Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My main preoccupation is not boredom but rather some measure of anxiety associated with the fleeting nature of time.
Obviously, I experience boredom too. The only times I do so, however, is when I'm divorced from my quotidian program and structure. Travel is one thing that makes boredom pop up. Gadgets that stop working when there are still hours left before departure time, would be one instigator to boredom. Another scenario would be waiting for hours at a doctor's office where phones are supposed to be off and the magazines are at least a year old. Add a lack of personal computers and books in your bag and that translates to inevitable yawning and incessant staring at some big clock from the 80's that's gracing the wall.
However, boredom is not only a high-frequency lexeme in many people's vocab, it's also a high-frequency human experience. A bit from a gripping Times article says:
"Psychologists have most often studied boredom using a 28-item questionnaire that asks people to rate how closely a list of sentences applies to them: “Time always seems to be passing too slowly,” for instance.
High scores in these tests tend to correlate with high scores on measures of depression and impulsivity. But it is not clear which comes first — proneness to boredom, or the mood and behavior problems. “It’s the difference between the sort of person who can look at a pool of mud and find something interesting, and someone who has a hard time getting absorbed in anything,” said Stephen J. Vodanovich, a psychologist at University of West Florida in Pensacola.
Boredom as a temporary state is another matter, and in part reflects the obvious: that the brain has concluded there is nothing new or useful it can learn from an environment, a person, an event, a paragraph. But it is far from a passive neural shrug. Using brain-imaging technology, neuroscientists have found that the brain is highly active when disengaged, consuming only about 5 percent less energy in its resting “default state” than when involved in routine tasks, according to Dr. Mark Mintun, a professor of radiology at Washington University in St. Louis.
That slight reduction can make a big difference in terms of time perception. The seconds usually seem to pass more slowly when the brain is idling than when it is absorbed. And those stretched seconds are not the live-in-the-moment, meditative variety, either. They are frustrated, restless moments. That combination, psychologists argue, makes boredom a state that demands relief — if not from a catnap or a conversation, then from some mental game."
Read more here.
When do you tend to experience boredom and how do you grapple with it?
graph per photogabble