The Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin once said, “Whatever you do, don’t be boring.” Or maybe it was Paris Hilton who said that. But the part about always “dressing cute” Ms. Hilton pretty obviously stole from good old Vlad.
Regardless, they may have hit on something. Would the Russian revolution have failed if the serfs hadn’t been so bored with their status, they could only smash it? Do rioters burn their own neighborhoods down merely to juice up their lives?
Fighting non-stop for survival becomes boring without the promise of relief. Today’s revolutionary is tomorrow’s Secretary of the Collective. Somehow though, whatever heights are reached, some always manage to find the bottom.
Not everyone is creative. But anyone can tear down. The French Revolution took on a self-consuming momentum as the adrenaline rush of destruction demanded ever more beheadings. The logical contortions necessary to twist lofty ideals into a promotion of murder demand an Olympic event.
A revolution is exciting. Every day is different. But even the revolution gets boring. There were days when Che Guevara didn’t feel like watching another firing squad. He was a doctor. He could teach. He knew where the centers of pain resided. But as much fun as the most grotesque atrocities might be, repetition robs them of novelty. How to regain the thrill of that first murder?
Finally, realizing he was not working up to his full potential he returned to the revolutionary front to die a ‘hero’s death’ in Bolivia. I never met a bored martyr.
Without imagination, life can be tedious, mundane, boring. Is flight from boredom the key to why people riot and loot? Shoot up schools? Join ISIS?
‘Thinking outside the box’ is a tiresome cliché, especially when one realizes the box outside of which one is thinking rests within a larger box. Which nesting doll do you have to be to avoid feeling redundant?
Parents spend fortunes securing safe environments for their children who then find themselves suffocating in their cocoon of reliable security. Does every child, at least briefly contemplate running away to the adventurous circus?
People seek thrills. Amusement parks exist to quell the boredom of routine life. How many times can one ride the roller coaster before ennui sets in? Want speed? Ride in the space shuttle for six months. But after a month… Australia again?
We want danger but danger we can control. Safe danger.
Imagine the caveman coming home from dodging saber toothed tigers all day on the veldt. He just wants to put his feet up by the fire. His woman is bored. She wants to go out. They didn’t have TV. Perhaps you know the Bruce Springsteen song ’57 Channels (and Nothin’ On)’. The appetite for variety can be insatiable. Exactly how much entertainment can anyone stand?
Change is the missing element. But constant change gets boring too.
The sixties really started when the Beatles blew away all those ‘moon, June, spoon’ balladeers. Punk rock broke the stale formula of disco. Ever hear a technically brilliant musician who is boring to listen to? Artists want to straddle that line between discipline and accident. Only computers listen to computer generated music.
People like dividing the world into two camps: good – bad, haves and haven’ts, blue vs. red. The one and 99. I suggest there are three kinds of people – creators, destroyers and the vast majority who wait for instructions.
Creators vie with destroyers for this third camp. The third camp will more readily join the second if boredom is a factor. How many people do you know who would say, “I’m so bored, let’s build a cathedral!”?
I would more likely expect, “I’m so bored. Let’s break something.” Such activities resemble knee-jerk spasms more than careful planning. Do campus riots follow committee meetings? Or do a few decide a course of action and then get others to participate? Those cookies won’t bake themselves. Someone else has to prep the Molotov Cocktails. But it all just happens spontaneously!
Advertising seeks to create an anxious urge to acquire the next cool thing which will scratch the itch of this nagging sameness. Imagine if Madison Avenue adopted this strategy to promote its products. “See the USA. Burn your Chevrolet.”
Elon Musk has started ‘The Boring Company’. One of its products is a flame thrower for personal use. What could go wrong?
People generally opt for the status quo if their lives are secure and filled with opportunity. I have read that the rich get rich by doing boring work. It’s the economy, stupid.
Stories and sports events are addictive because they have that rising tension and release built in. People go to movies for catharsis. Someone else’s problems are more entertaining than the tedium of real life. But when the lights came back on, it’s nice to return to something dependable and solid.
Without challenge or texture, life becomes boring.
Bored people will smash things just to break out of the doldrums. Nothing like a high speed police chase to transform those mental cobwebs into blood shot eyes. Isn’t there a cable channel dedicated to broadcasting these impromptu road tours?
Is it human nature to stare at a small video screen for hours per day? Someone is promoting the idea that actual human contact is boring and a virtual community is the ‘future.’ Who would promote that? And why? How many ‘friends’ do you have? More than three? Really?
Perhaps they have it backwards. People are now moving off the grid and becoming anonymous. The pendulum may be swinging back toward living a real life instead of the virtual. One needs grounding so a static charge doesn’t become dangerous.
“The world is just – it’s wonderful when you look at all the detail. It’s just amazing. Nothing is boring if you look at it carefully.” – Freeman Dyson