The Extinction of Boredom

Walking on the Bridge

I’m telling you right now to go take a walk. Or a shower. Or a swim. Or a sit in a locked room where you don’t have the keys for ten minutes. Or somewhere where there aren’t things and people demanding your time and energy. Why? you ask. Well, it’s time to be bored. More and more studies show that being bored is the way to being creative, and honestly, it makes sense. These studies might be recent, but for decades, authors have realised this already and have exploited their use in their books, whether illustrating a point or explaining their point. Let’s begin with a few famous ones. Amusing Ourselves To Death is one book that deals with the topic, and by citing its sources, we can add Brave New World to the list, along with a whole long list of dystopians, ranging from The Giver to Wall-E. Well, that’s a movie, but it fits the category too. The basic premise is endless entertainment, meaning that people will never be bored. Now before any of you ask me to explain myself, I will.

If you didn’t already click on the above links, the basic idea is that if you’re bored, you’ll become more creative. Now, I’m no neuroscientist, but I’m not neurotic either, so I can safely begin to guess how that would work. Like this: I’m bored. There’s nothing on my mind right now except a bunch of useless thoughts. What can I do now? This chair is too high and uncomfortable. I wonder if I could make it lower itself. [Thirty day interlude] Voila! I have the first adjustable chair! Clap me on the back, please!

Now that’s my sarcastic version of the invention of the adjustable chair, but I hope you got my point. When there’s finally silence in your head, with no thirty channels of information demanding for your time, then you begin to have original ideas. What if I could invent a screen that could be touched? How about a table that adjusts itself, instead of the chair? And the list goes on.

Now here’s where the government comes in. One that intends to stay in power. Forever. Like in 1984 or Brave New World. Now, how could they make sure that people will never think of rebelling? Ever? Well, first they have to stop the flow of self-generated thoughts, or creativity and innovation. And the fastest way to do that? Remove boredom. Not only is that the cheapest way to do it nowadays, it will also be the least protested one. Who wants to be bored? Never mind. Don’t ask questions like that on the Internet, because you’re bound to get one person to say so.

Innovation is already a rare commodity nowadays, because you have two kinds of people: a) the people who go out with their creative ideas and make an impact on the world, and b) those who sit at home and watch their TV/iPad/Samsung Galaxy S5/Computer and wish they could be like group a), before moving on to the next inspirational video, which prevents boredom and kills creativity.

Now I’m not saying that you should swear off electronics forever and work at a typist at some low end job, and then come up with some amazing idea that will revolutionise the world (don’t come up with this, either) and become a billionaire. There are other ways to be creative. Take walks. Hikes. Swim. And of course, showering. Some of the best ideas come from the shower for some strange reason that can be explained as you can’t use an iPad while showering. (You can, but that’s dangerous.) Just find somewhere where you can be alone, even if it’s finding a dungeon to lock yourself in before throwing away the keys. That will make you really creative in beginner’s lock picking. And do it before some totalitarian government in the near future bans any of that stuff and fills up your day with “excitement” to drown out yourself and what’s really important.

Sorry for rambling on a little long. Now go out and take a walk.

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