Friday, June 28, 2013


I've been thinking off and on about why some people get so excited about movies or music or TV or games, and some people don't.  Being one of the people who do get excited, I couldn't really comprehend how someone could not be excited about at least one of those things.  I mean, art is pretty fundamental to the human experience.  How can it not thrill and excite you?

Talking with my friend Louise about the topic a while back, I learned something that I think helped me to understand it a little better.  Both of us love games, and we watch Breaking Bad and Dexter and other TV together, and generally enjoy art.  But while I become excited to the point of bursting whenever I find out that someone's working on a new Might and Magic or Command and Conquer or Warcraft game, or Imogen Heap's putting out a new CD, she doesn't.  I become overwhelmed with anticipation and she doesn't.

Now I don't have a deep psychology background or a lot of data points, but the thing that I realized talking to her is that basically all of my emotional experiences come from art.  Is that true, at least to some degree, for other people who become enormously excited about art?  Her emotions are triggered by human interactions, but I rarely feel much of anything talking to other people.  I don't cry at funerals or weddings, I don't get as angry as others, and I'm rarely sad.  But the scene at the end of what was effectively just the tutorial to Mass Effect 3, where the Leaving Earth theme is being played and you watch people get onto evacuation ships—that made me cry.  And the introduction to Up.  And at least half of the episodes of Lost.  And the feeling I get when I hear an amazing song for the first time is greater than most of the times I've heard great news from a friend.  Art is what moves me.

Is there correlation between those who react strongly to art and poorly to other humans, and those who get overwhelmed with excited anticipation about a CD?  Certainly on the surface it makes sense to be excited about the types of things that have most reliably brought you joy in the past.  For some people that's other people.  Or maybe some people just don't get excited with anticipation—that just doesn't seem very likely to me.

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