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posted by martyb on Friday November 03, @04:54AM   Printer-friendly
from the brought-to-you-by-Elon-Musk's-Boring-Company dept.

Is boredom necessary to our survival?

Every emotion has a purpose—an evolutionary benefit," says Sandi Mann, a psychologist and the author of The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom Is Good. "I wanted to know why we have this emotion of boredom, which seems like such a negative, pointless emotion."

That's how Mann got started in her specialty: boredom. While researching emotions in the workplace in the 1990s, she discovered the second most commonly suppressed emotion after anger was—you guessed it—boredom. "It gets such bad press," she said. "Almost everything seems to be blamed on boredom."

As Mann dived into the topic of boredom, she found that it was actually "very interesting." It's certainly not pointless. Wijnand van Tilburg from the University of Southampton explained the important evolutionary function of that uneasy, awful feeling this way: "Boredom makes people keen to engage in activities that they find more meaningful than those at hand."

"Imagine a world where we didn't get bored," Mann said. "We'd be perpetually excited by everything—raindrops falling, the cornflakes at breakfast time." Once past boredom's evolutionary purpose, Mann became curious about whether there might be benefits beyond its contribution to survival. "Instinctively," she said, "I felt that we all need a little boredom in our lives."

Precede creative tasks with the most intensely boring activities you can devise if you want to have the best ideas.


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:01AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:01AM (#591540)

    * continues to drone on the operations reports for the next 20 hours until it is complete without any distraction.

  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday November 03, @05:15AM (2 children)

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday November 03, @05:15AM (#591545) Journal

    Drove me to write this comment.

    Boredom Level Next:

    ✝👎🎅🔫💣💥💥💥💥💀🦊⛧
    🔺👽🐙🌏
    𓁘𓂺 ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    🇰🇵 > 🇰🇷

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @11:20PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @11:20PM (#591926)

      Oh jesus we can unicode here? Why is slashdot such a neglected clusterfuck?
      They won't ban creimer even though he talks about marrying little girls... a clusterfuck of annoying regex filters that won't let you post for looking like ascii art or using too many caps or... who knows? Then there is timothy.

      But god forbid the place doesn't look web 3.0 enough.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 04, @12:33AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 04, @12:33AM (#591953)

        Um, what are you talking about, dude?

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Friday November 03, @05:38AM (13 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Friday November 03, @05:38AM (#591550)

    "I'm bored. There's nothing on YouTube."

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday November 03, @05:43AM (11 children)

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Friday November 03, @05:43AM (#591552) Journal

      At least 400 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, including boobs [bbc.com].

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday November 03, @05:51AM (10 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @05:51AM (#591554)

        Kids this days aren't interested in boobs any longer.**

        ---

        ** Maybe with the remarkable exception of TMB.

        (grin)

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by aristarchus on Friday November 03, @08:20AM (9 children)

          by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @08:20AM (#591585) Journal

          ** Maybe with the remarkable exception of TMB.

          Of course you realize, TMB is not a kid, he is well into creepy old guy territory, except to you gay men. And, it is not all that remarkable! See my rejected submission on the Alt-right's Female Problem. TMB is right in the middle of this, with his Red Pillar showing! Oh, the huge Manatees!

          --
          If you could ensure that your submissions are balanced, accurate and unbiased, you might stand a better chance
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday November 03, @08:56AM (8 children)

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @08:56AM (#591594)

            You do know that some men don't ever grow up** - from my vantage point, TMB is one of them.

            ** (if you don't know it yet, use a mirror, magister, have been quite a long time since your biological age was childhood - large grin)

            • (Score: 4, Funny) by aristarchus on Friday November 03, @09:53AM (7 children)

              by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @09:53AM (#591609) Journal

              OMG. The Mighty Buzzard. If you change the initial letters, divide them by the relevant prime, and then head out for the brightest star, straight on till morning . . . TMB is Peter Pan, he does not want to grow up, he does not want to go to school (he has affirmed that several times),

              Just to learn to be a parrot,
              ----Just to learn to be a parrot
              And recite a silly rule.
              ----And recite a silly rule
              If growing up means
              It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
              I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
              Not me!
              Not I,
              Not me!
              Not me!

              http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-wont-grow-up-lyrics-peterpan.html [metrolyrics.com]

              Explains so much, really. Are all libertarians just really Peter Pans?

              --
              If you could ensure that your submissions are balanced, accurate and unbiased, you might stand a better chance
              • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday November 03, @10:24AM (4 children)

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @10:24AM (#591618)

                OMG.

                Now you get it.

                Explains so much, really. Are all libertarians just really Peter Pans?

                Do you find a better explanation for the infantilism they show?

                (btw, have you used that mirror yet? grin)

                • (Score: 4, Funny) by aristarchus on Friday November 03, @10:33AM (3 children)

                  by aristarchus (2645) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @10:33AM (#591620) Journal

                  Oh, c0lo, you benefit so much from being able to post when the nattering nabobs of negativism (Americans) are asleep. Mirrors. Oh, yes, but a mirrors at my age only show how old I am, and are not terribly useful at showing how much I have learned over that same time span. But your Critique, oh Paduwan, I sense has some other point? Out with it. We are men of ideas, scurrying about the bush does not become us!

                  --
                  If you could ensure that your submissions are balanced, accurate and unbiased, you might stand a better chance
                  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday November 03, @11:50AM (2 children)

                    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @11:50AM (#591633)

                    I sense has some other point? Out with it.

                    How you you think your skirmishes with TMB look from outside? "But... he started" "No, he started". That's quite far from... "the quarrel of the philosopher with the world".

                    The latter has a certain fresh childish aroma in itself: the... mmm... innocent belief that a philosopher can change the world during his lifetime. Not gonna happen nowadays, the humans are too proud of their "achievements" to think they still have plenty of question unanswered. Worse, they don't know they have these questions and feverishly club each other with their answers of choice.

                    Btw, a certain philosopher I sorta know behaves like he harbour this "have enough answers for many lives and lifetimes" illusion, if you know what I mean (if you don't, here's in brief. I'd suggest to stop offering answers and demonstrations, magister, this world suffers from an inflation of answers and a scarcity of questions, especially the "relevant questions" kind.
                    ---
                    ** I tried to avoid "naive" as the term to use. Did I manage?

                    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday November 03, @05:57PM (1 child)

                      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday November 03, @05:57PM (#591778) Journal

                      You guys bored yet?

                      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @06:35PM

                        by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @06:35PM (#591795)

                        didnt someone say boobs earlier? i read this for the article but i am still disappoint

              • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Friday November 03, @03:51PM (1 child)

                by Sulla (5173) on Friday November 03, @03:51PM (#591708) Journal

                Its the alt-animal conspiracy. TMB will do anything it takes to protect animal rights even if it means the death of thousands of humans. Just the other day he was going out of his way to eat SanFran tier vegan free/fair trade beans with peppers. When offered he REFUSED to add bacon because it "hurts the animals" and "supports the continued human supremacy movement". It has really gone far enough, for us pet haters there no place to express ourselves online without being attacked. We can't even tell someone that having a cat in the house when pregnant is unhealthy due to proven parasites. If we aren't careful these pet lovers are going to rule this country and force everyone into servitude to the cat master-race. Do you really want to have your eyes eaten when you sleep? Absurd. On top of it all TMB is LITERALLY ONE THIRD BUZZARD! Can you believe that? A Bird! The Alt-ANIMAL conspiracy must end this site is getting overrun

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:18PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:18PM (#591749)

                  A for effort I guess.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @07:33AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @07:33AM (#591576)

      “Imagine a world where we didn’t get bored,” Mann said. “We’d be perpetually excited by everything—raindrops falling, the cornflakes at breakfast time.”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGFUwuaXP00 [youtube.com]
      https://www.instagram.com/p/BBivM-8w7CE/?taken-by=bentleygoldenbear [instagram.com]

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Friday November 03, @06:48AM (2 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @06:48AM (#591566) Homepage Journal

    I have some serious boredom planned in just a few months.

    When you've been working 110% for a long time, it becomes really difficult to let go, to do nothing. Try to stop working and you feel immediately bored: "there's got to be something I need to do". Coming down out of a time a stress, boredom is a good sign, is something to be courted. Because on the other side of it is letting go, relaxing, and actually taking time to smell the flowers...

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @09:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @09:56AM (#591612)

      Yeah, to just let go, and not worry that some inferior race might be gaining on you in your period of rest, that must be a blessing. Bless you, bradley13! May your white seed prosper! Heil Hitler!!

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @05:21PM (#591752)

      Those plants are not even your species, and I'm pretty sure their g-quotient is lower than the dumbest human. Probably shouldn't stop anywhere near the flower's neighborhood, no telling what might happen.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @11:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 03, @11:22AM (#591629)

    So that means I should be motivated to do some cleaning tonight.

  • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Friday November 03, @01:32PM (2 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Friday November 03, @01:32PM (#591657) Homepage Journal

    So, if you're not bored, you're excited by everything?

    No "yeah, that's okay"?
    No "interesting, kind of"?

    If I'm not bored, Im jumping on the couch like Tom fecking Crooose?

    I'm rarely bored. I can usually entertain myself.
    But am I excited allll the time? No. And I haven't jumped on the fecking couch in decades.

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by Freeman on Friday November 03, @04:08PM

      by Freeman (732) on Friday November 03, @04:08PM (#591713) Journal

      Who doesn't love a good romp on the couch?

      --
      "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
    • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Sunday November 05, @06:44AM

      by toddestan (4982) on Sunday November 05, @06:44AM (#592407)

      I thought that was strange too. If something is not exciting, that doesn't necessarily mean its boring, just that it's routine or uninteresting.

      I would think a world without getting bored is where I would be perfectly content to sit and do absolutely nothing for extended periods of time. Kind of like a computer, which has no problems sitting idle doing nothing indefinitely.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Mike on Friday November 03, @05:23PM

    by Mike (823) on Friday November 03, @05:23PM (#591754)

    "Imagine a world where we didn't get bored," Mann said. "We'd be perpetually excited by everything—raindrops falling, the cornflakes at breakfast time."

    She says this like it's a bad thing. It doesn't sound all that bad to me*.

    *Raindrops are still exciting, I'm not sure cornflakes ever were.

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