Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some Thoughts on Boredom

I recently watched a documentary about boredom. It was okay, though ironically parts of it were boring, probably because a lot of it was pointing out the obvious, but there were a few glimmers of insight that helped me gain a better understanding of what boredom is, what causes it, and how widespread it is.

Boredom is a state of stress and agitation, caused by a lack of interest in where you are, who you are with, or what you are doing. Although it's a matter of perception, some types of things are inherently more prone to causing boredom than others. Boredom is primarily associated with a lack of stimulation, of not liking what you see, and not seeing any alternatives.

We all crave stimulation, to experience ever new, exciting, and wonderful things.

What do we want most? To feel more alive. To be happy.

Boredom is the opposite of that.

Boredom is the kissing cousin to misery and apathy.

It's like being in a cage, without windows, without a view, and all you want to do is run away, but you're immobilized, you're shackled to the floor, there's no escape.

It's mental, it's physical, it's everything, all encompassing. If you feel bored, you feel trapped, you feel stuck, inertia has set in. Get me the hell out of this place. Anywhere but here. Some people have even been known to kill themselves over it.

In fact, it's a state that feels closer to death than life, and we spend all of our lives trying to break free from this cage, to feel more alive, to experience more stimulation, ever new, exciting, and beautiful things.

Most of what we do is done for this purpose. The search for pleasure and adventure, the search for meaning and purpose, to make the world a better place, to find love and wisdom and fulfillment, is also, at the heart of it, a search for the alleviation of boredom.

Most addictions are caused by boredom. People seek pleasure from harmful or dangerous activities, because they alter their experience in new and exciting ways.

A lot of people have addictions, and most of them don't use drugs or alcohol.

Apparently the biggest addiction of the modern age, isn't prescription medication or caffeinated beverages, it's looking at screens.

We look at screens not just because we have to, or because they make our lives better, but we actually are becoming addicted to them, that we look at them just to look at them even if we don't need to look at them, that if we suddenly find ourselves unable to look at a screen, we become agitated, we find ourselves alone, face to face with our own boredom. But boredom doesn't have a face, boredom is the absence of another face, it is more of a mirror, when we are bored we are left alone with nothing but ourselves, and for many that is terrifying.

That's right. Looking at screens is the number one addiction of the modern age. It's not just that we look at them, we can't stop looking at them.

Televisions. Smartphones. Computers. Movie theaters. Electronic billboards. ATM machines. Credit card readers. Surveillance cameras. E-readers. Video games. Blogs.

Yes, if you are reading this blog, you too are probably an addict.

And I'm your drug. But I'm also getting high off my own stash. Providing you with another hit of Cym's creative ramblings, another dose of I hope to find novelty and excitement this time, something to make your day a little less boring. I hope I succeeded. After all, that's all we are here, voyeurs and exhibitionists seeking something better.

No comments: