Quora answer: What makes something interesting?

Heidegger famously criticized the idea of things being “interesting” as being nihilistic, because what is interesting today is boring tomorrow, what is interesting does not hold its value. He said that what is better is “thought-provoking” and then says that what is most thought-provoking” is that we are not yet thinking.

But I have created a bunch of topics on Quora asking what is interesting, and I see that many others have too. We have to start with what is interesting, but we need to move to what is thought provoking. And it is an extreme to say that we are not yet thinking, because many of us are thinking, but it is hard to see the results of that thought until after the fact.

What is interesting is novelty for its own sake. But what is thought provoking in my view is what ever is emergent within a particular scope like given, fact, theory, paradigm, epsiteme, ontos, existent, and absolute. If something is emergent it provokes our thought because we are seeing something more that just the novel but something radically and genuinely new. And this new ordering of our experience as G.H. Mead says makes us view history differently, and allows us to see new possibilities in the future, and gives us new affordances in the present, as well as creating a new mythos (a new entry into mythic time).

So what makes something interesting is the nihilistic structure of the Western worldview that makes what ever is of interest in the moment boring in the next moment. But the real question, to my mind is what makes something thought provoking, and that is related to whether it is a genuine emergence or not.




Posted February 10, 2011 by kentpalmer in Uncategorized

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