We’ve made thrills boring. We can do the opposite.

January 2, 2020 by Joshua
in Perception

Here is an 1855 painting of Paris from a hot air balloon by an artist named Victor Navlet.

The first manned hot air balloon flew in Paris in 1783. Technology didn’t advance as fast then as now, so I figure few people would have experienced it, let alone artists. People couldn’t take pictures, so the painting must have amazed anyone who saw it. No one could see the view any other way.

Here are some details of the painting:

Stunning, aren’t they? Imagine if you’d never reached such heights. The Eiffel Tower would rise a half-century later. People climbed mountains but couldn’t arbitrarily rise.

Once balloons were exciting. Then biplanes made them boring. Eventually jets made propeller planes boring. Now we’re bored by flying. We just want to be there already. Or we want to get online or watch a movie.

Once people loved pong. Now we tire in a week of video games companies paid a quarter of a billion dollars to create.

Once a cassette tape’s portability, meaning we could bring a couple dozen songs with us and listen to them about once before the battery died, was beyond incredible. Now we can access nearly every song ever recorded at a moment’s notice and it’s ho-hum.

Sony Walkman

Has any technology existed that we didn’t come to see as ordinary or get bored of?

Do we doubt that the thrill of space flight will go the way of hot air balloons?

Can a new technology’s thrill compare with losing yourself in your lover’s eyes or the squeal of your child at play?

If someone once felt thrilled by a technology, then we can too, even if it’s now obsolete. If anything ever thrilled a human, we can get that thrill too—no technology necessary.

We can make our worlds as thrilling or rewarding in whatever way we want. We can see them as boring, which many people seem to, but why not find the thrill or emotion we want?

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