My Road to the Ph.D.: Sources of Amusement…


Question of the Day:  How do you amuse yourself and what good does it do you?

If you break down the word amuse you see two part: a/muse.  Muse is another word for “think.”  When we refer to the Muses of Greek mythology, we’re talking about the spirits of inspiration.  It’s no wonder many artists and poets called upon the Muses for divine  inspiration or often referred to beautiful women as their muses.  So, when we muse upon something, we do more than give it a moment’s thought.  We’re spending some engaging deeply in a creative, imaginative process.

So, when we add the prefix “a” to word, we’re trying to denote the opposite of the root word.   What does that leave us with when we take a second look at the word amuse?  When we think amusement, do we think of turning our brains off?  Maybe.  But looking at the second part of the question, we have to ask what good that does for us?  After a long day of monotonous work, do we really need to turn out brains off any further?  What forms of amusement do we seek with significant others (minds out of the gutter!) that does us any long-term good?

Food for Thought:  Maybe the next time you’re bored and looking for something to do (either alone or with someone else), maybe look for more than simply being amused.

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About fhelvie

I live in CT with my wife and two sons. I am also writing my doctoral dissertation, which is focused on the relationship between American literature and comic book superheroes. I have served as a panelist at a number of conferences discussing my research in comics, medieval literature, and pedagogy. Most recently, I had the good fortune to present at the New York Comic Con. In addition to my work in comics scholarship, I'm also a full-time professor of developmental English.
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