Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Benefits of Boredom*

“Boredom’s doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life’s most quintessentially human moments…A long drive home after a frustrating day could force ruminations. A pang of homesickness at the start of a plane ride might put a journey in perspective.
“Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices…
But are we too busy twirling through the songs on our iPods—while checking email, while changing lanes on the highway—to consider whether we are giving up a good thing? We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life’s greatest luxuries—one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival.
“To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in these times of reflection that people often discover something new, whether it is an epiphany about a relationship or a new theory about the way the universe works. Granted, many people emerge from boredom feeling that they have accomplished nothing.
“But is accomplishment really the point of life? There is a strong argument that boredom—so often parodied as a glassy-eyed drooling state of nothingness—is an essential human emotion that underlies art, literature, philosophy, science and even love.”


*I stumbled upon this nice article in Reader's Digest this morning. :)

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