In Defense of Boredom

In the latest copy of The Week, i read a great article about boredom. My favorite lines:

To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in 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.

If you think of boredom as the prelude to creativity, and loneliness as the prelude to engagement of the imagination, then they are good things. They are doorways to something better, as opposed to something to be abhorred and eradicated immediately

I agree – solitary time whether hiking or running or just thinking is a great thing. With my cell phone, Tivo, iPod, work, and busy schedule, it doesn’t happen as often but i do think it’s important. You agree?

To further illustrate this last point. Check out this quote from JK Rowling talking about her experience sitting board on a train:

It was extraordinary, because i had never planned to write for children. Harry came to me immediately, as did the school and a few of the other characters such as Nearly Headless Nick, the ghost whose head is not quite cut off. The train was delayed, and for hours i sat there thinkig and thinking and thinking… The irony is I almost always have pen and paper; I write all the time. And on this one occassion when i had the idea of my life, I didn’t have a pen. For hour hours my head was buzzing. It was probably the best thing, because I ended up working the whole thinking out before i got off the train

You Might Also Like