When something lacks meaning, then it is thought to be boring. But what exactly is the term “meaning?” Meaning is known as something that gives feeling; although, this feeling is hard to translate into thought. The term meaning is just as confusing as the term boring. Boredom was not even termed until 1766, so does that mean that boredom was not experienced until then? No, of course not. Boredom has been around since as long as people can remember, it was just difficult for people to understand what they were feeling. They did not know the meaning of feeling that certain way, which is why the definition of boredom can be coined as something that lacks meaning.
Since boredom was established, then people were able to understand what they were feeling. This lead to people trying to find ways to make situations unborable. One could start to do multiple things in order to overcome their boredom. For instance, they could 1) find peace to cope with boring situations through practice of experiencing them. 2) Participate in certain activities such as a hobby to keep them entertained or 3) they could make something entertaining such as a handheld technological device. Correspondingly, people started to invent gadgets and gizmos that they thought would help ease the uninteresting times. Unfortunately, this has negatively impacted society, due to the high expectations set for new devices and activities to provide entertainment.
In the past decade, technology has become so advanced that people have a sort of dependence on it. This dependence is affecting how people live and the expectations that they hold when it comes to being entertained. The advances in technology will play a large rule in this archive. However, there will be other examples of the negative effect of boredom on society as well.
Rise of Technology:
In The Independent, there is a scholarly article that comments on the lost art of boredom. The author makes the readers aware that society is provided with such extreme entertainment, yet they get bored of it and demand even greater extremes.
When asked about boring situations, many examples will come to mind. The two examples in this case are going to be focusing on a vacation, which includes 1) Riding in a car and 2) Waiting in an airport. Both of these situations have been brought to attention because technology has improved them over the past fifteen years; but who is it to say that the entertainment provided today is positively affecting society?
Let’s take a closer look into Jordan’s family vacation which occurred in 1990. The vacation destination was to Los Angeles, California and Jordan’s family was from central Pennsylvania. After hours of packing, Jordan, his mother, father, and eleven year old twin brother, Jon, all piled into their plum colored, 1985 minivan. They were deporting from the Pittsburgh airport which was four hours away from where they lived. With only twenty minutes into the trip, Jordan and Jon became bored. They tried sleeping to pass the time, but they were not tired. They all decided to play a game. They played the license plate game, the alphabet game, and they even created their own game called “Name that Dead Thing.” When they were finished playing games they decided to color and do word search puzzles.
They finally arrived at the airport and found out that the flight was delayed. The family entertained themselves by people watching, playing tag, and playing the telephone game. Then they prepared to board the plane for a five hour flight. During which there was only a few TV’s in the front and middle of the plane, and Jordan and Jon were too short to see over the seats in front of them. Once again the boys improvised on what to do in order to stay entertained for a long period of time.
Now let’s imagine the same family vacation today in 2013. Jordan and Jon each have their own mini television built into the back of the seats in the minivan and on the plane. They also each have some type of handheld device whether it is a smart phone, IPod, IPad, tablet or a PSP. The father is driving and the mother is sitting in the passenger seat with her nose in her IPhone trying to keep up on the latest gossip on Facebook. Would there be any games being played on the long car ride? How about in the airport during the delay? Because what I would picture is impatient kids with headphones in and irritated parents.
These technological advances that are trying to prevent boredom are actually decreasing communication between the family members. There would hardly be any in the car, then there may be a little in the airport. They could go to a restaurant and then the boys would beg their parents to buy them something in the shopping center; even though they have more than enough entertainment at their fingertips. But boredom has that effect on people. It can make them spend money which is why the stores were built in the airport in the first place.
The main point here is that although technology is supposed to be replacing boredom, it is negatively impacting the contemporary moment by replacing direct communication. Instead of creating games to entertain themselves, the boys would be fighting zombies or slicing fruit on their Apple devices. If the devices were not sufficing, then they would sit and complain to their parents because they need entertained. This did not happen often when I was a child, but I’m noticing it more in children these days because they have such a high dependence on technology.
Back in the Day:
When I was younger, the only sort of entertainment in my household was a Television. Even with the lack of technological devices available today, there was still a way to find entertainment. When the weather was nice I would be outside with kids in the neighborhood riding bikes, building forts and playing games. When we were inside we had to settle with roller blades in the living room instead of bikes on the street and forts made out of blankets and chairs instead of branches and trees. If all else failed we would resort to sliding down mattresses on the stairs into a big pit of fluffy pillows. This was just the result of taking a dull situation into one’s own hand and being creative.
However, now that I am in college I find myself in more situations where I am faced with boredom. I am bored in class, in my dorm, and I even find myself getting bored when I’m with friends. How could this be? I’m living in a world with internet, smart phones, laptops, IPads, notebooks, kindles, night clubs, movies, sports bars, art, theater etc.; yet most people, including myself, still demand instant entertainment. This is when society turns to the most important aspect of technology for amusement… The social media.
The social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have become increasing popular over the past couple of years. But why is it that so many people are continuously searching for entertainment in them? This is because they can be accessed right at your fingertips (seriously though, like literally in an app on a smartphone).
Users on these social media sites are continuously opening and closing apps just waiting for something that catches their eye. It might be a picture or a funny status, however the entertainment can only last for so long.
I am in fact guilty of committing the above action; although, I am not alone. Many other social media users have confessed to doing this as well. Then half of them will actually inform everyone on these sites that they are in fact that. In The Lost Art of boredom, mentioned above, it was found that by scrolling through the twitter timeline, in a single minute some 200 people admit that they are bored senseless. It’s ironic because the people who tweet about being bored are the ones who actually make it boring. Instead of confiding in the social media for entertainment, people need to fix the extreme boredom. Too many people are expecting the entertainment to appear for them. This is affecting the contemporary moment of boredom because of the lack of motivation people have to do something about it. While gratification is becoming greater, the effort one wants to put in is decreasing.
The Adrenaline Rush:
Boredom is quite interesting because it can affect people in different ways. This is inferring that individuals have different responses to their boredom. The following clip is from the television series Sherlock when Sherlock Holmes is trying to occupy himself because he is bored. When Sherlock is caught in a state of boredom, he confides in action. Instead of reading a book or watching a movie, he finds pleasure in shooting at a painted target on the wall. This is because some individual’s response to boredom is action and violence to get ones adrenaline pumping.
If people would be content with shooting a wall, like Sherlock, rather than human beings, then the world would be a much better place. That was very odd to say because people should not be shooting either, but that is what the world has come down to. There have been numerous occasions where people are killed because the killer was bored. For example, in this article, a homeless man was taken advantage of by being beaten to death by teenagers. Also, in a related article, two homeless me were shot and killed by two teens who said they were bored. This means that in today’s society, a select amount of individuals find satisfaction in killing in order to overcome their boredom. Boredom is negatively affecting the way Americans value life. Their life personally, as well as others lives. Just because these victims were homeless does not mean they can be taken advantage of. Boredom has a way of altering the views and values that most people should possess.
This can also correlate with crime and drug use. In fact, it seems anything that gets the adrenaline flowing or puts one in a different state of mind is acceptable to place on the “when bored list” instead of the normal “to do list.”
Overall, boredom is not in fact as simple as it seems. Boredom contributes a lot to society. The repetition of the same thing over and over again becomes tedious. Without the feeling of being bored, there would not be a demand for better and more exciting things. In the past twenty years technology has been replacing what people think to be “irritating” things like washing dishes for example. Washing the dishes was time consuming and actually too effort. Which is why this is a fast-paced world where society relies on technology to use for the internet, games and communication through texting, emailing and social media. The other negative effect has arisen through crime and murder. When an individual is not satisfied with a certain entertainment, then they search for something that will give them an adrenaline rush. In recent cases, that adrenaline rush has come from shooting random innocent people on the streets. Therefore, it is easy to conclude that boredom is not affecting society positively. It is in fact negatively affecting the contemporary moment of society. People are constantly demanding and depending on instant gratification. As long as this continues, boredom will constantly be affecting society drastically.