Running from Boredom - Page 2
But as Jonathan Franzen put it in an article in The New Yorker last month: “The more you pursue distractions, the less effective any particular distraction is”. He also said that no great novel will be written in a house that has a broadband connection – maybe that’s why it took him nearly ten years to write his most recent one – Freedom.
The science writer James Gleick described our predicament in Faster: The Acceleration of Just about Everything: “You are bored doing nothing, so you go for a drive. You are bored just driving, so you turn on the radio.
You are bored just driving and listening to the radio, so you make a call on the cellular phone. You realize that you are now driving, listening to the radio, and talking on the phone, but you are still bored. Then you reflect that it would be nice if you had time, occasionally, just to do nothing”.
Technology was supposed to save us time. We now know that’s a myth. We get in the elevator and search quickly for the Door Close button, because we’ve got no time to waste. We enter a fast food outlet, and look for the express lane, because we’ve got no time to waste.
We send a text message, and grumble when we haven’t received a reply within minutes. We never turn off our computers ‘cause we need to stay connected. In a word, we’re manic. James Gleick again: “Maybe boredom is a backwash within another mental state, the one called manic – defined by psychologists as an abnormal state of excitement, encompassing exhilaration, elation, euphoria, a sense of the mind racing. Maybe our hurry sickness is a simple as that.” ‘Hurry sickness’: I like that. What did the song say? ‘Slow down, you move to fast’. Fat chance.