Now that most of us have smart phones and mp3 players, we’ve been able keep a steady stream of sensory input. Whether it’s standing in line or waiting for a practice room in Morrisson Hall, we have access to a virtually infinite amount of entertainment at any time. We can finally avoid the awkwardness of twiddling our thumbs and staring at nothing. But that raises the question: is there any value in having nothing to keep us busy but our own thoughts?
We can feel weird when we have nothing to occupy our attention. It takes patience to wait without boredom stressing us out. It also forces introversion and reflection in order to entertain ourselves, and that takes effort. But now, with our ability to constantly receive input from outside sources – to receive suggestions from the thoughts of others – do we risk becoming simply receptacles?
Albert Camus once said, “idleness is fatal only to the mediocre.” Idleness is generally thought of as a bad thing; that it is lazy. But idleness does not remain idleness with the right person. In fact, idleness is one of the greatest motivators for creativity. It forces us to make output; it forces us to develop an idea; it forces us to express ourselves.
A group of brilliant Danes recently tested an amateur rocket successfully (English translation here). And they built a submarine before that. Completely awesome. And why did they do this? Because they were bored. So they made something.
Output is just as important as input – perhaps even more so. Being away from the phone while waiting for class or lying on memorial glade may be the first step in reclaiming those times of idleness, introversion and reflection. Without it, it may be too easy to avoid those original ideas. And without original ideas, who are you, really?
Tags:Bored, idleness, introversion, smartphones, standing in line
Print This Post
No comments yet.