The Boredom Manifesto
Boredom is your responsibility. It is not imposed on you by outside forces. You own it. Boredom is the favorite state of the mentally weak, lazy, and unimaginative individual. It is a willful state of being. It’s your fault you’re bored because you’re a boring person.
Webster.com defines “boredom” as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.” But there’s an important characteristic missing from this definition: responsibility. That is, whose fault is it that the bored person is bored?
I humbly submit that it is the fault of the bored person. Ergo, the bored person is boring.
You see, boredom is not a function of uncontrollable perception. It is not like being too cold or hungry. If a person is truly cold, they cannot think their way out of it.* They do have some responsibility as well as (usually) the personal agency to fix it by either adjusting the temperature of the space they’re in, putting on warmer clothing, or getting up and moving.
But in an extreme situation, such as a plane crash in desolate tundra where there is no warmer clothing or better location in which to warm up, the individual has no options for correcting their feeling of being too cold. Or imagine a starving prisoner, say. That individual is being denied food by their captors and does not have the option of correcting their hunger on their own.
In these cases there is a tangible point at which an individual no longer has the responsibility/capacity for correcting certain negative feelings. Someone else has taken that responsibility from them, or it has just disappeared into the ether (such as the accidental plane crash scenario).
Many people see boredom in the same way. Their feeling of being entertained by and interested in something is finite, and there is a point where whatever currently possesses their attention will run out. Like the man who loses his jacket and so becomes cold, life will suddenly stop providing adequate entertainment and so the individual becomes bored.
Boredom is not like cold or hunger. It is not something imposed upon you by outside forces. Boredom is IN YOUR HEAD. Boredom is a state of mind. It is a state of being that you have chosen to occupy. If you want to compare it to cold, it is akin to a wealthy person living in a nice warm house who goes outside in a snowstorm, naked, and lays down in the snow, lamenting aloud, “I’m cold.” It is a person with a cabinet and refrigerator full of fresh, ready-to-eat food that they love, staring at it all and whining, “I’m hungry,” before walking away.
What would you say of such people? How would you describe them? Crazy. Ridiculous. Confused. Lazy. Stupid. Here before them are the remedies to their woes, but they act in opposition to their desires. They expect some sort of sympathy. They think that their suffering is deserving of acknowledgement. Absurd.
Boredom is not deprivation; it is the willful pursuit of becoming bored. It is the state of being a boring person. It is not imposed upon you — it is sought out by you. You must stop thinking about it as something that is forced onto you and instead think of it as something you allow to happen to you, all the while ignoring solutions to your self-imposed problem. You are standing in front of the overflowing cabinets of this amazing life, this big beautiful world, and whining, “I’m hungry,” before walking away.
There is no extreme of existence in which boredom is absolutely impossible to avoid. Believe me, I’ve heard all of the possible scenarios even before I started this little experiment. I’m grounded. I can’t drive (whether because they’re not old enough or because they lost their license) and so cannot go out and find something to entertain myself. I’m sick/bedridden. I’m in a boring class. I work a boring job. I’m waiting on jury duty. I’m in detention/jail and there’s nothing to do. The people around me are boring. There’s nothing good on TV. I’ve beaten all of the video games I own.
But you see, boredom is not located in any of these things. It’s in your head. You own it. It belongs to you. You can either invite it in or dismiss it. When you invite it in, you become bored. When you dismiss it, you don’t. How you choose to dismiss it is up to you. It can be something low-level, such as merely finding another activity to entertain yourself. Oh, the TV went out? Go read a book. This is the most basic cure for boredom: doing something else.
Still, some of you more belligerent types will assert that you can’t do this for some reason or other because of your imagined extreme situation in which someone is forcing boredom upon you. A boring class, for example, with a boring teacher and boring classmates. Basically what you’re telling me is that you’re so lazy and your mind is so weak that you can think of no good way to engage your brain. Can’t help you there. You know yourself better than anyone. You know what you like and what engages you. So tickle that part of yourself. Don’t succumb to mental laziness.
If you’re stuck in a boring situation, fix it instead of acting like a little bitch. Remove yourself from the boring situation. If you can’t do that, find something new to do within the confines that you’re supposedly trapped in. When I had a boring job as a teenager — working in the produce department of a grocery store — I invented games with my coworkers that involved throwing the produce knives at targets made out of the produce boxes. When I was in a boring class I drew, or read something for fun. Reading is still my favorite go-to form of entertainment. Just up and going for a run is a close second. Maybe these suggestions don’t work for you. So go find something that does.
I’m not here to provide suggestions for how you should come out of your boredom because I don’t know you beyond the fact that you’re boring. (Well, and the fact that most of you have utterly ridiculous “I’m so sexy” usernames and profile photos.) Only you know yourself well enough to figure out how to snap out of it. I guarantee you’re not going to find it by tweeting about your boredom.
Interesting people never get bored. Ever. They’re so efficient at making their lives amazing that there isn’t even that in-between period of trying to decide what to do next. The wonderful events of their awesome lives just overlap and bleed together into a steady hum of intrigue. Think you’re an interesting person? The more often you’re bored — and worse, the more often you say it as if it’s anyone else’s fault — the less likely it is that you’re interesting.
One more thing. And this is crucial. A boring person is not someone who bores other people. It is an internal projection created by the person feeling boredom, not an external projection sent outward. Boredom is not tool or weapon to be wielded and swung at other people because the fact of it being a personal mental reaction means that those other people have to assent to becoming bored. Therefore a boring person is someone who allows himself or herself to become bored often. A boring person is BOREDOM’S BITCH. You don’t want to be someone’s bitch, do you? You don’t want to be the slave of so basic of a feeling as boredom, do you? So take ownership. Starting now. Get the hell up and take action. It’s similar to how a strong person who gets dumped by their significant other reacts to the breakup. A weak person will cry, complain, be sad, wallow, etc. A strong person feels the pangs of pain just like the weak person, but the difference is that the strong person refuses to be dragged down by it. Instead they immediately focus on finding happiness again.
It would be very easy to ramble on about this forever, but I’ll stop here while I’m on a high. (Before I bore myself!) Get out there. Do something with your life. Take some responsibility. Stop being so lazy and whiny. This boredom you feel is your own, and it’s your responsibility alone to defeat it.
*The Buddhist-minded among you may disagree with me on this point. The truly enlightened person believes in the possibility of total awareness, dominance, and control over the self and so thinks it’s possible to “think” one’s way out of any state of suffering. Boredom, hunger, cold, et cetera are all conquerable through meditation. I actually agree with you. But think about the audience to whom this is primarily addressed. I’m speaking to people who sincerely think that boredom — perhaps the most basic of conquerable mental states — is the fault of outside forces, not their own responsibility. You can’t throw everything at them at once and expect them to understand. Start small. Help them change what they know and understand for the better. Then move on to the bigger concepts. It’s a matter of degree, with boredom being the lowest possible step that they still haven’t gotten over yet.