How long since you’ve been really bored? People seem to believe that there is a human right to NOT be bored. We have television, computers, videos, radio, movies, cable, satellite, Red Box, Netflix, Prime, and On Demand. Heaven forbid that anyone should ever spend any time being bored.
Remember when it was actually possible to spend a boring afternoon? We were forced to find creative ways to entertain ourselves, things like reading books, doing crafts, or just daydreaming. No more. We cannot stand to be bored long enough to dream or think creatively. We rush to push buttons before boredom sets in.
When I was young, life was pretty boring, but somehow we all managed to grow up anyhow. If school was not interesting, we learned to challenge ourselves. Now kids must be entertained to learn. Computers provide constant feedback and stimulate learning, or at least that’s what we are told.
Somehow, our gadgets are not quite as entertaining as they used to be, though. Hundreds of channels on the satellite and still we can’t find anything on television worth watching. Thousands of websites, but we surf aimlessly from one site to another. The biggest challenge for a webmaster is getting a person to stay on a website long enough to look at it.
We have become multitaskers, eating, watching TV, working on the computer, and talking on the phone all at the same time. The more stimulation we have, the more we seem to need. It keeps us from being bored.
Could it be that we have become so overly stimulated that nothing truly entertains us any more? We are always looking for something better, something more interesting, something more exciting – something less boring.
“I’m bored,” is not heard often anymore. And if it is, we seem to think it is our responsibility as parents, teachers, or society as a whole to provide ways to keep people from being bored. Bored children get in trouble, we are told. You have to keep kids busy, entertained. But how do you do that when staying busy itself has become a bore?
There is too much to see, too much to do, too much to entertain us, too much competition for our time and attention. There is no time to watch a sunset, go for a walk, feed the birds, or rediscover the thoughts, meditations and dreams of our own mind.
We are filled with the voices, thoughts and words of other people with values different from our own. The more we absorb, the more alike we all become and the blander, more uniform and more boring life becomes.
Soon nothing will be stimulating enough to keep boredom away. We will sit among our electronic gadgets, surfing from channel to channel on the television, clicking from site to site on the computer, pushing button after button on the remote control, reading email after email, as we look for a something we’ve not seen or heard a hundred times before – or at least something almost like it.
Funny how our minds never died from boredom in the past. Is it really so likely that they will now? Nothing is entertaining enough; nothing is worth our time. We feel forced to seek more and more of the very thing that is causing our demise. We are stuck in information overload.
Perhaps it is time sit back and just do nothing for a while. Perhaps we need to take a little time to clear our minds and just be bored. Maybe, just maybe, a little old-fashioned boredom is not such a bad thing after all.