born in its paucity…

…pleasure is born in its paucity and scarcity sustains it. And scarcity has been a fact of life for most of human history; in fact, it is very often a precondition for pleasure. Too much of any good can lead to boredom – that is as true for music as for ice cream or opera. Most pleasures seem to require a context of relative scarcity. Amongst our prehistoric ancestors this was naturally enforced through the rarity of honey and the all-too-infrequent opportunity for the chase. Humans eventually developed the ability, however, to create and store surpluses of pleasure-giving goods, first by cooking and preserving foods and drinks and eventually by transforming even fleeting sensory experiences into reproducible and transmissible packets of pleasure. Think about candy bars, soda pop, and cigarettes, but also photography, phonography, and motion pictures – all of which emerged during the packaged pleasure revolution.

Gary Cross and Robert Proctor, Packaged Pleasures: How Technology and Marketing Revolutionized Desire , University of Chicago Press, 2014, p.7

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