Yesterday, on a whim, I wrote: “When restless or bored, DO NOT seek entertainment.” A number of people responded: Then do what?
To reach for entertainment, to seek to be entertained—when you feel restless or bored—seems totally natural. What else is one to do? Watch a Netflix show, browse dance videos on Instagram, munch on a handful of raisins—all fun, harmless options that engage the mind and give a little bit of pleasure.
Here’s the thing, though. Pleasure and entertainment are entirely opposite in nature. To derive pleasure from an activity requires keen participation and active engagement. Entertainment only asks that you sit back and watch.
Does anyone pick gardening, or cooking, or dancing as entertainment options? I imagine not. These activities require YOU to do the “work.” Ask any gardener, or cook, or dancer… and they will probably tell you how pleasurable these activities are. We watch gardening shows, cookery shows, and dance shows with a lot of enthusiasm… because they are entertaining. (Not necessarily pleasurable, though.)
When I feel restless or bored, entertainment serves as a filler… but it doesn’t alleviate the boredom. And I am left feeling vaguely unsatisfied. In fact, I think seeking pleasure may be a better alternative… at the very least, I will be keen, attentive, engaged. The other option is to do nothing, obviously. Be still, silent, quiet and watching.