Many paid professions or jobs require us to do the same menial tasks over and over. I remember I once had a job as manual check sorter for a bank (before it was all automated). I stayed on that job, as I remember, one hour. It was either quit or find a cheap clinic that could perform a while-you-wait lobotomy.
I'm not saying all grinding is a bad thing. Some people like repititious key-pounding and doing the same thing over and over with different clothes or make-up on. Liberace comes to mind. I'm just talking about getting rid of the bad grinding. I don't mind doing the same thing repititiously, but doing it from a sense of having to, or of not being able to advance unless I spend long hours doing so, makes such activity become un-fun very quickly. Given the nature of the MMOG format, what can be done to remove the need for grinding - but still allow those who want to grind or for whatever perverse reason enjoy it, grind for additional benefit?
If a game implemented a 24/7 advancement feature where one's character was advancing all the time regardless of how much time one spent doing anything else, or was even offline ( like Eve's advancement tree), then the necessary grind is removed from the game and replaced with the "I wanna" grind. If you made it so that grinding added advancement on top of the 24/7 amount everyone got all the time, then there would be added reward/benefit for grinding, but such play would not be necessary in terms of advancing your character.
Plus, you get all the other benefits of 24/7 character advancement - a sense of involvement in the game even when you aren't playing; a sense of relief from feeling like you have to play; the freedom to do what you wanted in the game instead of what you feel you have to do, etc.