Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Unfamiliar Ergo Awesome!

Original Posting

Let me ask you a question. If you lived in a high fantasy world full of strange and unusual races, wonderful creatures like dragons and sex-crazed wood nymphs, wizards who can manipulate the material realm simply through the use of potions and words, and full of ancient treasures, what would boredom be like?

I'm not sure what you answered, but my answer would be: the same as it is in our world.

Go ahead and phrase the question in different worlds: sci-fi, pirate adventure, supernatural investigation, etc. In all those wonderful and fantastic worlds, what would boredom be like? Well, why should boredom be any different in those worlds than our own? Of course I don't think anyone imagines it would be otherwise, they just imagine that boredom wouldn't be much of an issue in those worlds. Or maybe they just imagine that there's a lot more potential for excitement in that kind of world.

Why should such a world seem exciting, though? The High-Fantasy world seems exciting to us, I think, because it contains things that don't exist in our own world. It contains the unfamiliar, and that's why it's interesting. If we lived in a world where Dragons flew over our house everyday, Dragons would become terribly boring to us; if they kept themselves exciting by being violent, then we would find a way to kill them or subdue them.

And then the excitement's gone.

What fascinates us about things unfamiliar to our world is their distance. You've never quite grasped them, there's always another interpretation or another matter to think about. We can always butcher up our own animals and post our knowledge about them on Wikipedia, and of course we might find it interesting, but it won't produce that same fascination that something unknowable would have.

Would it?

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