There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering -- A hell of boredom. – Victor Hugo
Idleness has been described as the beginning of all vices, which is probably why it’s my favourite.
But boredom and idleness come in a variety of flavours.
There’s the indifferent boredom we usually associate with stoners. Then there’s the helpless and apathetic boredom of those in a depressed state of mind.
There’s also the more calibrating boredom of wanting to do something different from what you’re doing, which left unchecked can easily slip into a creepy and tedious restlessness.
Most of us probably can’t remember the last time we were well and truly bored.
We no longer give ourselves permission to daydream or get lost in thought. Instead we choose to lose ourselves in an internet rabbit hole of cat videos and LOL-memes.
After all, only boring people get bored, right?
Is boredom bad for you anyway? Or could our obsession for constant focus, stimulus and productivity is actually be killing our creativity and sense of play?
Find out below.
Gateway to creative hell
Being bored makes you creative apparently. This article has some interesting nuggets on why that might be. Meanwhile, this lengthy article in Scientific American, brings together some fascinating thinking and research about the value of daydreaming and mind wandering.
And if you’re plagued by constant boredom at work, you’ll find some practical tips here on how to change that. It may involve quitting your job.
Great minds yawn alike
If an idle mind is the devil’s playground, then why does it have to so god-darn dull most of the time? Here’s a wonderfully long essay on how some of the greatest 21st century thinkers came to the defence of boredom. Schopenhauer, Russell, Kierkegaard, Sontag and others on the virtues of monotony.
If this doesn’t bore you, nothing will.
Slow TV and fast knitting
Next time you're actively seeking out boredom, try watching slow TV. This Norwegian invention takes the marathon episode concept to a new level. Like this twelve-hour train journey from Bergen to Oslo. Mesmerising and boring at the same time, but creativity inducing as hell.
My personal favourite is the national knitting evening. It has a live sheep and a world record in it, which beats most of my usual Tuesday nights.