From the brain of Charles Darwin

I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, …, gave me great pleasure, and even as a schoolboy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also almost lost my taste for pictures or music. Music generally sets me thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, … .

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher aesthetic tastes is all the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

— From the autobiography of Charles Darwin

Personally, I find TV very boring. I used to be able to enjoy various series and movies, but now I can not watch anything without having a book in front of me. Going to the movies is a pain and only done as a social function (like eating out). The flow of knowledge is simply too weak. Nothing new is presented, so I am not learning anything. No ideas. No concepts. DW claims there is much going on, but I seem to be missing most of it. Did this come about from giving up TV between ages 22 and 28?

I have the same problem with computer games which I stopped playing when I was 23. I tried again when I was 25 but it only lasted a couple of months. Again, I tried reviving my interest when I was 31 by buying a PS2. That worked slightly better. Still, the only game I got moderately into was Battlefield 2. And that did not last long either. I hate to admit it, but I swapped some of my DVDs for PS2 games on swaptree and I’m yet to open some of these games. They have been sitting for several months now.

In both cases, I stopped using these kinds of media because I got “busy and serious”. Maybe that was a mistake. Other people seem to get such endless pleasure out of watching shows and playing games that now seem meaningless to me. Oh well …

What about you? Did you once enjoy something that you now find incredibly dull?