Sunday, April 24, 2016

112. Boredom

I’ve wondered about how good it is for people to be constantly entertained in this day and age. A podcast I enjoy listening to, “Totally Awesome”, sort of tackled that subject recently. The bit of the podcast is that they tackle an seemingly uninteresting subject and unspool all the cool stuff about it.

I was waiting in the cell phone lot at the airport to pick up Katie. I listened to that podcast when a line from a philosopher they interviewed stuck out to me. He said that the reason we get bored isn’t because boredom is trying to send us a message that what we are doing isn’t working. He used the example of when we touch a hot stove, we take our hands back because we obviously don’t want to keep our hands there.

As we go through our day, there are so many ways we can reduce or get rid of the pain or boredom we experience. We have cars on demand, food on demand, video on demand, you can even get toilet paper on demand. Patience is so yesterday.

Theoretically, shouldn’t we be the most entertained generation in history? It would take you years to watch all of the content on Netflix, yet we still need more channels, more options, and more stuff. That’s so crazy to think about. I’m almost kind of jealous that my grandparents had basically one option to be entertained.

Even now, I can’t even stand looking at one screen for more than a couple minutes. I have to frantically click back and forth between tabs to see if I have missed anything. That’s why I started “No Social Sunday”, where I’ll be avoiding social media the entire day. That eats up an inordinate amount of my time during the day. And 99.99% of the time, it’s completely stupid and dumb. I don’t get anything out of it, or else I get very little out of it.

I think it’s dangerous to expect there to be little to no pain in your life. Maybe that’s part of the reason we have an opioid epidemic in this country. There are people in real pain (and I really don’t know what it’s like to be in such pain that I’d need medication), but we expect it to be perfect. If there is pain, then something is wrong. That is true, but what happens when we get rid of those warning signals? We lose something important in our minds.

There are times in my day when I get anxious and worked up over something. I have things I could do, but I have a hard time settling on one. That’s when I need to clear everything out. I usually shut down all of my devices and lie down for a little while. That usually settles me down for a while. It’s good to be free of those things, even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Who would have thought that the best way to get the most out of your entertainment would be to step away from it for a little while?

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