Perhaps the most overused and abused word in my vocabulary is interesting. I’ve been thinking about that word a lot lately, mostly trying to figure out what a suitable definition of “interesting” might be. Overuse wears away the surface of common words making it possible for them to slip chameleon-like into just about any situation; it also reduces them to the category of verbal filler.

Obviously, blogging lost its “interest” a while ago for the vast majority of my online friends, and they have moved on to other social media that better suit their needs. I keep trying to sustain an “interest” in it, although my blog has long ceased being “interesting” to anyone (easily established through the paucity of comment on my updates/return). No one has “noticed” because it simply isn’t worthy of “note”.
So just what is a usable definition of “interesting” beyond the circular invocation of “interest”? I think it reduces to attention. something is “interesting” when it attracts attention; the more sustained and active that attention is, the more “interesting” the something/someone is. This makes “interest” largely subjective, but not entirely so. For example, we would all deem physical threats worthy of attention, and by this definition “interesting”. But not everyone would agree that poetry is “interesting”. Another criterion should be added– something that is interesting rewards the attention you give it. Thus, paying attention to things that can harm you rewards you with survival, and attention to poetry rewards those of a certain disposition.
Each added word to the definition increases the complexity. Attention is base, primal. Reward is far more complex. It leads to a certain taxonomic impulse. What sort of reward are we talking about? Mental? Physical? Spiritual?
Ultimately though, a declaration of “interest” is taxonomic even without the complexity of reward. We must decide what is worth paying attention to, sorting out signal from all the noise. Declaring interest is immediately redundant– why would we bring something up if it wasn’t interesting?

1 thought on “Interesting”

  1. … think i’ve been reading this Public Address right from version 1 … “attracted” to the posts … return time after time to make meaning of this attraction … re(Ward) … on(ward)s … thanks for your interest in playing … if@

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