Monday, May 17, 2010

The right to be bored

The very kind people at MercatorNet have published a piece I wrote, about how electronic gizmos can get in the way of the state of mind that precedes creativity:
Children aren't the only ones with these gizmos, of course. For the younger set it may be video games and personal DVD players, but the adults have their pacifiers, too--phones, internet devices, handheld computers and the like, all instantly available the moment a line becomes too long, an elevator ride too crowded, or a pause in conversation too pronounced.

It's as though the citizens of the twenty-first century have decided that human beings have a new right, the right never to experience so much as a moment's lapse in the onslaught of entertainment and information with which we surround ourselves. If we're aware of any tedium, the fault is a simple one to remedy: we just need the latest electronic device to fill those moments of inactivity and keep us from ennui.

But if we embrace this new right, I think we are at risk of losing a much more valuable, much more intrinsically human right: the right to be bored.
If you're interested, the whole piece is here. Thanks!


Rebecca in CA said...

Great article! I have noticed young children with these gizmos everywhere, and it always makes me sad. They don't even make eye contact with anyone around them because they're absorbed in their electronic game...that's got to have many negative effects. I liked your point about boredom leading to creativity, and I'd like to add that IMO, gadget and TV-free kids become very skilled at entertaining themselves. People whose kids are dependent upon the gizmos can't imagine doing without, because their children have not had a chance to develop the ability to entertain themselves and are whiny and demanding the instant they are detached from a gadget.

Magister Christianus said...

AMEN! AMEN! I have already forwarded this to several people and will be linking to it on my blog. My wife and I are lifelong teachers, and we could not agree more. Some of my greatest flights of creative fantasy were when I was riding my bike, alone, around our neighborhood as a child. This needs widespread publication.