The elements of culture found on the the Pinterest social media site fascinates me, because it’s graphically-based, and therefore often is suggestive of ideas, rather than explicit. Yet, some people use the graphic format of Pinterest merely to post graphics of text, without any non-verbal visual element at all.
It’s a curious choice, going against the grain not only of Pinterest, but of text as well. There’s usually no comment on these graphic-text deposits, no discussion of what they mean or how they can be justified.
I came upon one such post on Pinterest this morning, which you see here (with my slight orange addition). It reads, in plain black text on a white background, “In order to lead a fascinating life – one brimming with art, music, intrigue and romance – you must surround yourself with precisely those things.”
I’m intrigued with this assertion, which is attributed to no one in particular, because it suggests a method for creating a fascinating life, but the method ends being nothing more than a tautology. The logical structure is as follows:
Leading a Fascinating Life = F
Having A Life Brimming with Music, Art, Intrigue and Romance = H
The anonymous author defines a “fascinating life” as one in which there is are large portions of certain things, and makes the thoroughly simply argument that the way to have those large portions is to… have them.
We might as well state that: The way to get wealthy – brimming with money – is to surround yourself with lots of money.
The question that’s on everyone’s mind, the question which the anonymous author doesn’t help us with at all, is how we can arrange to have fascinating things around us. There’s quite a bit we could discuss in relation to that question.
For one thing, I don’t believe that surrounding ourselves with music is a reliable mechanism for building a more fascinating life. People in the United States now have more music surrounding them than ever before, thanks to MP3 players, radios, loudspeakers in stores and the like. I don’t see any evidence that our lives have become more fascinating than our ancestors, though, as a result of the increasingly surrounding presence of music in our lives. The people I know who walk down the sidewalk with earbuds implanted aren’t more fascinating than the people who walk without music playing. I think that it’s more likely that people who lead fascinating lives are those people who have cultivated an ability to perceive the fascinating aspects of whatever happens to be around them – to perceive as artful, intriguing and romantic those things that most people perceive as ordinary, and not worth paying much attention to.
However, over at Pinterest, whenever anybody has posted the assertion, “In order to lead a fascinating life – one brimming with art, music, intrigue and romance – you must surround yourself with precisely those things,” there have been no comments made at all. No discussions about the idea have followed. People have merely glanced over the words and moved on.
People on Pinterest don’t appear to be fascinated by this advice about how to lead a fascinating life – but then, I think that’s just another expression of my explanation for the feeling many people have that their lives are not as fascinating as they have hoped they would become.
I might say that the way to lead a fascinating life is to stay away from Pinterest, but then, that wouldn’t lead to a very fascinating conclusion. I’m interested more interested in cultivating an attitude of fascination that can be applied wherever I happen to be, than in desperately seeking to surround myself with media stimulation in the hopes that just by having a large amount of input, fascination will eventually appear. So, I choose to be fascinated by the avoidance of fascination on Pinterest, and I’ll keep trying to understand why Pinterest people don’t pursue a deeper level of understanding of the pictures they pin.