“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Monday, 15 October 2012

Boredom. How boring is that?

Boredom, along with alienation, are terms that used to be bandied about by the revolutionary left quite a lot. You hear less about the psychological trauma of living in the advanced stages of capitalism these days with a good deal less talk of revolution as therapy; the financial crisis has seen to that. For an increasing number of people the struggle has returned to one of how to put bread on the table.
For all of that, who can deny the reality of boredom and a recent report suggests that boredom may damage your health.  Boredom is another of those aspects of the modern human condition, obesity is another, where the argument rages about social or personal causes. If we are bored who is to blame, ourselves or society?  I favour the view that there is a dynamic relationship between the personal and the social that takes some unravelling but for sure the boredom threshold must vary between individuals. Standing in a supermarket checkout queue the other day I got to chatting with a bloke of about my age I suppose. In response to my whine about shopping he remarked that for him shopping was an excuse to get out of the house; a break from the otherwise endless TV watching. I was horrified. What a choice. A tedious stream of pap on TV or a visit to Lidl.  And have you noticed how much daytime TV is aspirational in the sense that it's all about becoming a successful property developer, moving abroad or finding an Old Master in the attic? Scratch card TV.  Anything that might get you out of this shit. For myself, I have rarely been bored because I had nothing to do but usually because I had something to do that I found tedious and, well, boring. I have been lucky in my life because some of the many jobs that I've had have been interesting and satisfying, but boy have I had some boring ones as well. I heard a girl being interviewed about her recent work experience. What had she learnt? "That work is boring",  came the reply. Why are teenagers so prone to boredom? Is it hormonal or perhaps, without making it coherent necessarily, they see the reality of life in the capitalist mode of production before settling down to an acceptance of the status quo.
Enough! I'm off out. I'm bored.

1 comment:

Dr Llarregub said...

Really good piece which made me think of my dad who was made redundant when he was just too old to find another job. He worked hard, liked the company of his work mates and really did not fit in at home. Just watched TV and fetched coal for the fire. When I went home he would chat, but kept mainly to himself.Then one day, watching Top of the Pops - which had no interest for him - he leant over and died. Perhaps he died of boredom; at least that is what I thought. There has to be more to life.