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Pleasure and Entertainment



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# 5 / 40 – February 2008

Pleasure and Entertainment.                                


Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia makes mention of a concept that I found enlightening.

Entertainment and pleasure are not synonymous.

The differences are important for us to understand.

On one hand, there is entertainment.

Entertainment is defined as something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.

The “little kid” in all of us wants lots of quick amusement and diversion. We love about movies, concerts, the Internet and buying things. It feels like it will fill us and make us happy.

But the reality is that entertainment is passive and fleeting-a quick-fix that doesn’t last. Then after we are left empty, we need to fill ourselves up again.

On the other hand, there is pleasure.

Pleasure is defined as the state or feeling of being pleased or gratified; a source of enjoyment or delight.

Pleasure is deeper than entertainment. There is a shift within us-we feel gratified and that sensation doesn’t quickly dissipate.

I think of the difference between entertainment and pleasure as the difference between Ho Hos (or Yodels), and a healthy, balanced snack, like celery sticks with peanut butter. The snack cakes give us a quick sugar high, but they also leave us empty and wanting more. The healthy, balanced snack, while potentially less convenient, truly satisfies.

(Not that I don’t like sugary snacks. I have a bunch in my office refrigerator. I’m just making a point and my other example – the difference between sex and love – seemed potentially distracting.)

Things that are pleasurable seem to be less passive than things that entertain us. Things that we take pleasure in usually are things in which we are more actively involved.

So, take a moment to think about the rest of your day and your week…

(This is especially important if you, like me, live in the “entertainment capital of the world.”)

Think about the things you have ahead of you and see if you can figure out a way to have less momentary entertainment and more long-lasting pleasure and delight.

And love.

With love,


Rabbi Brian

A web version of this article is available here.
This article was also posted at Street Prophets where it received a few comments.

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