The importance of boredom


Michel Houellebecq says that in order to write, one must first become bored, and then in that emptiness of mind can create. This calls into question the creative process, which is not as random as egalitarian society likes to think, although that makes it much more egalitarian, but consists of noticing the operations of the world and drawing parallels between them.

For example, a great piece of music mimics the storms of the Western sky; a great novel describes the inner lives of people as conditioned by events around them; a great piece of software reconceptualizes a common task using tools from other domains. This is creativity: a practical, studied and reasoned science with art emerging to fill in the gaps of the unknown.

But to reach this state, we must shut off all the voices. The critics in our lives; the fears of insufficiency or everyday events; the worries about our aptitude or abilities. Then we must shut out all the tendencies, clichés of the mind, which complete our thoughts for us by going down paths we have traveled before. Only then is the mind empty like the night sky.

Is it coincidence that modern society attempts to spam every instant of our consciousness? We are inundated in propaganda, news, social chatter, advertising and neurotic theories masquerading as “self-help.” The people around us spin in busy cycles of fears and desires, shuttling between the two in an attempt to create warmth in their souls of activity and purpose.

Of course it is not: of all things, this society fears the silence. In the silence, the world makes sense, and through that, we see the options for pleasure and goodness in life, not mere reactivity to what is going on in the social (and political and economic) world around us. When we explore the inner world, we come to know reality, and through it, we know what is good.

That goodness is not accessible to all. Out of a hundred people, all but one are congenitally unable to achieve it, whether through lack of biological native intelligence or fault of moral character and personality such that they could see a thought with depth through to its conclusion, instead of generating a quantity of tangential observations. The silence is the cold that most fear, and yet it is only through going to that cold that we find warmth again.

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13 Responses to “The importance of boredom”

  1. crow says:

    I write most and best when I am completely not-bored. Visions fill my sight, and I must record at least a fragment of it.
    In my haste to record as much as I can, before it fades, I leave out words that serve little purpose, and sometimes whole paragraphs that could explain some tricky point.
    Thus do many observe I write meaningless rubbish.
    Is their lack of understanding my lack of communication skills?
    Does my lack of understanding their attacks make me stupid?
    Who can say?

    The night sky is is about as empty as a can of sardines. It teems with everything that exists, including us, spinning around within it.

    Not everybody knows this, or can see it this way.

    People know almost nothing about anything.
    This is their angst, because on some level, they know it, and this uncomfortable knowing is among the very few things they do know.

    I see more than the occasional hint of spirituality emerging in your writings.

    ‘Bout fu**in’ time (:>

  2. “Only then is the mind empty like the night sky.”

    I am amused by this.

  3. Ossian Tuckzor says:

    Thank you.

    I find great peace knowing that all the things going on cannot touch or harm this stillness in any way. The experience is different to people to me its like an anchor thrown into a pond, ever steady with all the things going on. Perhaps others find Completion, Order, Goodness.

    When people feel overcome with sickness from AmeriKan existence, they reject it for silence. I hope that more do.

  4. Ossian Tuckzor says:

    Boredom is a killer. I hate it :-)

  5. Cynical Optimist says:

    I agree completely. People today never experience boredom because of constant distractions and entertainment, and therefore rarely think hard or creatively. More generally, this phenomenon underpins our need for ever more sex, junk food, alcohol, and drama. We need a reset, if only to start the cycle again.

    By the way, here is the great David Foster Wallace on boredom: “Bliss — a-second-by-second joy and gratitude at the gift of being alive, conscious — lies on the other side of crushing, crushing boredom. Pay close attention to the most tedious thing you can find (Tax Returns, Televised Golf) and, in waves, a boredom like you’ve never known will wash over you and just about kill you. Ride these out, and it’s like stepping from black and white into color. Like water after days in the desert. Instant bliss in every atom.”

  6. Cynical Optimist says:

    Could one (among many) interpretation of “the abyss” of Nietzsche and Slayer be periods of boredom and shutting down our egos and ids for a while?

  7. […] philosophy. The Omega visionary. Its from bits. Enlightenment to entanglement. In defense of […]

  8. Noah says:

    I won’t attempt to dissuade you from your hatred of egalitarianism, but you might also expand that hatred to include global consumer capitalism. Which is not the same thing.
    Respond to my emails.

    • crow says:

      The right doesn’t do hatred the way you do.
      It saves it up for truly disgusting stuff, not just any old thing it doesn’t much care for.

      Seems you’re just not important enough for email replies. Maybe I shouldn’t say it, but I’ve had hundreds.
      That doesn’t mean I’m important; it means I am interesting. You are neither.

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