Sunday, May 3, 2015

Redefining Boredom

Boredom doesn't mean what it used to mean.

In the world where there was such limited entertainment, and the greatest form of entertainment was through the use of imagination, boredom was "running out of things to do." While I recognize that the imagination is limited only by the things you can think up, even the most creative among us (myself included), is bound to find ourselves running low on fresh ideas. It's not that the ideas themselves are limited, but after a while (it's a longer "while" for the more creative types, but it's still an eventuality) those ideas all start to look the same. It's our creativity that runs low, not our capacity to imagine.

In that world, boredom was "running out of things to do." We don't live in that world anymore.

In this world, there is hardly such limited entertainment, even to those (myself included) who are financially challenged. The greatest form of entertainment, I fear, is no longer through the use of one's own imagination, but through the use of others in the form of games, movies, tv shows, and other pleasures. We are hardly limited by the range of our own ideas anymore.

In this world, boredom is "running out of things I want to do." That's a problem.

It's a problem because it cuts into the idea that people are losing the capacity for self-discipline. That's an easy thing to happen when there are so many tools willing to do things for you.

Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about a device like an alarm clock. First, I can hardly criticize those who use one since I am all too often completely dependent on mine, and I have more than one. Second, alarm clocks don't so much as cater to our difficulty or inability to wake up at a certain time, instead, they provide us with a way to cheat ourselves out of much needed sleep.