Interests and interests

The word “interests” in English has two meanings:

(a) things that are to your advantage,

(b) things you find interesting.

Most people run their lives according to (a) to a degree I find had to fathom. Calculations of self-interest may be conscious (a Senator supporting Trump’s election lies) or not-so-conscious (a cyclist going without a light since the police don’t enforce that rule). (The calculation may be essentially valid or not, but that’s not my concern here.)

Which brings me to (b). So many people’s interests are so narrow! I think that’s often because they are mainly interested in things they perceive as related to their self-interest. Most people, to a degree I find hard to fathom, are not very interested in topics or activities beyond what will advance their lives and their careers. So (a) and (b) end up entwined after all.

[16 October 2022]