me to focus on my original thinking, versus working on giving background as well.

My own conclusion is that entertainment allows us to attempt to control our own moods.

Like if you need cheering up? There is entertainment for that. Want thrills and chills? Yup, there's entertainment for that as well. Wish to be scared? Of course, there is entertainment that will try! Want something calming? Yes, there is entertainment that will try to calm you.

I like that last one as I don't think it seems at first blush to fit as easily, so definitely need to include it.

Contrast say, with a learning activity. Or a working activity. These may be enjoyable or not, but most would not call them entertaining I'm sure.

Yet there also is a component of accepted behavior for use of variations on the word "entertain" with lots of mood altering things falling outside of it.

But I can get functional there as well, as harm is the issue I think.

So then functionally, I say that entertainment is any socially accepted activity you choose designed to alter your mood in a desired way which is unlikely to bring you harm in any way.

So now can judge entertainment easily: you go into a situation wishing "thrills and chills" and that's what you get, then yup, that was entertaining.

So yeah, if you want something dark and brooding, and it's cheerful and light-hearted then it was NOT entertaining to you, while someone else who wanted that thinks it was.

And you can entertain friends with a cup of coffee, or tea, where many may think that requires conversation, when in actuality it does not.

Interesting. Can do a lot with this thing I think.

Can even entertain yourself with quiet, coffee and great location.

James Harris
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