When were you last bored? You know the kind of boredom where you stare out of a window or even just into blank space. The kind of boredom where you forget where you are for split second and can't recall what you were doing a moment beforehand.
It's likely that it hasn't been for some time, or a very long time. We now have technology to keep our attention all the time, we are always on, always being entertained, stimulated or challenged with another opinion, or news item or idea. It's probable that this very article popped up on one of your devices and got your attention.
From the moment we wake, many of us reach for our phone first, we check mail, social media and messages. Some of us even take them to the toilet to read and respond, heaven forbid we make anyone wait for the time it takes for us to do our business. We then sit and eat breakfast looking at a screen, we travel using our tech, we get to work and use tech. We use our breaks to use our tech, our lunch and so on all day. Then we make the journey home and it'a likely we are still glued to our devices. Some of us eat our dinner reading our tech and then watch TV with a laptop on our lap and a phone by our side. Then when it's time we go to bed we lie in bed for one last fix of technology. If that's you then you are not alone, I've done it too many times.
It may all seem harmless, but without down time our minds are unable to centre, to reflect, or as one person put it, at what point do we put the snow globe down and wait for the snow to settle to see the picture revealed.
We hardly give ourselves time to breathe, let alone be bored, but boredom is a pathway to creativity. Boredom is what got me as a kid to turn an old box into a racing car. It was what got me to go into the shed find an old piece of wood and a chisel and carve out an image of Tutankhamun... really. It's what led me to spend hours bashing on the keys of my Dad's piano making some awful noise which eventually led to me spending my life making music.
In his article "The Disease of Being Busy" OMID SAFI writes this;
"How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?"
If Google taught us anything it is that omniscience is overrated.
I've been reflecting on all of this more and more recently and have come to the conclusion that unless we learn to master the technology in our lives, it will steal a lot of things that enable us to be effective artists... boredom is the beginning of creative thought.
I'm taking steps to try and rebalance my unbalanced life, it was partly after listening to this BBC podcast, it will shock you and surprise you.
You may not have a problem, that's great. But if you like me you feel uneasy about what all this technology may be doing to you and to your creativity, then I encourage you to join me on a journey in boredom... who knows what we'll find there.