September 19, 2015

We should be grateful for the chance of experience boredom. It is much more valuable than we think.

Sir, Robert Shrimsley tackling the issue of boredom writes: “denial of boredom is a serious societal issue. One day, many of these kids will have to sit through a strategy meeting, watch a 24-page PowerPoint presentation or feign interest in the deep thoughts of a senior colleague. How will they cope? As concerned parents, it falls to us to put some boredom back into our kids’ lives”, “Bring back boredom in family life”, September 19.

Though learning the social skill of feigning interest while bored is indeed important and useful, boredom is so much more important than that. In this respect let me translate here some few sentences from an extraordinary book in Swedish titled “In the Shadow of a crime” written in 2004 by Helena Henschen, who passed away in 2011. 

“Sometimes it feels necessary to expose oneself to lonely boredom… It is as if the psyche must have silence and time at being activated and trigger a creative process. I must get away from everyday life with the constant incoming data occupying the space, a stream of impressions that gushes from the outside and requires sorting, valuation and action. It is only when the clatter from the outer life stops as they arise a conversion. Current switches direction. From boredom grow a movement from the opposite direction, from the inside out. It seems that boredom and creation have to do with each, as well as the listening to nothing.”

In other words Henschen is saying that boredom represents that free space in our mind that allows us to digest and put some order to our impressions, as well as to hopefully add something of our own making to it. I agree, from this perspective boredom is indeed something of which our children and we should all be grateful to experience. Sir, think of that next time you get bored.