Photo credit: @julesdwit.
A not-for-profit media organization supported by people like you.
Boredom before gadgets. A woman sits and stares in Tompkins Square in 1967.
(James Jowers-George Eastman House/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)
Maria Konnikova, journalist and author of the forthcoming Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, talks about a new study with surprising findings about boredom.
I can't remember the last time I was bored on my own -- that is in a place where I can think or do something. I have been bored/annoyed when I'm in a place where I'm in place where I'm not enjoying what is going on and can't get out of it. So for me boredom is more like being trapped.
Note how the "never turn it off" campaign was dismantled in this segment.
This segment should have run on Friday and then you could have asked listeners to write in to see if they did something differently and foud themselves happier.Personal Note: This past weekend I was out of internet access (it's a bad connection) and I filled my time with other things and found myself much more pleased ;DI think I will continue to tune out...being "unwired" brings me happiness apparently. I was much happier before I became tuned in to the "tubes."
In a world of smartphones, facebook, twitter, instagram, I actually LOVE the few moments when I don't have to respond to an email, text or "like" a picture of yet another friend's baby or rant....
There is a difference between mental and spiritual engagement. When you are bored the self is not putting out energy for your soulful engagement. This is not what you are born to do.
I lived in Italy for a few years, and learned that the Italian word for "boredom" is the same as for "annoying." I found this frustrating, because I'm much more often annoyed than boring -- and when talking to friends, much more often wanted to describe someone as annoying than boring! But it's an interesting linguistic difference, linking the two experiences in a way that we don't explicitly in English.
I disagree with the caller; always "paying attention" to things and seeking out stimulation can prevent you from getting into your own imagination and creativity. I remember being on long car rides as a kid, and being "bored," but I also remember loving it, how my mind could drift into and out of different sights, thoughts, and observations. Doing quiet activities in which we are all still - especially activities that involve using our hands to build or fix real things - makes the mind a nimble, expansive place, and alleviates the feeling that we need outside sources to entertain us and make us feel useful.
I have a friend who says she loves it when her children are bored because that's when they become the most creative.
Like the caller, I don't allow alot of "boredom" at home with my kids. If they say "I'm bored" or they and friends "we're bored" they know I'm going to get out an assignment. Could be baking some cookies. One day I got out the fabric remnants and had them (and friends) make quilt squares (which became a finished quilt for Project Linus). If you say "i'm bored" I'm going to find you something to do (but be careful, it might be cleaning the toy closet).
there's a sign in the traverse city airport that reads: "boredom is a state of mind, not circumstance"
Can you address boredom as a component of depression? It's a key facet of the disease.
This is boring.
Build the soccer stadium.
When I'm alone with nothing to do (very rare), all I need is a good book. Also, I have memorized a few complete symphonies, so I can hum a few to myself.
My problem is when I have boring things (repetitive tasks) to do at the office and I have to try to stay awake during actual work. That's why I listen to WNYC all day and chew gum.
I find knitting occupies the part of my brain that gets bored so I can focused on the task at hand. I knit my way through grad school.
Boredom is good. One should embrace boredom and cherish it. Boredom means you are not physically in pain. You are not in a fight nor in flight. You are not in danger. There is nothing pressing to distract you. But entertainment thankfully exists, to alleviate boredom. There are books, movies, radio shows, TV, the internet, work, art, video games, random sex and masturbation, religion, all of which exist to alleviate the phenomenon of boredom. However one should not be obsessed with avoiding boredom at all costs. It is a sign that nothing is really wrong.
I lived in one of the least boring societies on earth, Israel. Never had a boring day. My stress level was constantly through the roof. There was never a boring day in ten years, and crises of one kind or another never ceased. I yearned for boredom, and didn't find it until I returned to the United States. I learned to appreciate the positive side of boredom in one of the most hectic and stressful societies on earth. The Chinese had a proverbial curse, "May you live in interesting times." They too learned to appreciate peace and quite when nothing interesting is happening, and everything is harmonious and boring.
Email addresses are required but never displayed.
Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
Subscribe on iTunes
WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820 are New York's flagship public radio
stations, broadcasting the finest programs from NPR and PRI, as well as a wide range of award-winning local
programming. WNYC is a division of
New York Public Radio.