Friday, August 08, 2014

Permanence and Boredom

Sometimes familiarity breeds not contempt but boredom.

I really wonder why this is.  Ironically we have a culture where reliability and durability are things which are desired but seem  more and more to be out of reach goals.  Our entertainment, our marriages, our entertainment, sometimes our very lives seem built on this dichotomy of permanence as a desirable but not one we actually intend to practice.

Why? I do not wonder if part of it is simply the fact that we do not see true value in permanence.

Permanence - in relationships, in jobs, in societies - is often the exact opposite of novelty:  it can be boring.  It can come to be expected.  The things that at one time seemed novel and exciting come to be expected, if not demanded.  The water works every day and so we first begin to rely on it and then expect it to work, in fact becoming angry if it does not: we forget that in parts of the world running water is a novelty, not a permanent fixture.  We start doing something for our spouse or significant other because we want to; the behavior comes to be expected to the point that when it is not done, it is as if a major tragedy occurred.  We take on extra tasks at work in hopes of advancement; we find that this work has now become expected of our current role - along with everything else we were doing.

And so we become bored with what we have.  We look to things to move beyond that permanence to "spice it up" - or we simply collapse within our souls. slowly becoming crushed under the level of expectations we have allowed to build up until sometimes it feels that we are merely another item in the area, like the coffee pot or printer that is used when needed.

How can this problem be solved?  I wish I knew.  It is like a car - you never really think about its operations until it suddenly dies and you need it to go somewhere.  Your entire world is suddenly focused upon one particular item and how it is not working.  Maybe you go through a quick list in your head of all the things you think you should have done but did not - and perhaps promise yourself that if only the car will work, you will take care of these things right away.

A closing thought:  if we celebrated and treasure the permanent and reliable and truly treasured them as much as the new and novel, what would our lives look like?  More importantly, what would the lives of others look like?

2 comments:

  1. I don;t know the answer but I saw a woman this morning driving on a flat at like 2 mph in rush morning traffic. Apparently she was by damned gonna drive to some place where she could get that tire fixed with no inconvenience to herself but holding up a mile of traffic was just fine.

    Maybe these people should learn to take care of themselves a bit more and not get bored?

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  2. Hmmm. You make a really good point Preppy, one I had not considered. The simple act of taking care of one's self and one's things is a sort of permanent activity. And, many (me more than I would like) tend to put that off too - or outsource it to someone else. Thanks for making me think more deeply.

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