I picked up the latest issue of Adbusters recently, and within was an interesting article regarding boredom. I agree with this article, and consider myself (sadly) an example. What do you think:
Boredom is a cultural phenomenon unique to western culture (but now, unfortunately, being spread like a virus to non-Western cultures). Bedouins, for example, can sit for hours in the desert, feeling the ripples of time, without being bored. Traditional societies know nothing of boredom. Traditional life is a goal-oriented existence where the goals are deeply embedded in the worldview of the tradition and have real meaning for those who imbibe the tradition. It is enriched by countless face-to-face, intimate relationships, based both on extended families and communal life; personal relationships in traditional societies tend to be shared, close and intimate, leading to a host of duties and responsibilities that give orientations and meaning to individual lives. In most third world societies, individuals and communities are normally too busy trying to survive to be bored. Boredom is a product of culture where individual and communal goals have lost all their significance and meanings, where an individualís attention spans is no longer than a single frame in an MTV video: five seconds. In such a culture, one needs something different to do, something different to see, some new excitement and spectacle every other moment. Netsurfing provides just that: the exhilaration of a joyride, the spectacle of visual and audio inputs, a relief from boredom and an illusion of God-like omniscience as an added extra. But, of course, travel at such a high speed has a price. Hypertext generates hyper-individuals: rootless, without a real identity, perpetually looking for then next fix, hoping that the next page on the Web will take them to nirvana. The individual himself is reduced to hypertext: a code of information. And this process seems to be accelerating.
Aiauddin Sardar, from
The Cybercultures Reader (Routledge, 2000)