The Quality of Dull

The Quality of Dull

I don't know precisely why the move to a rural environment propelled us back into the digital Dark Ages, nor why I was never quite able to replace my computer or console systems, but between the ages of 13 and 18 the most advanced technology available to me was a piece of equipment that fed silage to our cows. ... My life for those five years became very different, and as I look back, very rich.


I'm not suprised to see that no one really seems to want to discuss this one.

It's about how unplugging and going back out into the world can really enrich your life, and that is the last thing we gaming/interneting forumites want to hear, no matter how true it is.

And it is true. Too true. Owch.

That is one of the best articles I have ever read. Sean Sands, you amaze me!

Get well soon.

All it's pointing out is that if you don't play video games you have to resort to other means to entertain yourself, and the other means happen to be more social.

All it's pointing out is that if you don't play video games you have to resort to other means to entertain yourself, and the other means happen to be more social.

It's also saying that these more social means often aid you in becoming a better person.

This article also shows that even put "out of your element" humans can adjust and adapt to a new style to get by. Probably one of our best assets but also a weakness because when we become comfortable humans will soon stop to aspire to do what they want to do with their life. We become content with our lives and those dreams when we were young turn into nightmares of reality when humans are nowhere near what they wanted to achieve in life. Even in retirement humans aren't pursuing their dreams because now most have to work or dont have the energy to take action.

But at least I do take your advice Sean whenever I go camping all my electronics are left behind and it is a nice feeling to as people say "Get away from it all"

We need to learn from Rincewind. Learn to appreciate the dullness. You will miss it when things get exciting.

Status quo is the greatest phrase in the English language. If nothing changes, then nothing can go wrong.

Dullness is overrated, in my opinion. I prefer a stimulating environment, and sitting still listening to turbines spinning doesn't qualify.

I agree that you shouldn't rely on electronics for stimulation and heartily recommend frequent use of the OFF button on gadgets (I am not a slave to my laptop... it works for me, not me for it) but not everyone is well-suited to enjoying bucolic bliss.

-- Steve

I've spent my whole life out in the sticks, and while it is very nice to be able to look up at night and see the stars and all that, I am planning in the very near future to find myself a flat in London. Simply put, I've had enough of country life and want to experience urban living, even if only for a couple of years. It gets very old very quickly having to drive (or in my case cycle) half-way across the county just to go to a friend's house for a spot of Halo and pub-crawling. Yes, the air is fresh and the skies are blue, but you know what? I want to smell air that's been through a dozen taxi air intakes. I want to see smog. I want to look up and instead of the stars be blinded by the glow of a dozen streetlamps. I love the countryside and the dullness it offers, but I want some hustle and bustle. Dullness is all welll and good, but I've had enough of it. Give me nightclubs. Give me cinemas. Give me anything but the god-awful incessant baaing of the sheep in the next-door field.

I've spent most of my life on a farm. Both of my parents are academics so the farm was more like a hobby. This does not mean that it wasn't hard work. There was always some tedious and sweaty business to attend to. I also experienced much quality boredom because we had very little in the way of electronic entertainment and Legos were pretty much my only toys. I bought my first computer games in my teens and my first game console after high school.

After living in a big city for some years I am well aware of the pros and cons of my previous and current habitat. Urban life can certainly be stimulating, but quality boredom made me invent my own entertainment and education. This involved heaps of books, fresh air, exercise and shooting each other with BB guns.

Nowadays I appreciate quality boredom because it turns the mind's eye inward. This can be painful as well as useful.

I take a couple weeks every year and head up to northern Ontario for some camping, where the most advanced piece of hardware in my possession is my Coleman. A Jeep, a tent, and until a couple years ago a canoe, and off I went. And every year, without fail, my first night after getting set up is a panic-filled affair wherein I wonder what the hell I've done to myself. Not only do I have nothing to do, but "stuff" is happening online without me! Games are being played, conversations are being had, porn is being downloaded and I'm not there for any of it. You'd think I would eventually get used to it, but so far it hasn't happened. The next morning I wake up in sunshine, trees and the freshest air you could imagine and all is well with the world, but it always tough making that first break with the daily routine of stimulation.

And I am better for it. I love it. I'm hardcorez but if I could think of some way to translate that lifestyle into a viable living, I'd be hard pressed to refuse it. I'm not the sort to think our society is any worse off for all the microboredom-killing technological bullshit we're surrounded by, but I don't think there's any question we're missing out on things because of it.

I must admit, ever since I got back into gaming after a few years out, I have had far less time for other things, and I'm aware I spend more time gaming than I should. (Every time my fiancee plans a holiday for us, I immediately think how I won't be able to take my laptop, she'd kill me!)

Having said that, I really value my hour long commute into work (and then back again) as it gives me times to read mags/books/newspapers and think things through. (I wonder how the lack of boredom affects children's reading habits? I remember a headmaster making the news in the UK when he sais that children should be allowed to be bored, as it allowed them to excercise their creativity).

I'm not suprised to see that no one really seems to want to discuss this one.

It's about how unplugging and going back out into the world can really enrich your life, and that is the last thing we gaming/interneting forumites want to hear, no matter how true it is.

And it is true. Too true. Owch.

Oh really? I'm told this every time I go home and visit my parents for a major holiday. That, or I inevitably wind up arguing with my father about politics or society.

This article seems to almost mirror how my childhood ran. My father was building a new house for my family to live in in the middle of the woods, so often I didn't even have anything electricity related to toy around with. I often wound up wandering around the forest around that spot, imagining all sorts of adventures. Or fighting with my sister, either or. I've had consoles all my life, but I didn't even experience a computer until I was 16, and any true form of internet until I went to college.

It's had a rather positive effect on me, I'd say. I spend little time on a computer each day *well, OUTSIDE of work*. I seem to have little desire to browse tons of forums or scavenge multiple sites simply because I know *and feel* there's lots of other things I can do with my time. Oh, I'm quite the avid game player, but even then, I like to get out and do things frequently. And even now, I like to take a long walk through a forest or park every once in a while. Good for letting your mind wander and clearing your head.

@jeffers - Personally, I find myself kinda missing the country life after living in city/suburbia for a few years.

Boredom is a state of mind.

Your imagination is the strongest deterrent of boredom, if you don't use it and instead rely on what you're force fed by marketers, the scope of your world becomes very limited.

I'm not sporty. I'm not sociable. But I'm never bored, long as I have my mind with me. I've never been truly bored for very long.

I never feel the need to go out and kick something round until it passes an arbitrary point, or dull my upper brain functions with liquids, to have a good time. This doesn't mean I'm a boring person. It means that my ways of finding enjoyment are not related to physical activities or 'hanging with the guys' or 'drinking'.

That I don't go kick the fuck out of a ball (or beat it with a bat) does not automatically mean that I'm not "engaged with the world". My circle of friends are people I enjoy hanging out with, simple as that. I don't enjoy hanging out with meatheads, annoying people or alcoholics, which shuts about 99% of the people possible out. This means my "circle of friends" is narrow. So freaking what?

Sure, the entire article is interesting, but I completely disagree with the stereotypical "your life becomes better if you stop using digital media, you pasty useless weakling friendless fucking geek" message that I feel the article somewhat carries.

My parents used to say something slightly similar. Something within the veins of the entire "unplugged beats plugged" thing. They always stated that people you know online "aren't true/real/actual friends" (the wording changed, but basically I couldn't count them as friends because I couldn't punch them physically in the face if I was mad at them, apparently). I never, ever, ever understood even the very beginning of this thinking, at all. I MARRIED a person that I knew for the first year ONLY over the internet. She was NOT different in real life.
When you meet someone on the internet, and befriend them, they become your friend. Not your "internet friend", just plain your friend. Plugged life is in no way inferior, or superior, to unplugged life.
That is the simple fact. That some people are unable to cope with boredom without resorting to kicking shit (preferrably round things that other people are also trying to kick. IE: Sports) doesn't change it a tiny bit.

beautiful article. this reminds me of when i backpacked Europe for a month, with no internet or video games to kill time with. i think i ended up a much more enriched person because of it.

at the end of the day, moderation is king. i gain great enjoyment from "plugging in", but i also enjoy "plugging out". i love running, playing frisby, taking a simple walk around the city, etc. and when i get home, physically tired, i love spending an hour or two either playing a game or surfing the web.

too much of anything is too much. unfortunately, i think i have a pretty addictive personality as well. even when i'm not playing games, i'm thinking about them, and (like right now) writing about them. i do want to continue being involved in gaming, but i'd like to spend more time doing other stuff as well. it's a balance i'm still working on.

Boredom pushes us to "do things". Otherwise, we're busy pacifying our minds with whatever is at hand.

That's part of the reason why I'm not into handheld/mobile gaming or iPods. An iPod might be handy for jogging or working out, but that's about it. These people walking around or sitting in places "plugged in" just look like robots to me.

Idle time, whether in transit or otherwise, can be spent reading, etc. Sure, it can be argued that it's another form of entertainment, but it's not as bad as the traditional "gameboy effect." (Brain Age etc are also different, being more constructive) Heck, it might even force people to think about their lives and what "stuff" means. That isn't a bad thing, at the cost of a enduring a little "boredom".


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