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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Mystery of Personal Interest

Magnetism by Ahmed Mater

One aspect of human nature I find fascinating is that what can arouse interest and curiosity in one individual can be entirely uninteresting to another. This is the case regarding most everything. Thus, we have sports fanatics and those who care nothing about sports. Theater buffs and those who care nothing about theater. A scientist who finds a phenomenon intensely remarkable, while another researcher doesn't even notice it. Someone who thinks a painting is exquisite, while another finds it a jumbled mess. Someone who digs classical music, while another likes only heavy metal. In my own experience, I have considered a “little joke” casually presented to me over 30 years ago and roughly drawn on scratch paper (which no doubt some would have dismissed instantly as uninteresting) a matter of immense and abiding significance (see: In my defense I ask: Would everyone have been drawn equally to the burning bush Moses saw, or would some have glanced at it briefly, yawned, and walked away? In many ways these idiosyncratic predispositions of interest and the focus of thought and expenditure of energy that result do not originate by human will alone, but by something not readily accessible to the will. This diversity of interests (however pervasive and profoundly important in human life) remains to this day a dimly understood mystery. 

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