Saturday, August 11, 2007

Excitement is easy to overdo

One Cosmos:

What actually provoked me to wonder about wonder was an essay by Dennis Prager on how Excitement Deprives Children of Happiness -- which is another way of saying that immersing children in over-stimulating activities will inevitably lead to an atrophied sense of wonder. As Prager writes,

"because we parents so delight in the excitement we see in our children at those moments -- because they seem so happy then -- we can easily fall into the trap of providing more and more exciting things to keep them seemingly happy at just about every moment. And they in turn come to rely on getting excited to keep them happy and to identify excitement with happiness. But excitement is not happiness. In fact, it is the ultimate drug."

Never before in history has so much excitement been available to people, but are they really any happier or fulfilled? I agree with Prager that

"all this excitement is actually inhibiting our children's ability to enjoy life and therefore be happy."

It "renders young people jaded, not happy.... That is why the frequent complaint of 'I'm bored' is often a sign of a jaded child, i.e., a child addicted to excitement and therefore incapable of enjoying life when not being excited."

I recognize this in my own life. I am - to some degree which I cannot quantify - an excitement/adrenaline junkie. I have used excitement as a drug - many times.

Excitement can be like a candy bar induced sugar high: ethereal; ephemeral*; and depressively mood-crashing after it passes.

Ruminating: have I used candy bars to create temporary excited feelings inside myself? I'm kinda thinkin yes....

*I like language, and I like to look up and study word definitions - and so: I naturally figure everyone else likes to look up and study word definitions also!

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