Tuesday, March 02, 2004

I've been pondering boredom. What is it really? Is it a lack of entertainment or really a lack of constructive, productive things to do? Nothing is more boring than being on the job with nothing to do and no way to pretend to work and be entertained at the same time. In fact, what is entertainment, but something to fill the void when we're not doing something productive?

In our current state of society, we have far less that we need to do, yet we feel overburdened by tasks. Very few of us grow our own food *and* cook it. Hell, very few of us cook our own food these days. If we do cook, it's commonly filled with convenience items to make the cooking faster. We don't usually sew our own clothing or mill the threads into fabric. We don't usually raise our own houses or barns or other shelters. We don't tend to the animals that we intend on eating. We don't have to go to the stream every day to cart our drinking water home. We don't even have to go to hunt for fuel sources to keep us warm in the winter. So, most of the very basic things that we need to survive -- food, water, shelter, clothing (optional in some areas, I guess) are provided for us.

We've got 24 hours in a day. For most people, eight of them are spent at a work or school environment of some sort. That leaves 16 hours. Take away another 8 for a full night's rest. That still leaves 8 hours to fill with...ummm...something. All of our necessities are given to us. So, we fill those 8 hours with fluff. Things that really aren't necessary to our survival or that of our families. (If you're parenting some wee ones under the age of three, you've got to allot for time helping them survive too.)

8 hours every day. Think of all the things you can do in 8 hours. Most of us will probably contemplate a leisure activity to fill that time. We could be out on a picnic. We could be fishing. We could be playing board games or poker if you will. We could be etc, etc. There are a million and a half things you could do during those hours. With all of that time available, how can someone claim to be bored??

One theory mulling around in my skull -- those who claim to be bored are actually lazy. Another theory -- they're not very creative. Let's backtrack a minute to the 8 hours of work that we do each day. I'm talking about the work we get paid for...how many of our jobs are really necessary for the survival of our species? Seriously, how many? This is a long standing theory that I've never taken the time to write out thoroughly (lazy? Oops, maybe!) The theory is that most of the jobs held in the industrialized world are unnecessary. They're "fillers" just as much as TV is. The strange thing is that most of the blatently "filler" jobs are often the highest paid -- actors, professional athletes, CEOs, politicians, lawyers, Wall Streeters, real estate agents, etc. No one needs the hours that those people put into their jobs for societal survival. If they were all blown off the Earth today, we'd all be fine.

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