Ian Bogost and his commentators have some interesting reactions to K-Punk’s argument on ‘depressive hedonia’. First, Ian connects it to the never-ending debate over ‘hard’ theory:
Yet, as Fisher points out, when students “want Nietzsche in the same way that they want a hamburger” they miss the fact that “the indigestibility is Nietzsche.”
My answer here is probably to say that nothing is inherently worthwhile /because/ it is hard. It can perhaps, though, be good in spite of hardness, and the hardness (if measured in the depth of attention possible/required) can open a door oto stronger feeling/understanding.
Then there is an interesting comment about distraction as a defence mechanism. Of a student wearing headphones in class:
What if the student needed the headphones primarily as a type of anxiety management against the classroom, placing a symbolic barrier of sorts between himself and the room in which he was expected to participate with a degree of fluency, articulateness and incisiveness that, in this society, it’s just as likely he would feel eminently unequal to. To me, the headphones seem much more a way to insulate one from the angst of socio-academic participation in than it is “to be denied, for a moment, the constant flow of sugary gratification on demand.”
This, IMO, is also true as a much more general rule. The cycle of seeking new things, seeking short-term gratification or acceptance — it’s the result of insecurity. If you have the confidence of being surrounded by love and acceptance, you don’t need by-the-minute demonstration thereof.
Incidentally, for reference, this is the post which formed the basis for that section of Capitalist Realism.