Monday, December 2, 2013

Dying of boredom

Well there are a lot of ways for our individual world to end.  But one not often discussed is dying of boredom.
Apparently there is a lot to be learned.  For in fact, there is not just one type of boredom, but five:
Karen Kaplan, McLatchy DC, 19 November 2013 (hat tip: NC)
- Indifferent boredom, a relaxing and slightly positive type of boredom that "reflected a general indifference to, and withdrawal from, the external world";
- Calibrating boredom, the slightly unpleasant state of having wandering thoughts and "a general openness to behaviors aimed at changing the situation";
- Searching boredom, the kind that makes you feel restless and leaves you "actively seeking out specific ways of minimizing feelings of boredom"; and
- Reactant boredom, which is so bad that it prompts sufferers "to leave the boredom-inducing situation and avoid those responsible for this situation (e.g., teachers)."
add to these four the new category:
-"apathetic boredom" - was quite common among high school students, according to the study, published this week in the journal Motivation and Emotion.
Boredom is apparently an indirect killer:
Boredom isn't just boring. It can be dangerous, either for the person who is bored or for the people around him. For instance, people who are bored are more likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. Kids who are bored are more likely to drop out of school and become juvenile delinquents. Studies have also linked boredom with stress and other health problems.
This is an area that is only intermittently focused on by apocalyptic writers portraying the collapse of modern "high entertainment" society.  If anything, authors have a tendency to push the idea that we will all be happier once we are done with the distractions, and can all hang out at the square-dance together.
I have my doubts.  In traditional societies, drunken revelers seem to have been pretty common where the beverage was available.  What were they reveling about if there current circumstances were all that exciting.  If military life is described as long stretches of boredom, intermixed with moments of shear terror, my suspicion is that a lot of any future (survivable) apocalypse is going to have a lot of boredom.

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PioneerPreppy said...

I think too often boredom is really just a matter of lack of motivation. The only time I am bored is when there is some thing like the weather keeping me from working on something and I can't get motivated to do something else.

James M Dakin said...

Of course, time being relitive, you also must factor in the age of the individual. I used to be bored as a youth and now I can only grasp in fear and loathing as my life disappears in giant chunks instantly.

K said...

Perhaps I'm a simpleton, but I can sit quietly for a long time and amuse myself with random thoughts and ideas. Is that being bored?

russell1200 said...

Pioneer: meetings, which fortunately I don't have all that often, or gatherings were I have to sit and at least pretend to pay attention, get to me.

James: Yes, I know what you mean.

K: No, it sounds like you are day dreaming. Which I think for most people is not boring.