All the world’s a boring place

February 22, 2008

“By explaining the rainbow, he has destroyed the beauty of it”
– John Keats on Isaac Newton

Two days ago I woke up from my sleep abruptly, partly because of heavy drinking the night before. No matter how much I tried I was unable go back to sleep. So I decided that I’ll do a little reading since that usually puts me to sleep quickly. It
was around 5.45 in the morning and the dawn was about to break, so I thought it would be wonderful to goto my terrace and read something while watching the sunrise. I’ve always liked the first gentle streaks of the sun fall on my face, it somehow felt revitalizing. So I went upstairs, opened a book and started reading. After a while the sun began to rise and I concluded it would most appropriate to just watch this everyday phenomenon in its entirety since I’ve heard that there’s nothing more beautiful than to watch the sun rise early in the morning. I closed the book, tossed it aside, then began observing the giant fireball move up almost un-noticeably. At first I found it a bit hard to concentrate, though it was just rising and hardly had any of its midday might, I couldn’t observe it without constantly blinking or getting distracted. What I indeed was hoping for was a sudden rush of blood or goosebumps or some sort of sign which indicated that even this banal daily routine is actually magical if observed closely. I waited, time flew by and still even after about 15 minutes nothing breathtaking happened. Exhaustion and boredom was what I could feel and there was no sign of the sudden awe or ‘enlightenment’ that most mystics or transcendentalists talk about. And thats when it hit me. All this time I was not looking at Sun as how those people from primitive civilization saw it, but indeed looked at it as just another star or a cosmic entity that was some 146,000 miles away. Also I knew why the sun rose and understood the reason for its orangish glow, knew why its rays were warm and got hotter as the day progressed. It was pure and simple, just by understanding all that was happening to the sun, I failed miserably to be enthralled by it.

Making sense of it all.
When we were little babies, we never understood anything but were continuosly amazed by even simple things . Though our brain tries from day 1 to piece together all the information it senses, it takes atleast about a year or two to come to even some basic conclusions. Until that period everything around us is a source of surprise, astonishment and awe. I see this everyday with my niece, she’s just 6 months old. She could go on looking at the ceiling fan and keep smiling at it. She doesn’t’ try to comprehend it, she cannot even if she tried hard, she just stares at it in total amazement. We on the other hand are hardly bewildered by anything that is so monotonous. If you really think about it and wonder what is that which makes babies get blown away by normal everyday happenings you’d come up with a couple or more conclusions. You would argue that the brain in the baby is not well developed or has limited comprehension and so on. Though this is partially true it is not the complete answer. The answer to this lies in the complete meaninglessness of the baby’s perception. The baby doesn’t know that it is a “ceiling fan” to being with, not just the concept but the name or the label by which it is remembered in the mind. There are no abstract assumptions nor is there any preconceived notion. The child sees everything as a whole and not as ideas or abstractions. The Buddhists called this Tathata or suchness, it is state where no meaning is formed in the mind and we sense things only as what they are. So be it a rising sun, a ceiling fan or the monotonous soaps on the TV, to the baby it all appears as something new and without meaning. That is the principal reason for its amazement at just about anything it senses. To give you a hint, when we look at the night sky filled with gleaming stars we immediately try to make something out of it. We already know what stars are, why they look so small, why they twinkle and why they appear only at night. There’s nothing special to be amazed about, we know that nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen at that moment. Even if a meteorite suddenly flashes above, we would be thrilled for a second or so but will immediately return to our normal state. It would take a humongous effort on nature’s part to come up with something to keep us up on our toes even for about 15 minutes, but sadly nature doesn’t do tricks.

Everything has been comprehended.
The 20th century has been one of the most ‘profitable’ centuries in terms of knowledge gained in all major fields of science. Biologically speaking, we understand what genes are, we understand that we are just ‘survival machines’ which the genes have built around themselves so that they could prosper. Not that they consciously do this, but this is something that has occurred naturally and we have come to terms with that. Relativity and quantum physics have basically turned our view upside down, old concepts like absolute time (which Newton thought “flowed” through space by the act of God) and space have been completely replaced with a relativistic view. Yes, I agree that there is lot of research going on in quantum electrodynamics and the search for a unified theory keeps the coffee in the research labs always boiling hot, but what does it all matter to common folk like you and me. We have just about enough knowledge to understand everyday phenomenon like rain, sunrise or wind which only 4000 years ago were worshiped in most parts of the world and considered divine. The modern man can never afford to go out of his way now and find something interesting because so much has already been comprehended. If you think deeply about it, this is indeed the age of boredom. Even feelings such as love, friendship and anger have all been reduced to works of hormones and genes and what not. Atheism has never been popular or as acceptable as before, and even the so called believers don’t really agree that the world was created in just 7 days or monkeys helped a warrior king cross an ocean. Time magazine famously proclaimed ‘God is Dead’ about 4 decades ago and as the years pass by we only seem to be agreeing more to it. Even if something out of the ordinary is proposed about the universe, something as radical as relativity, how long would it last before we comprehend everything about it and lose the enthusiasm that we initially had?

We have reached the end of the cauldron of knowledge that we have been sucking on for millennia using science as a straw and soon there’s going to be nothing but just sound of the the air crackling through indicating an empty pot. What happens when everything in the world is known? When we understand all, and nothing is left unturned? Will it be for the better or will people just find life not that exciting at all? “Mother” Earth is already turning into a giant, lonely and boring blue piece of rock circling endlessly around an always exploding, titanic hydrogen bomb which exists in a dark, chaotic, dreary, flavorless and godless universe. Could things get any more uninspiring and boring?


15 Responses to “All the world’s a boring place”

  1. nevvermind Says:

    finally someone who has that “itch”. i was wondering about this, too.

    so, in that matter, i’ll take this post (literally or not) and by tomorrow i’ll write something myself, according to your presumptions.

    may the lesser rational win!

  2. […] in My human self by nevvermind on February 23rd, 2008 This post is a completion or an adding to this post. I really liked what he has written and I promised an answer. Here it […]

  3. Nathan Says:

    I am going to nit-pick for just a moment and let you know that the sun is actually about 93,000,000 miles from Earth.

  4. passer by Says:

    i think so

  5. Jak Says:

    True this world is dull and without any form of complete satisfaction. I am bored I’ve even thought of suicide… I am supposed to be some sort of rocketscientist… That’s what people tell me when they reflect on my IQ that I’ve never really seen. One thing is sure I’m not stupid which makes everyday people predictable and idiotic… I’ve already ruled out god and most occults in my search for a meaning to this life or even for exitement… I’m very fond of the idead of having special godlike abillities… If such a thing is possible contact me! this is me begging!!! Other than that I hope for war to brake out. Now that sounds like FUN! Anyhow if you know of anything that might give me reason for life or something as good as alcohle,weed and sex……

  6. Gurpreet Says:

    Study religion in depth and not stories, may be you would find someting interesting. Mind enjoys rapid changes and gradual change is what you see.have you read krishna who explains superiority of soul over intellect, intellect over mind and mind over five senses . practice true religion amd may be you would see magics.

    • Kyle Says:

      Well said. There is too many “fast food” religions out there that “sell” you stuff and you wind up 1 step forwards and 3 step backwards sort of deal.

  7. Fading-Dream Says:

    This is 100% truth. What happened to wanting some excitement and adventure…. School is the stupidest thing ever…

  8. Soraya Says:

    I totally agree. I’ve been bored of this world since I learnt that we can explain how the sun rises, our place in the cosmos, how time flows, the workings of the sleeping mind; as soon as I learnt the only real fears revolve around the base evils of pain and death, that there are no gods or demons, no monsters in the closet, no parallel worlds, aliens on earth, ghosts or goblins, that the human mind is all chemicals and dreams mean nothing. This is the world according to science. A little knowledge is a very, very good thing; but too much of a good thing isn’t better. Curiosity is a force for destruction as well as discovery – we won’t stop until we’ve sucked every drop of mystery and wonder out of the world, turned every stone, weeded out everything that isn’t fact and converted our world into science, chemicals, equations and numbers. I’m not calling for superstition and witch burning… I love to learn… but this modern age of rationality and cynicism is… dull, and as evil if not more evil than our past. It’s not better, it’s just stretched thinner and more colourless. We know more, but it results in… this boredom. We’re not more civilised or impressive; even the opposite. We need to regain those old thoughts, naive beliefs, ponderings, wonderings, sparks of curiosity and creativity, the mystery and wonder that took us through thousands of years before this age of machines and science. It’s dull, dull, dull, dull. It’s boring. It’s becoming drones in the big clockwork machine of modern society, everything in its place and a place for everything, a world of meaningless work until death, and reason. God save us! Only there isn’t really a God anymore. He got chased out by Quantum Physics and Chaos Theory. This world is stiflingly boring. It’s pure tedium.

    Like you say science will run dry and if we’re not careful, all we’ll be left with is answers. There’ll be no point for questions, no point seeing new places or thinking new things, because you can’t argue with facts it seems. What will happen to our culture? Escapism won’t be particularly popular – film, books, art. Oh, it sounds so hysterical, but much like we chased out the old myths and old fairy tales, we could chase out fiction as well. There isn’t room to dream in a scientific world – oh, dream of machines, and theories, but mention religion or goblins, and that’s a different matter altogether.

    Maybe it’s just the resentment of losing the dreams of childhood, becoming an adult and learning how to be bitter. Maybe it isn’t. I hate this world. It’s empty.

    They say the past was a simpler time. I argue against that; in the past there were atrocities and ignorant beliefs, but there was wonder, there was innovation, creation, mystery, relentless dangers, treacherous politics, complex cultures. It was actually a very complicated time. Our modern streamlined existence of reason, answers, tedium, where many of us in the west live in clinical urban sprawls and feed the machine, and there are too many answers and reasons and not enough questions… that’s simple. That’s too simple. When in history have we ever been able to say ‘that’s just it’ with such conviction?

    It’s sad, it’s very sad. I wonder what we will live for when we’ve explained everything away, when even the last bastion of death isn’t a mystery?

    Philosophy is good to read if you want something different, but even that’s not good enough. I’m turning away from fiction; somehow it’s too painful to read about an amazing, fascinating universe of fiction, and then look at this bland, reasonable, mundane, stretched-to-snapping point reality that I’d swap for anything, anything at all. Then again, I always was a dreamer as a kid.

  9. swamygee Says:

    Thanks for that brilliant comment. I have to tell you though that a lot has changed since the 3 years I wrote that post. I don’t write this blog anymore. I was in my early 20’s, completely disillusioned with my job and the state that I was in. I was a devout atheist who had no notion of anything divine or sacred. When I re-read this post again I realize that I’ve come a long way.

    I was a dreamer too as a kid. I used to space out and day dream all the time in my class and in other odd places. But over the years, in my teens, the hormones took over and suddenly new needs and distractions started popping up. I kind of lost track of the art of dreaming. But over last last 3 years there’s has been a great change in me. These days I dream a lot, and my dreams have become richer and more meaningful. I pay a lot of attention to the symbolism in my dreams. And suddenly the world is not boring anymore. Granted that as long as I have a 9-5 job and a regular weekly routine the world will still appear small and without awe, but there are subtle moments now in my life where I thoroughly enjoy it.

    I have never enjoyed reading poetry before, but now its my staple diet. And the moon never looked so beautiful before. The world can never be boring if one changes his/her outlook. Just looking at the stars on a dark night gushes out so many different feelings that makes me wonder how I missed out on all of these in my adolescence.

    I would be lying if I said my life is not without sorrow, there is depression and it usually comes in cycles. But it is not due to the general disillusionment about the world as it was before. It is now more or less related to problem of not finding a healthy and meaningful relationship or not finding a job that I like. But overall I know I have a purpose in this life. I know life is meaningful and the struggles that you go through, your depression and sorrow also give meaning to your life. You cannot always expect to be happy all the time, that is sedation.

    I am much more wiser now, and I believe there is much to learn. And its not that all knowledge kills joy and mystery in the world, the more I read about topics such as dream symbolism, consciousness, the origin of life and deeper topics the more interesting the world becomes to me.

    Have a great day.

  10. Kyle Says:

    I am finding out the hard way that everything in life we desire down to the simple “hello” and “thank you” will manifest according to our level of vibration:
    if only I didn’t doubt this sooner I would’ve saved my self a lot of emotional stress and boredom but then the more I dwell about that the more resistant I am to the moment.

    The more resistant I am to the moment the more life will either be boring or an overburden struggle which I will want to cry:

    If we firmly believe in our subconsiounce that life is boring then we attract energy that is at that level so all we see is the “boringness” of life until we surrender our old self to the “fairys of the universe” and leave the driving to them.

    “And leave the driving to ussssssssss!”

  11. Kyle Says:

    Did I mention that if we continue to view life boring we will either be overburden by life’s struggles or wish for action and get nothing but over-stimulating experiences all because of what we are attacting inside us?

  12. whatever Says:

    thanks for posting
    someone else can see 🙂

  13. Tom Says:

    I feel like you did in the first post, I’ve felt this way for years… that there’s nothing here that can make life worth living, and I don’t know what to do.

    Everyone around me just continues in the tedium of everyday life, but I sit here alone, except for my thoughts. I don’t know that life or this world has anything to offer me or why people stick around to find out.

    I hope I find something worthwhile eventually, but every day I grow more certain I won’t.

  14. Caspar Says:

    Please wat ever you do, do not stop dreaming of something more.
    Some of the posts i read here have been a immense inspiration for me.
    I have been feeling completely alone in the view that mankind has to move on from this world. Not in any mysterius or religius way but in a more physical.

    The fact that i am not alone in this view has sparked me with hope. I have been feeling completely lost. Docters say its some form of depression wich i have ponderd about for a couple of years now.
    IQ tests claim i am above average intelligence but i have never seen any evidence to support it.

    The only thing i have felt is that what we as humans percive of this world and can measure with all of our understanding of science and the universe is such a incomprehencebly small part of wat is out there.

    Some say the Universe is infinet that it has no end. If this is true than so would knowledge and understanding.
    Others claim it has an end and it can be measured, To this i can only think that there is allways something more. To overly simplify it “There is allways a bigger fish”.
    When you think you know it all something new has allready emerged even if you do not know this.

    The fact that you feel bored i belive is not because this world or this reality are actually boring. Its the fact that humanity seems it doesnt want to understand more.

    I have long belived that all mankind has to do to become greater is enlarge our knowledge. Our technolagy so to say.
    Recently i have started to doubt that knowledge alone will advance our race.
    Without the wisdom to use or even comprehend the knowledge it will be all but meaningless.

    it is my belief that mankind is closing on a crossroad, A time where we will have to chose our own path. I have been slowly losing faith in the fact that we will chose to advance, and rather stay right where we are bickering over matters that in the grand scale are all but insignificant.

    Our race has such great potential, i just cannot sit idly by watching innocent and in some case misguided people killing eachother for things as small as pieces of land or recourses.
    When we allready have the knowledge that land and recourses are in such great supply all we have to do is go get them.

    Religion allso has a small say in this. Since many many people have died in name of beliefs and in name of there own beliefs.
    On the statement “God is dead” all i can say is that it is a little shortsighted.
    I dont get why any god has to be the single reason of our existence, That this life should be a sort of exam if we are allowed to go to some higher state of being.

    The reason i am not religous is not that i believe sience has rendered god useless and that there is no more place for a god or anything resembeling a being like that.
    But simply that all of the religions i have seen or heard about still portray god as being a realy powerfull human.
    That so much death and pain has been spread in the name of some gods that i just cant belive that they are right.

    Religion is a personal choice something that has little to do with science. Science itself can be viewed as a religion since you have the choice to belive it or not.
    What drove a lot of people away from religion is the fact that it is no longer needed to explain the world around us.
    But not that science proved that there is no god of any form.

    As i said before as much as we think we know i belive that there is such a incomprehenceble amount still to learn that simply saying we are done and we will just stay were we are is such a waste of our potential as a species.

    This is why i want to ask you not to give up dreaming, The feelings of boredom should be normal. Not because it is actually boring but because not that many people are willing to move forward.

    I have thought about this a long time now and have come to belive that the fact i , and mabe others are allready dreaming up our future among the stars is a sign that slowly but surely mankind will move on from where we are.
    But if no one dares to dream and we simply label the dreamers wich are sad because they are some of the few that can see this far as having a mental disease wich can be cured.
    Mankind will simply fall into ruin.

    At this time i belive that if we are to progress as a race the next steps wont be that of technolagy but of wisdom.
    At some point i belive that this world will have to unite and deside as a whole that we are to take hold of our own destiny and find it where most people allready feel it is. Among the stars.

    The reason i have felt “depressed” is not because this world and this race are boring.
    But because it isnt and so many dont see it.

    It all seems so mundane and boring because we made it that way. Not because it actually is.
    Every system in place is of our own design and is only there because we let it.
    It would take the majority of this world to change wat is.
    And at this time i simply do not know how to achieve this.

    Wat i do belive is that if everyone just gives up on humanity. That we will never be more than we are now.
    The future may be dark indeed.

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