Friday, June 22, 2012
71. What a bore?
What do you call a person who talks when you wish him to listen? Even before you wink, the answer is: such a person is called a 'bore'. But for the past generations, 'bore' has neither been an emotional expression nor a psychological reality. Rarely would anyone acknowledge its existence. Sad, yes. Angry, yes. Depressed, yes. Crazy, yes; but 'Bore' would get a big 'No'. It is only in the past three decades or so that 'bore' and its derivatives 'boring and 'boredom' have sneaked for a permanent place in our lives.
Charles Dickens may have used 'boredom' as early as in 1852, in the novel Bleak House, but the word has remained alien to most cultures in the east. It is, however, another matter that for the present generation it is a form of frequently experienced emotional state from which there is little escape. Youth of today firmly believe that 'man is the only animal that can be bored.' Whether it is a reflection of 'intellectual defeat' or a result of 'failed attention', boredom is rarely discounted from our modern living.
And it is quite unlikely to be discounted because 'boredom' is the chief product of an automated society. Haven't we become bored with what we have? Try peeping into your lives today to find out that as affluence increases boredom grows. Affluence triggers insatiability, the desire to have more, which leads to restlessness. In an automated society, restlessness fuels 'desire for desires' which gets short term relief through novelty. Since none of the novelty ever has a longer shelf life, boredom sets in sooner. Without doubt, past generations were content with what they had and hence boredom to them was in itself a bore. Unless the world tackles boredom head on, it will continue to remain a boring place!