Enjoyment – ngrams

Last week I shared how we seem to be less inclined to talk about virtues, and I pondered whether we were becoming less virtuous. Interestingly, we also seem to be less interested in talking about our own enjoyment.

Without virtue or delights and pleasures, what else is there?

As always, if you are new to Google ngrams, check out the first blog post in this series for a summary of this tool.

Here’s the interesting chart.


It would seem we are far less likely to talk about anything related to our enjoyment; things like pleasures and delights. This seems counter-intuitive to me. It seems like our culture is actually heading in exactly the opposite direction. I would have assumed we were more likely to focus on these things than we used to be.

There are several possibilities.

First, maybe I’m just dead wrong. It happens, I’m comfortable with that. Maybe we are living in a culture that is growing increasingly ascetic with time; shunning the delights and pleasures of this world.

Second, maybe these things – pleasures, delights, enjoyment – have become so much a part of our everyday life that we take them for granted and no longer discuss them.

Third, maybe we do actually care deeply about these things, but our language to describe them has simply changed with time.

Next week’s ngram will explore this further. Stay tuned.