Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Variety the Spice of Life?

Is there an inherent worth to variety? Is it a response to the modern notion of boredom that doesn't come about until industrialization gives us leisure and people trying to sell us things to do with our leisure time? The word "bored" doesn't appear in the English language until 1823 and "boredom" until 1853 (The OED has Dickens' Bleak House as containing the inaugural use of the term). Is variety intrinsically valuable or is it something that enterprising capitalists are trying to get us to believe in order to induce false needs to buy more and different? Or is there a truly human reason why we love -- and should love -- novelty? Is novelty a condition for growth, innovation, and progress? By experiencing a range of things, does it make us broader minded across the board? Should we seek variety to round out our character? Is variety the spice of life, or would that be cinnamon?