l“In the future, data is everything” – White Noise, Don Delillo.
Boredom as opposed to fun, excitement, amazing, mind blowing, awesome, New, young, live (life), do, go and all the verbal equivalents of an average Joe with a college degree.
Boredom as related to isolation, loneliness, internet disconnection and nothing to do.
As the main drawbacks of the 20th century lifestyles have been drag netted over years of research – boredom sits on a high throne, amused at its camouflaging deceit – one which involves of it being natural in its truest sense – boring. Nobody cares for something boring, atleast you wouldn’t. As a lifestyle disease, boredom has penetrated the deepest strata of the information hungry society - corroding the very bones that bolster the structural framework of this massive information consuming organism – man.
Man resorts to massive bouts of binge eating to satiate his mind’s needs to be freed from the corrupt ions of boredom. But as massive amounts of information is being ingested by man on an ever decreasing time frame - his familiarity with the topics which he consumes reaches a peak after which the information become overtly familiar until such a flow of data becomes ordinary and unpalatable by degenerating into something old and repetitive – in other words, boring. As the initial surge in information gobbling was a direct result to rappel one’s sense of boredom, the information explosion only acts as catalyst to cause a violent increase in one’s perception of boredom.
What is boredom?
Let me not answer that question in terms of psychological weight – as my area of expertise in that subject is next to zilch. Neither am I going to give a philosophical angle to the whole issue of Boredom and how it stems from man’s desire for more and the likes. I will deal with this question on a completely offhand, realistic and unscientific manner – as my academic abilities on this subject permit me to.
Boredom by contemporary terms can be defined as something like this:
“The feeling that you don’t want to be left all to yourself, alone, when you have so much to stimulate and titillate your brain with. And the feeling which precedes post the acceptance of the unknown knowledge – one where the need to do something overrides everything”
Boredom can be simply called as the fear of losing out something in the way of living life, especially when you know that there are hundreds and thousands of entertainment modes made to keep you out of boredom – and your curious phobia on missing out on everything that entertainment has to provide to deliver you from the current mental vegetation.
This rapid information consumption has also a flip side (already mentioned before) which stabs in the back of the same networks that propagate this information – the man as he feeds on more information gets fatigued by it at the end of the day, leaving the propagators of information to find newer ways to entice and satisfy man’s addiction problem to boredom. This is the case with the information hungry, ever changing in their digestion related to all kinds of bits and bytes.
This is not true with another segment of the boring humans – the ones which are illiterate to newer and better kinds of information floating in the electronic networks (almost all the information relay is due to electronics these days, from the newspaper your read to the pub you go to, all rely on electronics [and electricity] to propagate information) and stick to the one unending format of entertainment as their means to salvation, the unadventurous and non curious type of information junkie who is satisfied with his share of Comedy Central, News, TV soaps and ESPN. This kind of information seeker is easier to please, with minor tweaks and changes here and there to suit his needs after a post work boredom scenario – where much experimentation isn't paid attention to.
Both the kinds of boredom we've discussed above dig us deeper into the consumer upheavals that disturb most members of the society (a TV has to be purchased, a book has to be bought and the internet has to be paid for – boredom becomes a knowledge accession desire, whose alleged cure comes at a price) with the sufferers paying more to get us out of the self induced boredom.
Without a cure, boredom is a strong detractor of the way of life in a knowledge driven society. Boredom is a state in which an individual gets time to spend some quality time with himself – asking the questions that help to define his/her life. If not on a daily basis, once in a considerable amount of time the event mentioned has a high probability to occur.. It is this moment that the capitalistic mechanisms of the society seek to alter with making the purported cure for boredom common by flaring up the rumour that such a thought can be unproductive – and with the cure of modern day entertainment, one can avoid such thoughts of confrontation with one’s self which can at times can unveil an often cynical worldview, which can cut off the individual’s experience with his consumerist peers. This is undesired if throes of individuals find out the hidden programming done to them at such micro level – will oppose it after branding it unethical – and find means to provide greater calm of one’s self by approaching non- consumerist (not necessarily, but atleast a meaningful) way of life. But the development of such a community is far from being a possibility thanks to the information explosion phenomenon which creates a complex structure of self image which is often shattering if the consumption pattern is not embraced (“Oh! He doesn’t watch any TV, sad for him”)
Another industry which thrives from the phenomenon of boredom is the recreational drugs industry [as you know alcohol, nicotine and marijuana (and the higher exotic narcotics)] The perceived self degenerating effects (-of the self reasoning, or on a lesser level not to think of another day and live in the present moment) of boredom and the self questioning it arouses, has been given another infectious cure, drugs.
Boredom is usually a momentary problem. And the real solution to any kinds of boredom is the unpredictable future. And if on a weekend you’re holed up at a pretty safe place on the planet (ignoring earthquakes and tornadoes) and you are convinced that nothing spectacular is going to happen in the next few hours, you have a problem. You’ll be bored. And as general human tendencies go – you’d like to change the scene in your favour (and assuming that you don’t dwell in blockbuster cinema palaces and get your thumbs tight around video game consoles) and you’d like to change it fast. A few drinks, a few smokes, a couple of joints maybe and then soak in the unpredictable haze of your thoughts. Getting lost and getting amused by your own unchannelled thoughts is nice way to get rid of boredom and these mediums become ever necessary from time thereafter to become necessary aids to battle out your boredom.
Boredom –> Substance Abuse.
Substance abuse on a greater scale effectively leads to depression, which is as equally fatal as the predecessor in the process chain.
Boredom –> Substance Abuse –> Depression.
If the boredom is not momentary, something that clings on to you for a considerable amount of time making your life vapid and uninteresting, the feeling boils up to lead to greater doors of depression and anxiety. This can be fatal in the case of mental, emotional development and all the other ills associated with depression.
As you can see, the more one tries to control their state of boredom – the more harm they’re causing to themselves both mentally and physically. This is not the case with everyone, as they’re a few who actually move their bottoms to do something else or just sit back and understand the core root of the state of their mind and analyze it in order to understand themselves better.
As modern day society goes, man is reduced to become a one-dimensional being in terms of understanding himself. And as the society progresses into the future, he becomes more lazy in the name of convenience and listens to the world which tells him not to think for himself (unless it comes to thinking about his insurance or the much primal food) and offers him a service which does the thinking for him (well, the freedom with insurance is also limited to taking insurance with a certain company, your say is phenomenally reduced from everything thereon) This has led to an entire generation of masses who’re confused on their existence, who’re confused on the greater purpose of life (as it has always been since the dawn of civilization. In fact, if not for death, nobody would’ve pondered on those questions in the first place) and especially a generation that’s afraid to confront the truth and that’s unable to think for itself (career, family and other selfish gains also are thought but are schemed). Boredom is a self incurred state which has been exploited as a harmless condition and entertainment is dangled as an effective carrot to wipe the strains of boredom out. The mechanisms that are in place to cure your boredom are only a greater part of the whole to get you into the system of buying more and make your permanent addicts of paid information (aka entertainment, in a much toned down version) and information control systems.
“Boredom is the fear of self” - Marie Joséphine de Suin.
The opportunities of self realization we get while we’re bored are the cues given by our minds to help ourselves understand us better. And if this can be understood, then lots of valuable time, energy, money and health can be saved and saved for good. And this understanding gives the cure to boredom and helps one defeat it with a much desired by-product left behind – happiness.
“Bliss—a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious—lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.” – David Foster Wallace.
Curiosity is one of the key identities that helps propel the human race towards a common singularity – a sense of complete equilibrium across all strata of the society (though we are nowhere near that as of today) and it is this curiosity that built bridges and dug out mines and sailed the oceans. Man is ever curious to learn, mimic and enjoy. But untreated excessive curiousness transforms into a business opportunity that has been hacked and mauled upon to change the very way we live, see, eat and breathe.
"To make discoveries, you have to be curious about why the universe is the way it is."- Issac Asimov.
This when translated for the 21st century audience, to discovery anything, first stop being curious about entertainment – rest will follow.