I remember reading a proposition in some book that boredom
might be an explanation
for why some people commit horrible crime
s. The idea is, the human mind is designed
to want to do productive things; this is why boredom is generally a negative
feeling, often leading to depression
, etc. So anyway, when a person has nothing to do
, no friendships to maintain, no artistic skills to refine, and no desire for such things as exercise, the mind starts getting desperate
, grasping for things to do that will give the person a sense of accomplishment
, and leave a mark on the world. When no constructive options seem to be available, destructive acts start to look more interesting. This certainly doesn't mean that all people who do bad things
were simply bored at the time, but when I think about it, I can see how even normally decent people could start engaging in anti-social
behavior given enough time with nothing to do.
In fact, I've done all kinds of bad things due to boredom. I've re-taken up smoking clove cigarettes, for example. I bought this pack a few days after my 18th birthday, telling myself I was doing it "because I could", but it was really just because the walk downtown and back would kill a couple hours, and having a smoke is one of the best motivations I have for getting myself out of the room. Each time before I go to smoke, I stare at the pack for a couple minutes, and go over the various reasons why I shouldn't smoke: it's bad for my lungs, it doesn't really give me that good of a buzz, it makes me smell bad, I'll have to spend five minutes brushing my teeth after I get back, I have a shitload of homework I ought to do right now, and there are a few people who live on campus that would think much less of me if they saw me smoking. But every time, I end the argument in my head by simply figuring, "well, shit, I don't have anything better to do."
Just about anything destructive I've ever done can be traced to boredom: breaking ceramics, cutting myself, putting cigarette burns on my shoulder, destroying a book loaned to me by a girl I used to like... nothing real bad, because I don't have the kind of personality that allows me to do bad things to other people, but all induced by not having anything to do. Probably much worse is the way I tend to force myself into a negative state of mind by listening to depressing music, writing bad poetry, and thinking about how shitty everything is. Keep in mind, this is all after I've gotten unbelievably sick of the standard ways of dealing with boredom:
Of course, by far the worst thing I do while bored is watching hour after hour of inane, mind-numbing television shows.
Anyway, the moral is, if you're bored, do something, or you'll probably start doing things you really don't want to be doing. If you still find yourself sitting on your ass with nothing to do even after spend a few hours of noding, take up an instrument, or drawing, or lifting weights, whatever, even if you suck at it and it seems stupid at first. Looking back at my freshman year, if I'd spent half the time I wasted collecting mp3's on something like learning to juggle, I could probably be cascading four of them at once by now. But instead, I've accomplished next nothing in the past 12 months besides clogging up my hard drive, and building up my tolerance for weed.