Just sitting here thinking about entertainment. It's a bit related to interesting-ness; how do we chose to spend our time?
For much of the world, basic human needs like food and shelter are a given - sadly, for another much of the world, they are not, don't want to be callus about this - but for you, readers of this blog, this is largely true ... and I/you/we spend a lot of our money and time on entertainment.
In our world the most valued people are entertainers - actors, musicians, athletes, writers, etc. These are "hits" businesses - only the tip of the entertainment pyramid is so valuable - but they are broadly leveragable - a great actor, musician, athlete, or writer can entertain many many of us (indeed all of us) at the same time.
It was not always so. Before electronic communication the reach of an entertainer was limited, and hence, they were less valuable. (Writers had big reach earlier, with printing presses...) In my not-yet-written book Unnatural Selection I planned a chapter called "the piano player", in which I noted that in the recent past even a good player could be entertaining to many in a local community, while now you would have to be a great player, but could entertain everyone. Mass communication has fostered a global decanting. But that aside, entertainment was still valuable back then, maybe more so given its scarcity.
Clearly entertainment is a brain thing, so is wanting and liking entertainment a by-product of other selection, or fundamental to it?
Frequent readers know I postulate happiness comes from liking yourself; if entertainment makes you happy (it does) then does it make you like yourself (it must). So why would watching a great actor, or listening to a great musician make you like you? Maybe its by analogy, a sort of inspiration; if that human can do that thing, than I could too?
As a contra point to this: watching other species do incredible things is entertaining too. And what about humor?
It is a mystery. I will continue to ponder :)