How Pleasure Works

Why we like what we like

How Pleasure Works

We are attracted, whether we know it or not, to the hidden aspects of things and people. Some teenagers enjoy cutting themselves with razors. Some men pay good money to be spanked by prostitutes. The average Briton spends over a day a week watching television. People slow their cars to look at gory accidents and go to sentimental movies that make them cry. In this revealing and witty account, Paul Bloom examines the science behind these curious desires, attractions and tastes, exploring one of the most fascinating and fundamental engines of human behaviour. Drawing on insights from child development, philosophy, neuroscience and behavioural economics, How Pleasure Works shows how certain universal habits of the human mind explain what we like and why we like it.

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like

“Engaging, evocative. . . . [Bloom] is a supple, clear writer, and his parade of counterintuitive claims about pleasure is beguiling.”—NPR Why is an artistic masterpiece worth millions more than a convincing forgery? Pleasure works in mysterious ways, as Paul Bloom reveals in this investigation of what we desire and why. Drawing on a wealth of surprising studies, Bloom investigates pleasures noble and seamy, lofty and mundane, to reveal that our enjoyment of a given thing is determined not by what we can see and touch but by our beliefs about that thing’s history, origin, and deeper nature.

How Pleasure Works

The New Science of why We Like what We Like

How Pleasure Works

"Examines the science behind humans' strange and curious desires, attractions and tastes, covering everything from the animal instincts of sex and food to the uniquely human taste for art, music and stories, in a book that draws on insights from child development, philosophy, neuroscience and more."

Pleasure and the Arts

Enjoying Literature, Painting, and Music

Pleasure and the Arts

How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Butler offers us an explanation of our enjoyable emotional engagements with literature, music, and painting. Pleasurable in its own right, Pleasure and the Arts presents a sparkling explanation of the enduring interest of artistic expression. - ;How do the arts give us pleasure? Covering a very wide range of artistic works, from Auden to David Lynch, Rembrandt to Edward Weston, and Richard Strauss to Keith Jarrett, Pleasure.

Television on Demand

Curatorial Culture and the Transformation of TV

Television on Demand

Since 2010 “curation” has become a marketing buzzword. Wrenched from its traditional home in the world of high art, everything from food to bed linens to dog toys now finds itself subject to this formerly rarified activity. Most of the time the term curation is being inaccurately used to refer to the democratization of choice – an inevitable development and side effect of the economics of long tail distribution. However, as any true curator will tell you – curation is so much more than choosing – it relies upon human intelligence, agency, evaluation and carefully considered criteria – an accurate, if utopian definition of the much-abused and overused term. Television on Demand examines what happens when curation becomes the primary way in which media users or viewers engage with mass media such as journalism, music, cinema, and, most specifically, television. Mass media's economic model is based on mass audiences – not a cornucopia of endless options from which individuals can customize their intake. The rise of a curatorial culture where viewers create their own entertainment packages and select from a buffet of viewing options and venues has caused a seismic shift for the post-network television industry – one whose ultimate effects and outcomes remain unknown. Curatorial culture is a revolutionary new consumption ecology – one that the post-network television producers and distributors have not yet figured out how to monetize, as they remain in what anthropologists call a “liminal” state of a rite of passage – no longer what they used to be, but not yet what they will become. How does an advertiser-supported medium find leave alone quantify viewers who DVR This is Us but fast-forward through the commercials; have a season pass to The Walking Dead via iTunes to watch on their daily commutes; are a season behind on Grey's Anatomy via Amazon Prime but record the current season to watch after they're caught up; binge watched Orange is the New Black the day it dropped on Netflix; are watching new-to-them episodes of Downton Abbey on pbs.org; never miss PewDiePie's latest video on YouTube, graze on Law & Order: SVU on Hulu and/or TNT and religiously watch Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show via digital rabbit ears? While audiences clamor for more story-driven and scripted entertainment, their transformed viewing habits undermine the dominant economic structures that fund quality episodic series. Legacy broadcasters are producing more scripted content than ever before and experimenting with new models of distribution – CBS will premiere its new Star Trek series on broadcast television but require fans to subscribe to its AllAccess app to continue their viewing. NBC's original Will & Grace is experiencing a syndication renaissance as a limited-run season of new episodes are scheduled for fall 2017. At the same time, new producing entities such as Amazon Studios, Netflix and soon Apple TV compete with high-budget “television” programs that stream around traditional distribution models, industrial structures and international licensing agreements. Television on Demand: Curatorial Culture and the Transformation of TV explains and theorizes curatorial culture; examines the response of the “industry,” its regulators, its traditional audience quantifiers, and new digital entrants to the ecosystem of the empowered viewer; and considers the viable future(s) of this crucial culture industry.

The Problem with Pleasure

Modernism and Its Discontents

The Problem with Pleasure

Aldous Huxley decried "the horrors of modern 'pleasure,'" or the proliferation of mass produced, widely accessible entertainment that could degrade or dull the mind. He and his contemporaries, including James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, and Jean Rhys, sought to radically redefine pleasure, constructing arduous and indirect paths to delight through their notoriously daunting work. Laura Frost follows these experiments in the art of unpleasure, connecting modernism's signature characteristics, such as irony, allusiveness, and obscurity, to an ambitious attempt to reconfigure bliss. In The Problem with Pleasure, Frost draws upon a wide variety of materials, linking interwar amusements, such as the talkies, romance novels, the Parisian fragrance Chanel no. 5, and the exotic confection Turkish Delight, to the artistic play of Joyce, Lawrence, Stein, Rhys, and others. She considers pop cultural phenomena and the rise of celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino and Gypsy Rose Lee against contemporary sociological, scientific, and philosophical writings on leisure and desire. Throughout her study, Frost incorporates recent scholarship on material and visual culture and vernacular modernism, recasting the period's high/low, elite/popular divides and formal strategies as efforts to regulate sensual and cerebral experience. Capturing the challenging tensions between these artists' commitment to innovation and the stimulating amusements they denounced yet deployed in their writing, Frost calls attention to the central role of pleasure in shaping interwar culture.

The Splendid Vision

Reading a Buddhist Sutra

The Splendid Vision

Featuring the first-ever English translation of the "Splendid Vision Sutra," a sixth-century Indian Mahayana Buddhist scripture known for its rich ritual magic and worship of bodhisattva-goddesses, this volume explicates the text's cultural significance as a source of extraordinary value, cosmic truth, and existential meaning. The ancient author of the "Splendid Vision Sutra" promises every imaginable reward to those who heed its words and rites, whether one's desire is to become king, enjoy heavenly pleasures for thousands of millennia, or attain the spiritual summit of advanced bodhisattvahood. Richard S. Cohen carefully analyzes this religious rhetoric, developing a heuristic model of "scripture" that extends beyond Buddhist literature. In his framework, a text becomes sacred scripture when a community accepts it as a receptacle of extraordinary value, an authoritative source of cosmic truth, and a guide for meaningful action. While clarifying these points, Cohen untangles the discursive skein through which the "Splendid Vision Sutra" expresses its authority, inspires readers to accept that authority, and promises superior power and accomplishments to those who implement its teachings. Exploring ways of living and reading a text, Cohen draws on Marcel Duchamp's theory of found art, Jerzy Grotowski's idealization of the holy actor, and other formulations, identifying contingencies, uncertainties, and incompleteness in the lived present and its determination of our reception of the past. More than a mere introduction to an important work, The Splendid Vision opens a window into religious experience and practice in contemporary environments as well as in the world of the sutra.

Choose the Life You Want

The Mindful Way to Happiness

Choose the Life You Want

What kind of life do you want for yourself? What choices will create this kind of life? In his New York Times bestseller Happier, positive psychology expert Tal Ben-Shahar taught us how to become happier through simple exercises. Now, in Choose the Life You Want, he has a new, life-changing lesson to share: Drawing on the latest psychological research, Ben-Shahar shows how making the right choices—not the big, once-in-a-lifetime choices, but the countless small choices we make every day almost without noticing—has a direct, long-lasting impact on our happiness. Every single moment is an opportunity to make a conscious choice for a happy and fulfilled life. Choose the Life You Want covers 101 such choices, complete with real-life stories, to help you identify and act on opportunities large and small.

As If

Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality

As If

Many people throughout the world "inhabit" imaginary worlds communally and persistently, parsing Harry Potter and exploring online universes. These activities might seem irresponsibly escapist, but history tells another story. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, when Sherlock Holmes became the world's first "virtual reality" character, readers began to colonize imaginary worlds, debating serious issues and viewing reality in provisional, "as if" terms rather than through essentialist, "just so" perspectives. From Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos and Tolkien's Middle-earth to the World of Warcraft and Second Life, As If provides a cultural history that reveals how we can remain enchanted but not deluded in an age where fantasy and reality increasingly intertwine.

In touch with the future

The sense of touch from cognitive neuroscience to virtual reality

In touch with the future

Out of all the human senses, touch is the one that is most often unappreciated, and undervalued. Yet, the surface of the human body, the skin, is actually one huge sheet of tactile receptors. It provides us with the means to connect with our surroundings. Despite the important role that vision plays in our everyday lives, it is the skin that constitutes both the oldest, and by far the largest of our sense organs. The skin protects our body from the external world and, at the same time, informs us about what occurs on its surface. In Touch With The Future explores the science of touch, bringing together the latest findings from cognitive neuroscience about the processing of tactile information in humans. The book provides a comprehensive overview of scientific knowledge regarding themes such as tactile memory, tactile awareness (consciousness), tactile attention, the role of touch in interpersonal and sexual interactions, and the neurological substrates of touch. It highlights the many ways in which our growing understanding of the world of touch can, and in some cases already are, being applied in the real world in everything from the development of virtual reality (VR) environments, tablet PCs, mobile phones, and even teledildonics - the ultimate frontier in terms of adult entertainment. In addition, the book shows how the cognitive neuroscience approach to the study of touch can be applied to help improve the design of many real-world applications/products as well as to many of our everyday experiences, such as those related to the appreciation of food, marketing, packaging design, the development of enhanced sensory substitution systems, art, and man-machine interfaces. Crucially, the authors makes a convincing argument for the view that one cannot really understand touch, especially not in a real-world context, without placing it in a multisensory context. That is, the senses interact to influence tactile perception in everything - from changing the feel of a surface or product by changing the sound it makes or the fragrance it has. For students and researchers in the brain sciences, this book presents a valuable and fascinating exploration into one of our least understood senses