What do you enjoy?

How do you decide what you enjoy? What does "enjoy" mean, anyway?

Which leads me to the related questions: Why do we engage with art? What do we get out of it?

I am quite obsessed with this as an issue. I spend a huge amount of time and money on music. I love music. I can talk about my favourite bands all day. But my engagement with it is shallow, in terms of how well I can talk about it: I don't understand music in a technical way, even though I think it engages me both intellectually and emotionally. What am I getting out of it?

(I love dancing, by the way. You might not think that. I rarely go to clubs. But I absolutely love dancing. I used to go to loads of club nights at university and just immerse myself in the music, especially the beats and basslines. Now it's restricted to the kitchen while I'm washing up. I don't really like dancing at weddings or parties, mind.)

And recently I've got back into reading science fiction books. I love science fiction, too. Again, though, my engagement is shallow: I know about its history, general themes, I can recognise writers and styles, but I don't theorise deeply about its deeper meanings. I'm happy to just chat about it. (Though I did write a dissertation on JG Ballard and William Burroughs once.)

On the non-art side, I enjoy gardening a lot. I can lose myself when I'm out in the garden, pruning, weeding, sowing, just looking and smelling and hearing the garden around me. I think that is one of my purest enjoyments; I particularly enjoy it because I don't feel I have to intellectualise it. Maybe that's my problem with engaging with art, I think too much about it. Isn't that the point?

I've excluded familial relationships and friendships from this monologue: I don't so much enjoy these, as experience joy (and pain) because of them. Is this the same as enjoyment?

I've also excluded computers. As I work with them all the time, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I can't make a blanket statement that I enjoy programming. Often I don't. Sometimes I find it intensely frustrating and limiting. Other times I find it mind numbing. Then other times I get so engrossed that hours pass without me moving to eat or go to the toilet. It's one of those things.

I suppose what I'm getting at is: I don't feel I have a deep love for any hobby or pastime. Perhaps rather than "love" I should say I don't feel consumed by anything, or driven, or ambitious, or even that passionate. Should I be? Does it matter if I'm not? Is it just the time of year? Maybe I watch people on TV culture shows too much and think I should be able to intelligently discuss my experience of the world, the same way the participants on those programmes do. Perhaps I should just relax.

What do you enjoy, by the way?

(Now I've written all this, I'm not even sure why I did it. Perhaps it's because I've spent the whole day listening to Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, a band I love and have done for 20 odd years. It made me wonder what it is about music that I like so much. And why I place so much importance on a person's music taste as a measure of their personality. I probably shouldn't, but I do.)

Comments

One comment in particular

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Chocolate is like a drug to me

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townx | All about open source

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I truly enjoyed reading your

I truly enjoyed reading your post! There are lots of things that I really enjoy doing. Some of these are traveling, camping, meeting new acquaintances and many others. Interesting article! Thank you for sharing!

Thanks for your marvelous

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I like outdoorsy stuff such

I like outdoorsy stuff such as climbing, running, and camping. Sounds weird now I think about it, but to me everything I enjoy seems better outside, that includes chilling with friends, reading, sleeping, eating and even going to the toilet! I also enjoy the satisfaction of trying different sports and hobbies. Cold sunny weather. The freedom of driving. Staying Fit. Making things. I enjoy my own time, but wouldn't enjoy being a loner. Playing stringed instruments. I enjoy breaking the foil, with a tea spoon, on the top of a new jar of coffee. I enjoy my career occasionally. I enjoy being busy but like having the option of doing nothing. Sneezing. Cracking my knuckles. Picking my nose. Trying to be a nice guy. Telling jokes. Flirting. Buying thoughtful presents for people. I enjoy putting paint on a canvas, but not really painting anything. Day dreaming. Orange Juice. Finishing things.

Nice list.

Nice list.

townx | All about open source

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Cooking

I love and enjoy cooking. This is kind of art. You can make happy people around you by making something special. I can talk about cooking and new recepies I've tried everday and never get boried, I also read recepies a lot.

Thank you for interesting discussion ;)

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I believe that enjoyment really is something that one has to work at now days. With so many instant gratification devices, stores and places, one has to work at simply enjoying the simpler things in life. And work it is because we all get so stressed with daily occurrances that we simply forget how to enjoy things in life - and some of those things are easily enjoyed, taken the time to do so.

music and cinema

music and cinema are my best and football sometimes

I Enjoy Traveling

My goal is to visit the most popular places throughout the 7 continents and see what this world has to offer. That is my dream!
-Jack

Enjoy every moment

I enjoy gardening, reading, taking care of my wonderful husband, playing with my first grandchild. Life is good at any age!

Well...

Many many things I enjoy most are allready said here. But I reall enjoy reading Blogs. Especially articles with such comments like this here, 'cause you can get so many informations all around the world. I'm from Europe and (ok my written and spoken English is bad - but) I can understand all English people and so - for me it's an evening highlight to read more about people, cultures and especially what people think. :-)

I have been reading your

I have been reading your entries during my morning break, and I must admit the entire article has been very enlightening and rather well written. I assumed I might mean you can realize that for a few reason this weblog does now not view well in Internet Explorer 8. I desire Microsoft might prevent changing their software. I’ve a question for you. Would you mind changing weblog roll hyperlinks? That may be really neat!

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Sorry, I don't exchange

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Food!

Who would not enjoy eating foods especially when it has healthy options? Talking about eating healthy, April 27th was KFC Free Grilled Chicken Day. KFC Free Grilled Chicken Day was put on by Kentucky Fried Chicken to promote their new, healthier alternative option. It is primarily concerned with public health and heart disease, and animal rights groups protesting the treatment of chickens. A lot of people would give a cash advance to get more fast food chains to offer healthier fare. Regardless, KFC is still selling, and is a popular brand the world over. So anyone who didn't want to use installment loans to buy their own grill hopefully participated in KFC Grilled Chicken Day.

Good thinkings. I can`t

Good thinkings.
I can`t resist and didn`t comment on this post. You know, in the past I could enjoy everything, what can give pleasure for me. These can be sports (powerlifting), music (play classic quitar, listen to club music and co on ), making money (web) etc. But real please I`ve got, when I met my love, and I can spend all my time with her - It`s a real satisfaction... That`s all, thanks!

P.S. Sorry for my English, I`m ukranian ) See you.

Golfing

I love to go golfing in my spare time. Feels great. Everyone should try it out. Other than that I enjoy cooking and watchin reality shows. Thanks for sharing the information.

What I enjoy

I enjoy taking my son to a Baseball game. Thanks for the nice post. i love reading these comments.

personality

Hey Elliot, on a deeper note i don't think any of it is deemed as shallow just because you have not give your whole soul to one single topic. Sounds to me like a well balanced knowledge and it is what shapes your own individual personality. By the way i like to entertain in the kitchen, best place in the world for talking singing eating drinking and listening. OMD nice blast from the past man!

I enjoy Gardening, and Delicious Food

I love gardening. I have a large garden full of beautiful trees and plants planted by my ow hands. And I love to eat. I love foods which taste good.

New Things

I enjoy learning new things, I know it sounds crazy but if I find something that I know nothing about then i'm all for it. I learned how to grow vegetables with hydroponics, I really enjoyed it.

I enjoy blogging, watching TV, and loads of music.

I enjoy blogging, watching TV, and loads of music! And of course passing time with my family.

jewelry

your this post is very good

I love music and evrything else

I love music, I love to dance, I love to hike mountains, I love to cruise at night. About the technical knowledge thing, I believe one doesn't have to be technically very sound to enjoy something. Its how you feel.

I enjoy eating chocolate

I enjoy eating chocolate

Oh, you are right, chocolate

Oh, you are right, chocolate is the best thing in the world, I can eat my favorite chocolate in tons, literally. And when I do, I tend to forget about the world!!

townx | All about open source

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Music relax me too. I also

Music relax me too. I also played a lot of online games for sam reason.

i love watching movies and

i love watching movies and playing video games.

Me too..

yeah.. me either... watching movies and do hard core gaming on xbox inside my room...

Enjoy what you like

You don't have to be a know-it-all to enjoy certain things. I,for example, love reading a particular genre of book but am not much informed about the top author, the nuances of such writing etc. Again I love traveling but am not much informed about what are the dos and don'ts of trekking. So, in order to enjoy something, it's not mandatory that you have to know each and every related aspect about it. At least, that's my viewpoint.

Different people have

Different people have different interest. I like to listen to romantic songs, western themes and watching action movies. Water sports can be included.

Love Music

Hi,

I love musics, surfing, creating new designs using photoshop and Web Designing.

I enjoy watching TV

I love watching TV whenever i get time, and reading books.

I love the beach and music -

I love the beach and music - I really like local original bands

I love

I love icecream, I love music, I like riding my bike, I love fresh air, I love flowers ...and I really love my husband!

I love cruises! In fact I

I love cruises! In fact I love boats in general, id love to have millions of dollars to buy my own yacht really.

Movies, music, just

Movies, music, just relaxing. I know, I'm boring but we all have our own ways.

Enjoying/ engaging

Y'know, this consumes a fair portion of my contemplation time also. What is art? How do we enjoy it? Is art that you merely skim the surface of really art? Or is it only art if it moves you? I used to believe that if the piece needed explanation then it was poor art. Effectively I often dismissed things that did not have an aesthetic (good or bad) and inevitably that just excused my lack of effort in trying to understand the piece. So then I thought perhaps all art is good, you just have to interpret it your own way; art is in the interpretation. Now I am leaning back to the original thinking in that, explanation or not, good art engages the audience - catches the eye/ear/mind. Art can 'just' be beautiful or it can have a 'message', perhaps it has to change you.

Much of this thinking was spurred by my sister becoming a full-time artist. As a physicist much of my peer group dismissed art as pretentious or easy or a waste of time ("They only have to study 6 hours a week for art, what a worthless degree!"). I knew my sister worked hard, agonised over each piece, and produced stunning paintings that I was loathe to dismiss as worthless. These days I have a healthy mix of artists and scientists in my peer group. One thing we all agree on quite frequently is that a lot of 'art' is pretentious rubbish. So then it comes back to the personal experience. If it moves you. I get this sensation from music, paintings, poetry, sci-fi, science, food, movies, games, company, living, breathing.

I think that partly answers the 'why do we engage with it' question. Interpreting, re-interpreting, experiencing changes me and helps me understand myself and others. The good stuff anyway.

Ha, I sound pretentious!

PS With all this in mind, my drawing class has some pieces up. (http://www.ccae.org/events/DRFH/) It's not a gallery, it's a corridor. Some of the drawings I love, but I couldn't tell you exactly why. Does this fit my criteria for good art?

Nice long comment there. I

Nice long comment there.

I like pretentious art. There, I've said it. Well, I suppose I should qualify that: I like art about art, or the process of creation, meta-art, conceptual art, that kind of thing. While I appreciate a fine painting as much as the next person, I suppose my deepest engagement is with the more cerebral sorts of art. I love work that makes me think about whether it is art or not. To me, that makes it even more "arty".

I also like difficult music. I do actually like it, too, I don't just say that to be smart. I listen to it through choice when I'm on my own in the car, for instance. I like being perplexed and surprised, and always have. I suppose that's what the best science fiction does: presents something strange and marvellous, and gradually reveals it to you; the very best present the marvellous and make it more marvellous as the story progresses, more surprising. Maybe I just crave novelty: neophilia, I think someone once called it. And I think the extraordinary casts light on the ordinary: science fiction lays out scenarios and ideas which put a magnifying lens over aspects of normal existence. I just love it.

I've been reading a traditional novel this week (Saturday by Ian McEwan), which, while very well-written with excellent characterisation, is a bit on the dull side plot-wise. Maybe it will pick up. Maybe the day to day ponderings of a neurosurgeon just aren't interesting enough. Time will tell. I'm much happier with a bit of sci fi.

Nice drawings by your class. I like your face-only portrait best. It reminds me of something, but I can't quite place it. The pose reminds me of the Statue of Liberty.

music is my life

hi,
nice post as i like most of things that you like, and we share the same past times i would say keep writing