We are compelled to reach for things we supposedly need but really don’t. We don’t need to check our email right this second or need to see the latest trending news, no matter how much we feel we must.
Even when we think we’re seeking pleasure, we’re actually driven by the desire to free ourselves from the pain of wanting. Most people don’t want to acknowledge the uncomfortable truth that distraction is always an unhealthy escape from reality.
As is the case with all human behavior, distraction is just another way our brains attempt to deal with pain.
We fail to have fun because we don’t take things seriously enough, not because we take them so seriously that we’d have to cut their bitter taste with sugar. The idea is to pay such close attention that you find new challenges you didn’t see before.
Operating under constraints, Bogost says, is the key to creativity and fun. Play doesn’t have to be pleasurable. It just has to hold our attention.