So, we’re all at least a little stupid, right? I mean, sure, there are a few people out there who’ve got it going on. People who at least don’t look like they’re suffering from the same affliction as the rest of us “a little bit stupid” people–but come on. Are they really so different?
Think about the least “a little bit stupid” people you’ve ever known, the kind who, astonishingly, seem to know something about virtually everything, but are smart enough to glean from their formidable knowledge that they really don’t know much about anything. It’s a paradox; the more you know, the more you realize just how much there is to know, and therefore how little you know of whatever it is we’re talking about.
What are we talking about? Oh right, being a little bit stupid.
So here’s the thing, people: If the least “a little bit stupid” person out there is so knowledgable to know s/he doesn’t know much–does that mean that s/he is a lot stupid?And if s/he is “a lot stupid,” doesn’t that mean that the rest of us “a little bit stupid” people are actually gobs smarter, since we don’t know enough to know how little we know? (Stroke your chin right now and go, “hmmm.” Do it!)
Stupidity is the humorist’s wellspring of inspiration. It’s arguably why Donald Trump has become so incredibly popular–and I don’t say that to knock Donald Trump. I say that because his formula for success is to open that mouth hole of his up to release the Kraken of Stupid on a pretty much every day basis, and that’s worked well for him. Maybe because he knows knowing more makes you know less, and so he chooses to know as little as is humanly possible. You know, to stay smart. Besides, ignorance isn’t ignorance if it’s a choice. Right, Republicans?
Which brings me to my latest epiphany: It is good to be bored.
Now you might say, no, David, it is good to be a gangsta. And for the most part, that conventional wisdom still holds. It is good to be a gangsta. But we’re not talking about thug life, we’re talking about good old fashioned, doo-dah boredom. (Which, incidentally, would be good for the gangstas to try at home too.)
If you’re reading this, you have a pulse (good job!) but you may also have noticed that we live in a society where boredom is a straight up four letter word. We’ve always gotsta be doin’ stuff. Checkin’ your phones, checkin’ your phones. Social media, email, apps, games, calendar alerts–ooh–it’s ProsperingLunatic666’s birthday! Imma send him an emoji. Done.
Where were we? Right, our brains.
We’re in a kind of constant low-grade fight-or-flight state. Sitting out back and listening to the birds or feeling the fresh air on our skin can be a bit like putting a vampire into direct sunlight.
First world problems. I’m thinking young person nightlife in dark places. Sometimes there are pool tables, other times there are laser shows, sonic boom-inducing subwoofers, and hot bod contests that cannot be decently nor directly observed. There is always alcohol. Experiences are dialed to the max, and, for the most part, this carries into the next morning’s hangover when the sound of a pin dropping is both brain and earsplitting.
First world problems follow us as we age. Room is made in the budget for gadget joy. We’re constantly craving the next dopamine fix, whether it’s from computers, laptops, tablets, phones, video games, block buster movies, favorite TV shows, or else just a really nice pair of slacks.
Tablets–who the #$^% needed a tablet before tablets were invented? If we could go back in time and try to explain any of this to our younger selves, we’d’ve been all like, “Tablet!? Tablet?! What the @#$@$ flying cow fart is a tablet?”
But you know, all of this stimuli is just kind of putting our brains on hamster wheels. We spin and spin. Which brings me back to my thesis: Now more than ever, what we all need is simple, doo-dah boredom.
Boredom doesn’t come from the hamster wheel. Only hamster funk comes from the hamster wheel. You know that smell? It’s a little like poop mixed with wood chips or whatever it is they stick in those cages. Our electronic-addeled minds are like hamster funk, spinning and spinning. And sure, I know, right now you’re thinking, “Oh, this is just another ‘we should all unplug for a while blog,'” and, okay, sure, we should all unplug for a while. But how often do we talk about what happens after we unplug. Which is: get bored.
Are you ready to try it? Good!
Now, when you’re bored, your first thought might be to get up and do something.
This, on no account should you do.
No. First, you should just sit there doing absolutely nothing. Don’t make plans, don’t do budgets, don’t cheat and start on some kind of freaking clandestine grocery list. Just sit. Relax. Feel the detox. After five or ten minutes, once you’re good and truly bored, you’ll find your creative instinct, whether that’s applicable to your job, daily routine, parenting, spousing, or that really great pair of slacks–whatever–it’s that creative instinct that matters. It’s primal, and it’s the fuel of life.
For instance, creativity fuels empathy. It’s hard to be empathetic to others if there’s no imagination, and it’s hard to have imagination if you reek of hamster funk.
The creative instinct has a strong correlation with the arts. (In other news, water is wet.)
The creative instinct also generates stuff. Stuff is good for the economy.
The creative instinct is good for finding solutions when they’ve been otherwise elusive. (Someone tell Israel and Palestine, quick!)
So yeah, none of that can happen without first wiping the mental slate. And the best way to do that is to go get good and bored. Boredom is good. Pass it on.