Wednesday, June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014

June 25, 2014

The one thing I fear yet feel comfort in is boredom.  What gives me a great sleep at night, is realizing that I have nothing planned for the next day, and therefore the feeling that nothing will happen and time will sort of stand still, becomes a mantra as I close my eyes into a dark void.  When I dream, it is always something anxiety driven, and it is mostly the fear of time passing by.  When I wake up in the morning I realize this feeling is not only a dream, but the way of life for me.   One can fill one’s life with things-to-do, such as marketing, gardening, making sure the trash is out for the pick-up, recycle items are in their proper bins, water the plants around the house, and keep daily schedules in check, by making sure you eat your meals at a certain time in the day, and if you assignments or deadlines, make sure you keep them and most important keep to the schedule.  But the truth is I find all of that really boring.

Daily routines are boring.  Right now I have a schedule where I write every morning till 11 or noon, take a bath to read, and then back on to the computer to work on another writing assignment.  The one thing one can’t write about is boredom.  There comes to a point where you’re just trying to concentrate on the words on your screen or page, and it becomes totally abstract.  It does not have any meaning, because what you are writing is basically coming from the core of your or one’s boredom.

Strangely enough, Facebook I think depends on its success due to boredom.  One can jump on the site, and take what they want, and then leave.  But after ten minutes being off the site, one goes back on, and rambles on from one message to another, and sometimes you feel like you should feel emotional or get a charge from looking at someone’s meal, or animal, or even sex.  But its a charge that has no value in one’s life, you’re just responding to things that people normally respond to, and if you think about it, it is just a depressing sense of time that’s passing in front of one’s eyes.   The whole “troll” movement on Facebook or on other public sites, is nothing but boredom at work and play - and the “play” as used in this fashion is the joy of watching a building on fire, because  one can only enjoy destruction when things are being destroyed.  All of that comes as a result of boredom.  In Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" the character Lord Henry Wotton says to Dorian ""The only horrible thing in the world is ennui, Dorian. That is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness."

For me to fight boredom I have to embrace it.  Personally speaking, I realize that my boredom comes from learned helplessness.  There was a demonstration organized by Martin Seligman regarding dogs. In his tests, a dog is repeatedly exposed to an aversive stimulus which the animal cannot escape.  The dog stops trying to escape from the stimulus and behaves as if it is helpless to change the occurrence. When opportunities to escape becomes available, the dog chooses not to escape but to accept the pain.   What happens is that there are two sets of tests.  Group one, are dogs that can avoid an electric shock by jumping over a low partition.   Group two were two dogs.  One can stop the electric shocks by jumping, but the other dog can’t stop the electric shocks no matter what he or she does.  So for dog 3, the shock was apparently inescapable.  The other dog recovered nicely, but the one who couldn’t control the electrical shocks, learns to be helpless and exhibited symptoms that are similar to clinical depression.   Also the dog declined to escape from the pain, and just learned to accept it by simply laying down passively and whined.

Boredom is recognizing time passing and being unable to fill it with meaningful activity or thoughts.  I think our whole culture is based on our being forced to embrace a process that clearly doesn’t work.  We have so many choices on the Internet, and on TV, yet, you slowly realize that those choices are not really that many, even it is technically, at least appearance sake, seems many.  The only thing we’re left with is a sense of helplessness, which in turn becomes boredom.

Gambling, sexual activity, roaming the streets with no thought of destination offers moments of freedom from boredom, but to attack it at its very core, means that we have to redefine what is life, and that alone is not an easy task.   What I do is learn to embrace the boredom, and try to find some inspiration from it.  The wall in front of you is hard, but once you break to the other side, well, maybe another wall - nevertheless we learn to make a series of choices that are actually not choices, but sort of little prisons.  The thing is we all have the ability to design our prison to our own making.
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