“Boredom … protects the individual, makes tolerable for him the impossible experience of waiting for something without knowing what it could be.”
Natural selection has favoured individuals with the capacity to feel bored because they are more likely to discover or create things that improve their survival chances, or to look for a new partner and so spread their genes more widely.
Contentment is dangerous. Things could be accepting, but never be too much satisfied.
A century and a half ago, Kierkegaard argued that this impulse to escape the present by keeping ourselves busy is our greatest source of unhappiness.
- Hide emotions: Texting hides the true emotions. Eyes and facial expression are highly involuntary. Also a phone call reveals too much, and actual conversations doenn’t give enough control over what you want to say.
- Confidence: People are unable to maintain eye contact. This in turn hampers their confidence level.
- Illusion of companionship: We are tempted to give precedence to people we are not with over people we are with. Online communication leads to fake companionships and trusts, which are broken. This decreases the confidence of a person to hope for a good companionship even in real life.
- Need for validation: Everyone loves attention and approval. But when online, these get easily compared to real life. Thus making your real life less appealing.
- Transfer of Irrelevant Emotions: One gender element that did become apparent is that mothers are now breastfeeding and bottle-feeding their babies as they text. Of course, in feeding an infant, so much more is going on than giving nutrition to a baby. There is the emotional exchange on the most primitive level, the feeling of gratifying someone and being gratified in return. A mother made tense by text messages is going to be experienced as tense by the child. And that child is vulnerable to interpreting that tension as coming from within the relationship with the mother.
The capacity to be bored is a blessing because it means you have the power within you to discover what really does move you. You even being able to tell the difference between a state of boredom and a state of active interest is what makes you uniquely human and uniquely free amongst lifeforms on earth. You get to partially choose your destiny, to use what fully captures your attention as a compass for how you need to be spending your time.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET BORED ?
- Instead of checking your email or social media the next time you Have a free momEnt, savor the feeling and discomfort of “being bored.” Write down any insights you learn in that moment.
- Go to any public space and people watch for an hour or so, but focus all your attention on the elderly. Consider the brevity of life, how quickly it goes by, how recently these people, now aged and nearing the end of their lives thought they had all the time in the world just like you do now, and how quickly you will be in the same spot that they are.