“Boredom is paradise … it is the blessed absence of what the world offers as ‘interesting’, i.e., the lures of fashion, media and other people, which, you may recall, Sartre considered Hell.”
— Billy Collins
I love this article on the merits of boredom (found via the Lifehack Community Blog). I am a big believer in the instructive power of Boredom, especially for kids. In that space created when there is nothing on TV, they’ve played all the video games, nobody’s available online to chat or in meatspace to come over and play; in that space when the list of usual suspects fail to entertain; in that space is the springboard to creativity, learning, and invention. It is “part of a dialectic between activity and inactivity” from which new things come.
But going deeper is a benefit I hadn’t considered: spiritual depth. Rather than frantically attempting to escape boredom, the contemplative person sits with the the “unquiet mind,” facing the lack of understanding and ultimate fear of death which drives the mind so frantic in the quietude of inactivity.
“Excruciating as it may be, boredom offers an elevated awareness of time’s conquering, expansive enormity … It’s an intimation of death, a glimpse into the nothingness that lurks behind and threatens each person, each project, each moment.”
Fear of the abyss leads us to run from boredom. Facing boredom allows us to face that fear. Or at least find a new and innovative way to alleviate it.
I’ll need to remember this the next time I can’t find anything to watch on TV. It’s like a call to prayer.