A paradoxical sentiment….
It takes a certain kind of person to appreciate me as my reputation has been much maligned over centuries. I’m seen as an uninvited guest who deadens the tumult of your mind. But deep down you accept I am shades of grey; a paradox and you need me.
I am known as boredom.
I am a fickle and disconcerting sentiment, so defining me and my grip on your state of mind is perplexing for I can be situational and temporary or existential and a permanent companion. In the former I am fuelled by your lack of imagination, motivation or stimuli. You want change and a spark but the lethargy of my presence prevents you from escaping. Do you remember this feeling as a child? Adam Philips a psychoanalyst writes:
‘Every adult remembers, among many other things, the great ennui of childhood, and every child’s life is punctuated by spells of boredom: that state of suspended anticipation in which things are started and nothing begins, the mood of diffuse restlessness which contains that most absurd and paradoxical wish, the wish for a desire’.
As I settle into permanence and the snugness of your personality I add flair to my previous simplicity by unleashing my potential. In this guise I can be taken with being toxic, dreary, muting, corrosive. Dissatisfied with the here and now, restless. I become yearning unfulfilled. Evolving into puppet master I challenge your ability to engage with the internal or external world, insidiously whispering sweet nothings into your emptiness. If I so choose I can cause you to lose focus, over-eat, flail at your obligations. As I flex into my power I force you to question your day to day existence and purpose. I debilitate.
I can sense you want to shatter my grasp on your life but I am entwined and not ready to leave unless you give me a reason to….
Bertram Russell the British Philosopher recognised my reputation induces fear in society at large. Escape attempted through pursuits of excitement have been the cause of anti social behaviour, arguments and the harbinger of war. Even in today’s modern age — a hyper period of stimulation from smart phones, computers, experiences — you cannot bear to be still and have me shroud your existence. I have pondered if I am the driver of those overly ambitious few who never stop learning, endeavouring, constantly re-imagining their future lives and what may exist around the corner. Do not be fooled into believing it It is ambition or success or any other ‘worthwhile’ characteristic that propels.
I am timeless and inexhaustible. The forever bane of upward toting parents who worry my parasitical nature will restrain the little darling brains. Deciding in their misguidedness the child must live a ceaselessly busy, interesting life to keep me at bay. By way of incessant distraction the striving to banish me is the equivalent of putting heads in the sand, little understanding the dreary carbon copy beings being perpetuated. They can’t win.
You are recoiling in disgust which was not my intention. Pause and consider deeper. I am remarkable but it takes someone open minded to see through my bravado and claggy essence; to be inclined to collaborate. Mundanity, sopor the prosaic are my crucial work tools. Because the untold is if asked softly, I transport you into realms that could never be afforded without my help. In my transient state, In those tipping point moments, if you allow us to journey together — to meander aimlessly through your mind I will unlock your vital musings, unleashing a creativity, bursts of exclamations, shimmers of inspiration. Something that could not happen with my counterpart excitement.
The shades of grey, the unspoken understanding is without me there would be no artistry or brilliance. You need me to learn to push boundaries, dream different, reach for the stars. I foster change, sparks of innovation. I am the fertile bedrock necessary to forge accomplishment. So cultivate solitude, contemplation; allow a settlement into the ordinary. Do not banish me. Do not be afraid of me. Rather assist my existence in your day to day and I will reward you in ways you’ll have never dreamt of. I promise.
‘Boredom forces you to ring people you haven’t seen for eighteen years and halfway through the conversation you remember why you left it so long. Boredom means you start to read not only mail-order catalogues but also the advertising inserts that fall on the floor. Boredom gives you half a mind to get a gun and go berserk in the local shopping centre, and you know where this is going. Eventually, boredom means you will take up golf’.