Boredom

“To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.” David Foster Wallace

“I realised that half the reason he was doing it [heroin] was because he was so damned bored. He had his music, but that was about it.” Jerry Garcia’s daughter

“We see the crucial significance of this philosophy in Moravia’s “Boredom.” The novel is rather an unusual one….it is a disturbing psychological study. It traces the inner thoughts and emotions of Dino, the painter who suffers “artistic sterility from boredom.” Here, it is important to realise what boredom means for Dino. Boredom is more than just “ennui”…it is his inability to develop a relationship to the world around him. He feels a complete emptiness, apathy, disconnection with the world at large. He suffers from what we would term in this modern day and age a kind of depression, the kind that is so acute that it does not manifest itself in sadness, but rather in a complete indifference to life. The novel barely has a plot. In fact, there are only a handful of interacting characters in the book. Most of the novel takes place in the protagonist’s head, as we witness his growing obsession with a bizarely amoral and impassive young model.

I definitely think this novel is worth picking up, if only for its eccentricity. It is is so cold, so realist, so bland, that it is fascinating. And it will touch you more than you think. It will stay with you, and it will leave you touched.” Shaimaa Fayed of Cairo, Egypt, reviewing Alberto Moravia’s “Boredom” on Amazon.com

I’m not bored with my life because there are many wonderful things in this life. There are moments that are literally priceless, wonderful, wonderful moments. I love my world, the bits that I control. But just as footballers talk about their time “on the pitch”, when everything matters, I could just as easily talk about my life “on the office floor”, where nothing matters: all of a sudden all of those quotes apply to me to a frightening degree. Shudder.

Back to football: Does Titus Bramble lose concentration because he is bored? Does Karl Henry kick people because he is bored? Does Dimitar Berbatov feel bored, or just look it? Do goalkeepers get bored? Do their thoughts run away? Was Robert Green daydreaming of Holby City when Clint Dempsey shot at goal in the summer? Did Moritz Volz do all these things outside football because he was bored? Why don’t more footballers do what Volz did? But did all these things contribute to his downfall as a player? Michael Essien sleeps all day and all night, I once read; is that to stave off boredom or because the rest is required? Does Alan Shearer get bored of talking about football? His opinions suggest as much. Do the BBC MOTD production team *want* us to be bored? If not, how do you explain Shearer? “We have better pundits, of course we have, but we aren’t going to use them. We will use Shearer.” Is Fabio Capello bored of England? Is Shay Given bored of being a reserve goalkeeper? Is David Stockdale bored of being a reserve goalkeeper? Does any of this matter anyway?

7 thoughts on “Boredom

  1. Lordy. What brought this on?

    I can’t say I’ve been genuinely bored since I was something like 15 years old.

    There’s always something I have to do. I may not enjoy all of those things (much of my work, DiY, the washing up) but I rarely feel bored.

    I doubt I spend much of my time doing things that are worthwhile though and that is the thing I would most like to change about my life. I enjoy writing about, talking about and consuming music, literature and sport. I enjoy doing fun things with my family. I wish I could find a way to make a living that would allow me to do those things more often.

  2. I second the Moravia tip. A great novel.

    For me the key is to having a lot of interests which isn’t an effort at all. When I’ve watched too much soccer I watch a little baseball, when I’ve seen too much sports I put a record on, when that’s over I run around for an hour, etc. Probably haven’t described myself as bored since I was 12.

    1. I’m never bored in my own time, don’t get me wrong. And in the way it’s the opposite, I have too many interests and not enough time. So when I’m not able to throw myself into these, and instead have the dull, dull, dull work (which of course I’m lucky to have – or is that attitude part of the problem?)…

      Anyway, I didn’t mean to bring people down. I just thought they were good quotes that made me think.

  3. I wonder if people are too afraid of being bored. Instead of accepting and welcoming the times when you could just sit and daydream and think, people go in continual pursuit of stimulation and activity. The habit of many people of being engaged in a conversation and breaking it off to take or make a mobile phone call, which is then itself interrupted by another mobile phone call, during which an email or an instant message pops up etc. The result being that nothing and nobody is actually being given full attention. Boredom is good. Embrace it. It is an opportunity for your mind to get really creative.

    1. Yes, know exactly what you mean. Forget who said it now, but someone described boredom as being the first step to insight, or something like that–essentially ‘doing nothing’ is a good thing. Couldn’t agree more. For myself I don’t think of that as boredom because I also don’t think I should be doing something else, well, ever. Most of the time you hear someone describe themselves as bored it means ‘entertain me’ or ‘wish I was doing anything but this.’

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