A witch who is bored might do ANYTHING. People said things like 'we had to make our own amusements in those days' as if this signified some kind of moral worth, and perhaps it did, but the last thing you wanted a witch to do was get bored and start making her own amusements, because witches sometimes had famously erratic ideas about what was amusing.
All great amusements are dangerous to the Christian life; but among all those which the world has invented there is none more to be feared than the theater. It is a representation of the passions so natural and so delicate that it excites them and gives birth to them in our hearts, and, above all, to that of love.
It is all very well to say that children are happier with mud pies and rag dolls than with these elaborate delights. There may be something in this theory, but when their amusements are carried to such a point of luxurious and imaginative perfection it certainly gives them great and even unlimited enjoyment at the time.
There are some people who think that they should be always mourning, that they should put a continual constraint upon themselves, and feel a disgust for those amusements to which they are obliged to submit. For my own part, I confess that I know not how to conform myself to these rigid notions. I prefer something more simple, which I also think would be more pleasing to God.
It oughtn't to need a war to make us talk to each other in buses, and invent our own amusements in the evenings, and live simply, and eat sparingly, and recover the use of our legs, and get up early enough to see the sun rise. However, it has needed one: which is about the severest criticism our civilization could have.
Music and dancing (the more the pity) have become so closely associated with ideas of riot and debauchery among the less cultivated classes, that a taste for them, for their own sakes, can hardly be said to exist, and before they can be recommended as innocent or safe amusements, a very great change of ideas must take place.
Who should listen to discussions of theology? Those for whom it is a serious undertaking, not just another subject like any other for entertaining small-talk, after the races, the theater, songs, food, and sex: for there are people who count chatter on theology and clever deployment of arguments as one of their amusements.
Gregory of Nazianzus
You must find some way to elevate your act of writing into an entertainment. Usually this means giving the reader an enjoyable surprise. Any number of devices will do the job.... These seeming amusements in fact become your 'style.' When we say we like the style of certain writers, what we mean is that we like their personality as they express it on paper.
The love of spectacles was the taste, or rather passion, of the Syrians: the most skilful artists were procured form the adjacent cities; a considerable share of the revenue was devoted to the public amusements; and the magnificence of the games of the theatre and circus was considered as the happiness, and as the glory, of Antioch.
I understood that all the material of a literary work was in my past life, I understood that I had acquired it in the midst of frivolous amusements, in idleness, in tenderness and in pain, stored up by me without my divining its destination or even its survival, as the seed has in reserve all the ingredients which will nourish the plant.
Indeed, it may be laid down as a general principle, that the more extended the ancestry, the greater the amount of violence and vagabondism; for in ancient days those two amusements, combining a wholesome excitement with a promising means of repairing shattered fortunes, were at once the ennobling pursuit and the healthful recreation of the Quality of this land.
"ŽWe must make our choice between economy and liberty or confusion and servitude...If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements...if we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us . . . But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?
Everything in our background has prepared us to know and resist a prison when the gates begin to close around us... But what if there are no cries of anguish to be heard? Who is prepared to take arms against a sea of amusements? To whom do we complain, and when, and in what tone of voice, when serious discourse dissolves into giggles? What is the antidote to a culture's being drained by laughter?
I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, make the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.
I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc, is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.
How will the remaining portion of the community like to have the amusements that shall be permitted to them regulated by the religious and moral sentiments of the stricter Calvinists and Methodists? Would they not, with considerable peremptoriness, desire these intrusively pious members of society to mind their own business? This is precisely what should be said to every government and every public, who have the pretension that no person shall enjoy any pleasure which they think wrong.
John Stuart Mill
Those who are skilled in archery bend their bow only when they are preparing to use it; when they do not require it, they allow it to remain unbent, for otherwise it would remain unserviceable when the time for using it arrived. So it is with man. If he were to devote himself unceasingly to a dull round of business, without breaking the monotony by cheerful amusements, he would fall imperceptibly into idiocy, or be struck by paralysis
Are your desires purely selfish? Do your tastes run to a grand home, automobiles, fine clothes, an abundance of amusements, and so forth? If so, look around you at people who have such things in superabundance. Are they any happier, do you think, than you are? Are they any better morally? Are they any stronger physically? Are they better liked by their friends than you are by your friends? ... Carnegie said, Millionaires rarely smile. This is substantially true.
B. C. Forbes
We may agree, for example, that our societies must provide greater security for the individual; yet if all we succeed in producing is a providing increased anonymity and ever increasing boredom, then we should not wonder if ingenious man turns to such amusements as drugs, housebreaking, vandalism, mayhem, riots, or - at the most harmless - strange haircuts, costumes, standards of cleanliness, and sexual experiments.
Although there is nothing so bad for conscience as trifling, there is nothing so good for conscience as trifles. Its certain discipline and development are related to the smallest things. Conscience, like gravitation, takes hold of atoms. Nothing is morally indifferent. Conscience must reign in manners as well as morals, in amusements as well as work. He only who is "faithful in that which is least" is dependable in all the world.
Maltbie Davenport Babcock
Nothing is more despicable than the old age of a passionate man. When the vigour of youth fails him, and his amusements pall with frequent repetition, his occasional rage sinks by decay of strength into peevishness; that peevishness, for want of novelty and variety, becomes habitual; the world falls off from around him, and he is left, as Homer expresses it, to devour his own heart in solitude and contempt.
Lyndon B. Johnson
[T]he regime of diversions, surrogates, and tranquilizers that pass for today's 'distractions' and 'amusements' does not yet allow the modern woman to foresee the crisis that awaits her when she recognizes how meaningless are those male occupations for which she has fought, when the illusions and the euphoria of her conquests vanish, and when she realizes that, given the climate of dissolution, family and children can no longer give her a sense of satisfaction in life.
Coquettes are, but too rare. It is a career that requires great abilities, infinite pains, a gay and airy spirit. 'T is the coquette who provides all the amusements,--suggests the riding-party, plans the picnic, gives and guesses charades, acts them. She is the stirring element amid the heavy congeries of social atoms,--the soul of the house, the salt of the banquet.
I discovered a long time ago that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters of the heart, the inconsequential but near things of this living, was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sincerity or grace. As a reporter, I was a flop, because I always came back laden not with facts about the case, but with a mind full of the little difficulties and amusements I had encountered in my travels.
E. B. White
There had been observed in this country certain streams of influence which are causing a marked deterioration in our literature, amusements, and social conduct...a nasty Orientalism which had insidiously affected every channel of expression...The fact that these influences are all traceable to one racial source [Judaism] is something to be reckoned with...Our opposition is only in ideas, false ideas, which are sapping the moral stamina of the people.
The quasi-peaceable gentleman of leisure, then, not only consumes of the staff of life beyond the minimum required for subsistence and physical efficiency, but his consumption also undergoes a specialisation as regards the quality of the goods consumed. He consumes freely and of the best, in food, drink, narcotics, shelter, services, ornaments, apparel, weapons and accoutrements, amusements, amulets, and idols or divinities.
To write is, indeed, no unpleasing employment, when one sentiment readily produces another, and both ideas and expressions present themselves at the first summons; but such happiness, the greatest genius does not always obtain; and common writers know it only to such a degree, as to credit its possibility. Composition is, for the most part, an effort of slow diligence and steady perseverance, to which the mind is dragged by necessity or resolution, and from which the attention is every moment starting to more delightful amusements.
Live in rooms full of light. Avoid heavy food. Be moderate in the drinking of wine. Take massage, baths, exercise, and gymnastics. Fight insomnia with gentle rocking or the sound of running water. Change surroundings and take long journeys. Strictly avoid frightening ideas. Indulge in cheerful conversation and amusements. Listen to music.
Aulus Cornelius Celsus
Compassion is an emotion of which we ought never to be ashamed. Graceful, particularly in youth, is the tear of sympathy, and the heart that melts at the tale of woe. We should not permit ease and indulgence to contract our affections, and wrap us up in a selfish enjoyment; but we should accustom ourselves to think of the distresses of human, life, of the solitary cottage; the dying parent, and the weeping orphan. Nor ought we ever to sport with pain and distress in any of our amusements, or treat even the meanest insect with wanton cruelty.
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
Henry David Thoreau
A father would do well, as his son grows up, and is capable of it, to talk familiarly with him; nay, ask his advice, and consult with him about those things wherein he has any knowledge or understanding. By this, the father will gain two things, both of great moment. The sooner you treat him as a man, the sooner he will begin to be one; and if you admit him into serious discourses sometimes with you, you will insensibly raise his mind above the usual amusements of youth, and those trifling occupations which it is commonly wasted in.
America is said to have the highest per capita boredom of any spot on earth! We know that because we have the greatest number of artificial amusements of any country. People have become so empty that they can't even entertain themselves. They have to pay other people to amuse them, to make then laugh, to try to make them feel warm and happy and comfortable for a few minutes, to try to lose that awful, frightening, hollow feeling-that terrible, dreaded feeling of being lost and alone.
As more and more work is done by machines, people can spend more time on other activities. Not just leisure and amusements, but also on the deeper satisfactions that come from invention and exploration, from creativity and building, and from love, friendship, and community... If the first machine age helped unlock the forces of energy trapped in chemical bonds to reshape the physical world, the real promise of the second machine age is to help unleash the power of human ingenuity.
Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
Every year, in the deep midwinter, there descends upon this world a terrible fortnight. ... every shop is a choked mass of humanity ... nerves are jangled and frayed, purses emptied to no purposes, all amusements and all occupations suspended in favor of frightful businesses with brown paper, string, letters, cards, stamps, and crammed post offices. This period is doubtless a foretaste of whatever purgatory lies in store for human creatures.
During the whole time consumed in the slow growth of this family tree, the house of Smallweed, always early to go out and late to marry, has strengthened itself in its practical character, has discarded all amusements, discountenanced all story-books, fairy-tales, fictions, and fables, and banished all levities whatsoever. Hence the gratifying fact that it has had no child born to it and that the complete little men and women whom it has produced have been observed to bear a likeness to old monkeys with something depressing on their minds.
Innocent amusements are such as excite moderately, and such as produce a cheerful frame of mind, not boisterous mirth; such as refresh, instead of exhausting, the system; such as recur frequently, rather than continue long; such as send us back to our daily duties invigorated in body and spirit; such as we can partake of in the presence and society of respectable friends; such as consist with and are favorable to a grateful piety; such as are chastened by self-respect, and are accompanied with the consciousness that life has a higher end than to be amused.
William Ellery Channing
To seek in the great accumulation of the already-said the text that resembles 'in advance' a later text, to ransack history in order to rediscover the play of anticipations or echoes, to go right back to the first seeds or to go forward to the last traces, to reveal in a work its fidelity to tradition or its irreducible uniqueness, to raise or lower its stock of originality, to say that the Port -Royal grammarians invented nothing, or to discover that Cuvier had more predecessors than one thought, these are harmless enough amusements for historians who refuse to grow up.
To seek in the great accumulation of the already-said the text that resembles "in advance" a later text, to ransack history in order to rediscover the play of anticipations or echoes, to go right back to the first seeds or to go forward to the last traces, to reveal in a work its fidelity to tradition or its irreducible uniqueness, to raise or lower its stock of originality, to say that the Port -Royal grammarians invented nothing, or to discover that Cuvier had more predecessors than one thought, these are harmless enough amusements for historians who refuse to grow up.
It is the illusion of magic and the magic of illusion that we are primarily interested in- not the privy tricks or the key to the secrets themselves. We seek the bafflement, the contradictions, the amusements, and the innumerable emotions that ripple uneasily through the audience. It is not knowledge we are after, but mystery and disguises. We want to gaze at the impossible. We are hungry for surprises, astonishment. In short, we are looking for a true story, but one impossible to explain in all its complexity. When we discover that story, we shall have found- magic.
by the time they have reached the middle of their life's journey, few people remember how they have managed to arrive at themselves, at their amusements, their point of view, their wife, character, occupation and successes, but they cannot help feeling that not much is likely to change anymore. It might even be asserted that they have been cheated, for one can nowhere discover any sufficient reason for everything's coming about as it has. It might just have well as turned out differently. The events of people's lives have, after all, only to the last degree originated in them, having generally depended on all sorts of circumstances such as the moods, the life or death of quite different people, and have, as it were, only at the given point of time come hurrying towards them
The fact that we are now crusaders needn't blind us to the fact that for a very long time we have been, as Badger would say, echidnas. I can think of a hundred ways already in which the war has "brought us to our senses." But it oughtn't to need a war to make a nation paint its kerbstones white, carry rear-lamps on its bicycles, and give all its slum children a holiday in the country. And it oughtn't to need a war to make us talk to each other in buses, and invent our own amusements in the evenings, and live simply, and eat sparingly, and recover the use of our legs, and get up early enough to see the sun rise. However, it has needed one: which is about the severest criticism our civilization could have.
The fifth stage is one of waste and squandering. In this stage, the ruler wastes on pleasures and amusements the treasures accumulated by his ancestors, through excessive generosity to his inner circle. Also, he acquires bad low-class followers to whom he entrusts the most important matters of state, which they are not qualified to handle by themselves, not knowing which of them they should tackle and which they should leave alone. The ruler seeks to destroy the great clients of his people and followers of his predecessors. (...)Thus, he ruins the foundations his ancestors had laid and tears down what they had built up. In this stage, the dynasty is seized by senility and the chronic disease from which it can hardly ever rid itself, for which it can find no cure, and eventually it is destroyed.
For the next nine months, Sylvia would report on campus trends, politics, tastes, style. It was an honor, but it was grueling. Sylvia was overworked. She had boyfriend problems. She longed for Europe. She broke her leg in a skiing accident. Her best friend, Marcia Brown, had gotten engaged and moved off campus - other girls were away on their junior year abroad. The whole campus seemed mired in some bleak haze- there were suicide attempts, abortions, disappearances, and hasty marriages. Sylvia coped with shopping binges in downtown Northhampton- sheer blouses, French pumps, red cashmere sweaters, white skirts, and tight black pullovers - clothes more suited to voguish amusements than studying. Everyone wanted to be one of Mademoiselle's guest editors, but Sylvia needed it - some shot of glamour to pull her out of the mud.
Without conversion of heart we cannot serve God on earth. We have naturally neither faith, nor fear, nor love, toward God and His Son Jesus Christ. We have no delight in His Word. We take no pleasure in prayer or communion with Him. We have no enjoyment in His ordinances, His house, His people, or His day. We may have a form of Christianity, and keep up a round of ceremonies and religious performances. But without conversion we have no more heart in our religion than a brick or a stone. Can a dead corpse serve God? We know it cannot. Well, without conversion we are dead toward God. Look round the congregation with which you worship every Sunday. Mark how little interest the great majority of them take in what is going on. Observe how listless, and apathetic, and indifferent, they evidently are about the whole affair. It is clear their hearts are not there! They are thinking of something else, and not of religion. They are thinking of business, or money, or pleasure, or worldly plans, or bonnets, or gowns, or new dresses, or amusements. Their bodies are there, but not their hearts. And what is the reason? What is it they all need? They need conversion. Without it they only come to church for fashion and form's sake, and go away from church to serve the world or their sins. But this is not all. Without conversion of heart we could not enjoy heaven, if we got there. Heaven is a place where holiness reigns supreme, and sin and the world have no place at all. The company will all be holy; the employments will all be holy; it will be an eternal Sunday. Surely if we go to heaven, we must have a heart in tune and able to enjoy it, or else we shall not be happy. We must have a nature in harmony with the element we live in, and the place where we dwell. Can a fish be happy out of water? We know it cannot. Well, without conversion of heart we could not be happy in heaven. Look round the neighborhood in which you live and the persons with whom you are acquainted. Think what many of them would do if they were cut off for ever from money, and business, and newspapers, and cards, and balls, and races, and hunting, and shopping, and worldly amusements! Would they like it? Think what they would feel if they were shut up forever with Jesus Christ, and saints, and angels! Would they be happy? Would the eternal company of Moses, and David, and St. Paul be pleasant to those who never take the trouble to read what those holy men wrote? Would heaven's everlasting praise suit the taste of those who can hardly spare a few minutes in a week for private religion, even for prayer? There is but one answer to be given to all these questions. We must be converted before we can enjoy heaven. Heaven would be no heaven to any child of Adam without conversion. Let no man deceive us. There are two things which are of absolute necessity to the salvation of every man and woman on earth. One of them is the mediatorial work of Christ for us, His atonement, satisfaction, and intercession. The other is the converting work of the Spirit in us, His guiding, renewing, and sanctifying grace. We must have both a title and a heart for heaven. Sacraments are only generally necessary to salvation: a man may be saved without them, like the penitent thief. An interest in Christ and conversion are absolutely necessary: without them no one can possibly be saved. All, all alike, high or low, rich or poor, old or young, gentle or simple, churchmen or dissenters, baptized or unbaptized, all must be converted or perish.
In our folk nobody has any experience of youth, there's barely even any time for being a toddler. The children simply don't have any time in which they might be children... Indeed... there's simply no way that we would be able to provide our children with a viable childhood, one that is real. Naturally, there are consequences. There's a certain ever present, not to be liquidated childishness that permeates our folk; We often act in ways that are totally and utterly ridiculous and, indeed, precisely like children we do things that are crazy, letting loose with our assets in a manner that is bereft of all rationality, prodigious in our celebrations, partaking in a light-headed frivolousness that is divorced from all sensibility, and often enough all simply for the sake of some small token of fun, so much do we love having our small amusements. But our folk isn't only childish, to a certain extent we also age prematurely, childhood and old age mix themselves differently with us than by others. We don't have any youth, we jump right away into maturity and, then, we remain grown-ups for too long and as a consequence to this there's a broad shadow of a certain tiredness and a sort of hopelessness that colours our essential nature, a nature that as a whole is otherwise so tenacious and permeated by hope, strong hope. This, no doubt, this is related to why we're so disinclined toward music-we're too old for music, so much excitement, so much passion doesn't sit well with our heaviness;
Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, "They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting." Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, "He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death." Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason. The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. You fail to see that this very facility proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain reflects, as in a mirror, the things you show them, but nothing sinks in. The child remembers the words and the ideas are reflected back; his hearers understand them, but to him they are meaningless. Although memory and reason are wholly different faculties, the one does not really develop apart from the other. Before the age of reason the child receives images, not ideas; and there is this difference between them: images are merely the pictures of external objects, while ideas are notions about those objects determined by their relations.
All human life, we may say, consists solely of these two activities: (1) bringing one's activities into harmony with conscience, or (2) hiding from oneself the indications of conscience in order to be able to continue to live as before. Some do the first, others the second. To attain the first there is but one means: moral enlightenment - the increase of light in oneself and attention to what it shows. To attain the second - to hide from oneself the indications of conscience-there are two means: one external and the other internal. The external means consists in occupations that divert one's attention from the indications given by conscience; the internal method consists in darkening conscience itself. As a man has two ways of avoiding seeing an object that is before him: either by diverting his sight to other more striking objects, or by obstructing the sight of his own eyes-just so a man can hide from himself the indications of conscience in two ways: either by the external method of diverting his attention to various occupations, cares, amusements, or games; or by the internal method of obstructing the organ of attention itself. For people of dull, limited moral feeling, the external diversions are often quite sufficient to enable them not to perceive the indications conscience gives of the wrongness of their lives. But for morally sensitive people those means are often insufficient. The external means do not quite divert attention from the consciousness of discord between one's life and the demands of conscience. This consciousness hampers one's life; and in order to be able to go on living as before, people have recourse to the reliable, internal method, which is that of darkening conscience itself by poisoning the brain with stupefying substances. One is not living as conscience demands, yet lacks the strength to reshape one's life in accord with its demands. The diversions which might distract attention from the consciousness of this discord are insufficient, or have become stale, and so-in order to be able to live on, disregarding the indications conscience gives of the wrongness of their life-people (by poisoning it temporarily) stop the activity of the organ through which conscience manifests itself, as a man by covering his eyes hides from himself what he does not wish to see.
To begin with, there is the frightful debauchery of taste that has already been effected by a century of mechanisation. This is almost too obvious and too generally admitted to need pointing out. But as a single instance, take taste in its narrowest sense - the taste for decent food. In the highly mechanical countries, thanks to tinned food, cold storage, synthetic flavouring matters, etc., the palate it almost a dead organ. As you can see by looking at any greengrocer's shop, what the majority of English people mean by an apple is a lump of highly-coloured cotton wool from America or Australia; they will devour these things, apparently with pleasure, and let the English apples rot under the trees. It is the shiny, standardized, machine-made look of the American apple that appeals to them; the superior taste of the English apple is something they simply do not notice. Or look at the factory-made, foil wrapped cheeses and 'blended' butter in an grocer's; look at the hideous rows of tins which usurp more and more of the space in any food-shop, even a dairy; look at a sixpenny Swiss roll or a twopenny ice-cream; look at the filthy chemical by-product that people will pour down their throats under the name of beer. Wherever you look you will see some slick machine-made article triumphing over the old-fashioned article that still tastes of something other than sawdust. And what applies to food applies also to furniture, houses, clothes, books, amusements and everything else that makes up our environment. These are now millions of people, and they are increasing every year, to whom the blaring of a radio is not only a more acceptable but a more normal background to their thoughts than the lowing of cattle or the song of birds. The mechanisation of the world could never proceed very far while taste, even the taste-buds of the tongue, remained uncorrupted, because in that case most of the products of the machine would be simply unwanted. In a healthy world there would be no demand for tinned food, aspirins, gramophones, gas-pipe chairs, machine guns, daily newspapers, telephones, motor-cars, etc. etc.; and on the other hand there would be a constant demand for the things the machine cannot produce. But meanwhile the machine is here, and its corrupting effects are almost irresistible. One inveighs against it, but one goes on using it. Even a bare-arse savage, given the change, will learn the vices of civilisation within a few months. Mechanisation leads to the decay of taste, the decay of taste leads to demand for machine-made articles and hence to more mechanisation, and so a vicious circle is established.