eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Thursday, January 3

Boredom and the Meaning of Life

Staving off tedium is no mundane matter. People who are predisposed to boredom are more likely to suffer from ills such as depression and drug addiction; they also tend to be socially awkward and poor performers at school or work. Getting at the origins of boredom may lead to ways to prevent and treat such pathologies and detrimental behaviors.

This article caught my eye because boredom is something I struggle with quite a lot and which seems to be getting worse as I get older. When I was young, learning something new was always interesting and fun. Now, even learning something new seems ... old. Maybe that's because I don't usually get past the boring bits that come a little after the beginning of learning something new.

The one thing I have learned to do fairly well in my life was to play the flute - had just become difficult again when I quit. I quit because small improvements, at that stage, required hours and hours of practice. For a long time, a small amount of practice could yield great results in performance. If I really wanted to make improvement, it would have to be in technique and overall music knowledge. I was an Engineering major, and I didn't see how I could manage my major along with 20+ hours/week of practice.

After struggling with the pre-engineering courses - Physics, Chemistry, Calculus, I took a programming course at the community college. It was so easy! And fun! I switched my major to Computer Science.

Then I had a baby. It didn't sink in right away, that a baby would take far more than 20+ hours a week, but eventually I quit school. I couldn't quite pull off a toddler + college. Actually, that's not quite true. I think it was the TV that was the problem more than the toddler. The programming got boring and frustrating.

Anyway, when everything gets boring as soon as you know a little about it, then how do you know what you'll be interested in on the other side of the boredom? What if you study something for years and it never gets interesting again?

I guess that happens to lots of people.

What I didn't know, is that studies were being done on the issue of boredom. I'll be curious to see what scientists learn in the long run about it. Wouldn't it be funny if it came to be treated as a 'disease' that was 'treatable'... similar to the way depression has come to be treated?

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