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Saturday, 29 September 2018

Boredom vs Suffering


At first glance, the choice between boredom and suffering seems to make no sense. Surely boredom is a form of suffering? But when looked at deeper, the real distinction is choosing between a simple hassle-free life that feels mundane, and a purposeful life that requires pain.

If you sit around all day doing nothing; working a simple job you dislike, watching the telly and drinking beer, it's pretty boring. But in order to have something meaningful in life - a family, a job you love, going travelling - you have to struggle for it. Struggle requires suffering on some level. Everything that makes life worth it requires some sort of pain.

Most people want a relationship, but some can't be bothered to put in the work and effort that they take to maintain (myself sort of included). We want the easy ride of nice dates, fun sex and cuddling, but not the real grit of actually taking care of another person and moulding your lives together. That requires struggle and suffering.

Suffering does not necessarily equate to starving out on the streets. I'm a published author and that requires suffering. I've met loads of people that want to write books, but they don't want to put in the hours of work that goes into it. The writer's block; staring at the screen thinking you're writing rubbish, sending it off to agents and publishers only to get it rejected, years spent working on the same story, polishing it up, getting people to read it and waiting for their feedback, promoting the book once it's out there and getting it to book bloggers to review.

We only put effort into the things we truly care about. To see whether or not someone truly cares for something, see how much they are willing to suffer/struggle for it. I love writing more than most things in this world. Despite all of the booze, sweat and tears that has gone into my literary projects, I have not once wanted to throw in the towel. I care too much for it. Struggling for it makes it worthwhile; it makes it mean something. If there was no struggle it wouldn't mean anything, and it wouldn't be able to happen.

You can't be happy without suffering and working hard. Buddhists have known that all along. Suffering is an inevitable part of life. It goes hand-in-hand with joy. If all you knew was joy, pleasure and happiness, eventually you would become bored. There would be no point to any of it because there'd be nothing to measure it against, and it would all feel too easy. Evolution has made us creatures that need a sense of purpose and survival, otherwise our lives start to feel pointless. It's why people have kids, get married, write books, travel the world - these things require pain, but suffering often feels preferable to boredom.
One of my favourite scenes in The Sopranos.

I hate being bored. Like, I really fucking hate it. I'm not good with lolling around doing fuck-all. I don't get bored very often, but when I do I become restless and sluggish. I'm someone that always needs to be occupied on some level, even if it's simply by watching The Inbetweeners or American Dad. If it's a life of boredom versus a life of suffering, I choose suffering because at least there's some joy in the outcomes.

Study on boredom: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28130690

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If you enjoy my posts check out my novel Every Last Psycho. Available to purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07F44CMNJ