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Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest of an audience, or gives pleasure and delight.


  • When the mind is not dissipated upon extraneous things, nor diffused over the world about us through the senses, it withdraws within itself, and of its own accord ascends to the contemplation of God.
  • To Plato and Nietzsche, the history of music is a series of attempts to give form and beauty to the dark, chaotic, premonitory forces in the soul—to make them serve a higher purpose, an ideal, to give man’s duties a fullness. … Such cultivation of the soul uses the passions and satisfies them while sublimating them and giving them an artistic unity. A man whose noblest activities are accompanied by a music that expresses them while providing a pleasure extending from the lowest bodily to the highest spiritual, is whole, and there is no tension in him between the pleasant and the good. By contrast a man whose business life is prosaic and unmusical and whose leisure is made up of coarse, intense entertainments, is divided, and each side of his existence is undermined by the other.
    • Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: 1988), p. 72
  • The ascetic Gotama … avoids watching dancing, singing, music and shows. He abstains from using garlands, perfumes, cosmetics, ornaments and adornments. … He refrains from running errands, from buying and selling.
    • Gotama Buddha, Digha Nikaya, M. Walshe, trans. (1987), Sutta 1, verse 1.10, p. 69
  • Advertisers will want to avoid programs with serious complexities and disturbing controversies that interfere with the “buying mood”. They seek programs that will lightly entertain and thus fit in with the spirit of the primary purpose of program purchases—the dissemination of a selling message.
    • Noam Chomsky and E. S. Herman, Manufacturing Consent (New York: 1988), pp. 17-18
  • The world of the distraction or diversion or perversion of humanity by technology culminates in adoration, veneration, and beatification, in the expression of properly religious sentiment. As Marx showed, alienation leads to religion. Humanity, when diverted, also becomes religious. The star system has been functioning for a long time. In the entertainment world the star becomes the idol in the primary sense, the absolute, transcendent image, a veritable Allah.
    • Jacques Ellul, The Technological Bluff, G. Bromiley, trans. (1990), p. 382
  • I am the entertainer and I know just where I stand,
    Another serenader and another long haired band.
    Today I am your champion, I may have won your hearts.
    But I know the game, you'll forget my name.
    And I won't be here in another year
    If I don't stay on the charts.
  • Literature … seeks to entertain—and why is this? … The reason, fundamentally, is that literature knows something that science does not: the human resistance to hearing the truth. Science does not inform scientists of this basic fact. … The wisdom of literature arises mainly from its attention to this point. To overcome the resistance to truth, literature makes use of fictions that are images of truth.
    • Harvey Mansfield, “How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science”
  • With the lights out, it's less dangerous.
    Here we are now, entertain us.
    I feel stupid and contagious.
    Here we are now, entertain us.
  • 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.
    • Plato, Protagoras in Protagoras, 347c, Benjamin Jowett, trans.
  • 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
  • What man needs is silence and warmth; what he is given is an icy pandemonium.
  • For the amoral herd that fears boredom above all else, everything becomes entertainment. Sex and sport, politics and the arts are transformed into entertainment. … Nothing is immune from the demand that boredom be relieved (but without personal involvement, for mass society is a spectator society).

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