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How To Lead A Fascinating Life

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.

how to fascinating lifeIt’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

Premise: F=H
Conclusion: H=F

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.

3 thoughts on “How To Lead A Fascinating Life”

  1. Dave says:

    Rowan, your mention of “earbuds” when talking of surrounding ourselves with music, and surrounding ourselves with “media stimulation” apparently for the seeking of art, etc., paints quite a picture of some poor earbudded shmo (not you or me, of course) sitting in Starbucks with a laptop, shrouded in his virtual world and wondering how the heck he can get a little intrigue and romance going, let alone live a life brimming with these things.

    Tautology or not, impossible logic perhaps, but I think it’s really quite reasonable to unplug all the virtual, digital crap from time to time, turn the phone off, take a walk through an art museum, sit in on some real musicians doing something actual-not-virtual, start a real conversation with a real stranger whose presence makes it obvious that they have an interest in the same things as you, and see where things go from there. I take from the quote the idea that surrounding one’s self with real things, not virtual or simulated offers the best opportunity to live a life brimming………..

    I think you are quite right to cultivate an attitude of fascination that can be applied wherever you happen to be, and “cultivate” is one of my all-time favorite words, but there is much to be said for intentional immersion in things that are fascinating by virtue of the cultivation they impart to us.

    1. Rowan says:

      What makes the musicians you hear playing live more “real” than the musicians you listen to in recordings on an MP3 player?

      Music played in a live setting is often compromised by crowd noises, and the sound balance is often flawed, while the sound of a digital recording can be more thoroughly crafted. Aren’t both real? Can’t both have the stiumatory effect?

      1. Dave says:

        Of course. Keep the buds on.

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