Amusement

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They have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that happiness in reality consists only in rest and not in stir. ~ Blaise Pascal

Amusement is the state of experiencing humorous and usually entertaining events or situations, and is associated with enjoyment, happiness, laughter and pleasure. Activities or objects which bring about such experiences are called amusements.

Sourced[edit]

  • Persons without minds are like bad weeds that delight in good earth; they want to be amused by others, all the more because they are dull within.
  • The very beginning of the soul’s purgation is tranquility, in which the tongue is not given to discussing the affairs of men, nor the eyes to contemplating rosy cheeks or comely bodies, nor the ears to lowering the tone of the soul by listening to songs whose sole object is to amuse, or to words spoken by wits and buffoons—a practice which above all things tends to relax the tone of the soul.
  • The ascetic Gotama … avoids watching dancing, singing, music and shows.
    • Gotama Buddha, Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 1.10, p. 69.
  • I've been spending the best years of my life as a public benefactor. I've given people the light pleasures, shown them a good time. And all I get is abuse - the existence of a hunted man. I'm called a killer. Ninety percent of the people of Cook County drink and gamble and my offense has been to furnish them with those amusements. Whatever else they may say, my booze has been good and my games have been on the square. Public service is my motto. I always regarded it as a public benefaction if people were given decent liquor and square.
    • Al Capone, quoted in a press conference in Kobler, Capone.
  • People come home after a day's work, from which they derive little satisfaction, and feel the need for diversion and amusement. The word diversion itself is already very significant. When Pascal uses the word diversion he means that people ... deviate from the path which leads them to God as a result of diversion and amusement. Instead of thinking of God, they amuse themselves. So, instead of thinking about the problems which have been created by technology and our work we want to amuse ourselves.
  • The inhabitants have a right to take their amusements in a lawful way.
    • Heath, J., Fitch v. Fitch (1797), 2 Esp. 544; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 13.
  • They have a secret instinct which impels them to seek amusement and occupation abroad, and which arises from the sense of their constant unhappiness. They have another secret instinct, a remnant of the greatness of our original nature, which teaches them that happiness in reality consists only in rest and not in stir.
    • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, W. F. Trotter, trans., #139 “Leisure”.
  • In our bourgeois Western world total labor has vanquished leisure. Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture—and ourselves.
  • Where the company are real gentlemen and men of education, you will see no flute-girls, nor dancing-girls, nor harp-girls; and they have no nonsense or games, but are contented with one another’s conversation, of which their own voices are the medium, and which they carry on by turns and in an orderly manner. ... A company like this of ours, and men such as we profess to be, do not require the help of another’s voice. ... This sort of entertainment they decline, and prefer to talk with one another, and put one another to the proof in conversation.
  • What a man is by himself, what accompanies him into solitude, and what no one can give to him or take from him is obviously more essential to him than everything he possesses, or even what he may be in the eyes of others. A man of intellect, when entirely alone, has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, whereas the continuous diversity of parties, plays, excursions, and amusements cannot ward off from the dullard the tortures of boredom.
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life,” Parerga und Paralipomena, E. Payne, trans. (1974) Vol. 1, pp. 318-319.
  • Dancing, the theatre, society, card-playing, games of chance, horses, women, drinking, traveling, and so on … are not enough to ward off boredom where intellectual pleasures are rendered impossible by lack of intellectual needs.
    • Arthur Schopenhauer, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life,” Parerga und Paralipomena, E. Payne, trans. (1974) Vol. 1, p. 344.
  • If variety is sought in all the arts and amusements, such as archery and others, how much more should it be sought after in the art of love.
  • After a few days, Willie got tired of [the water-wheel] — and no blame to him, for it was no earthly use beyond amusement, and that which can only amuse can never amuse long.
    • George MacDonald, The History of Gutta Percha Willie, the Working Genius (1873).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 23.

  • It was an old, old, old, old lady,
    And a boy who was half-past three;
    And the way they played together
    Was beautiful to see.
    • H. C. Bunner, One, Two, Three.
  • So good things may be abused, and that which was first invented to refresh men's weary spirits.
    • Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part II, Section II. Mem. 4.
  • I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice.
  • Play up, play up, and play the game.
  • Hail, blest Confusion! here are met
    All tongues, and times, and faces;
    The Lancers flirt with Juliet,
    The Brahmin talks of races.
    • Praed, Fancy Ball, St. 6.
  • We cry for mercy to the next amusement,
    The next amusement mortgages our fields.
    • Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 131.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Amusements are to religion like breezes of air to the flame; gentle ones will fan it, but strong ones will put it out.
  • Any pleasure which takes and keeps the heart from God is sinful, and unless forsaken, will be fatal to the soul.
  • People should be guarded against temptation to unlawful pleasures by furnishing them the means of innocent ones. In every community there must be pleasures, relaxations, and means of agreeable excitement; and if innocent are not furnished, resort will be had to criminal. Man was made to enjoy as well as labor; and the state of society should be adapted to this principle of human nature.
  • Recreation is not the highest kind of enjoyment; but in its time and place it is quite as proper as prayer.
  • Whatever we do to please ourselves, and only for the sake of the pleasure, not for an ultimate object, is "play," the "pleasing thing," not the useful thing. The first of all English games is making money. That is an all-absorbing game; and we knock each other down oftener in playing at that than at football, or any other rougher sport; and it is absolutely without purpose; no one who engages heartily in that game ever knows why. Ask a great money-maker what he wants to do with his money — he never knows. He doesn't make it to do any thing with it. He gets it only that he may get it. " What will you make of what you have got ' " you ask, "Well, I'll get more," he says. Just as at cricket you get more runs. There is no use in the runs; but to get more of them than other people is the game. And there is no use in the money; but to have more of it than other people is the game.

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