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I just read the following sentence which is part of a quote from Richard Taylor, Restoring Pride:

"[..]Indeed, many people will account their lives to be successful if they get through them with only minimal pain, with pleasant divergence from moment to moment and day-to-day, and the general approval of those around them.[..]"

I know the meaning of divergence in terms of being a deviation but I'm having difficulties understanding what it means in the context above.

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Most people do not want their lives to be boring, doing exactly the same thing day after day. At the same time, those same people don't want their lives to be wildly erratic, never known from one minute to the next what disaster will befall them.

A 'pleasant divergence' means that people enjoy a pleasant level of variation from day to day. Some happy, and perhaps unexpected, variation in their daily or weekly routine that brightens up their day, e.g.:

  • receiving good news from a friend or relative,

  • going out to dinner with friends,

  • getting an unexpected promotion or bonus,

  • winning a small prize in a lottery or competition - small enough not to be stressful, large enough to be useful,

  • a visit from friends or family,

  • your child gets good marks from school, or does well in a sport or hobby,

  • etc.

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