[-empyre-] Technology and Boredom and what about literature?

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Fri May 15 10:46:49 AEST 2015

Hello Emilie,

I may have replied to your message twice by accident (with the same

You write:
> I felt bored yesterday when my reality was below my expectations. To
>  experience something beyond my expectations would be exciting, but
> my boredom is more dependent on my expectations than on the world 
> meeting or exceeding them.

This is interesting. I have been thinking about predictions as what is
likely to happen next independently of our desire for something in
particular to happen. I was thinking about boredom as a state when what
we unconsciously expect to happen (no matter how we feel about that
happening) happens. This is a lack of arousal where the internal model
matches the reality.

When you say your boredom is dependent on your expectations themselves,
do you mean your attachment (or not) to your predictions or something
else? If you expect something to happen that you don't want to happen,
would you be frustrated? It seems that even if we feel negative about
something happening, if it's an expectation then it seems we should feel
neutrally about it because its expected. Maybe there is some little hope
for things going another way, but then I would think the resulting
frustration would be due to (a) the attachment to particular outcome and
(b) a lack of total confidence in the prediction. In short, we could
feel bored about something that is nor actually boring, or feel excited
about something that is boring. This could be because of out attachment
/ investment in particular outcomes and a shift of abstraction /
attention that makes the predictable unpredictable and vice versa.

You later write:
> When reality and expectations agree I would be content, not bored. 
> Meditation as an acceptance of boredom - yes! To me this also 
> qualifies it as an antidote. Whereas a more direct ‘antidote’ would 
> be to take up some exciting activity...

I would think being content would involve an ebb and flow between
predictability and shifting attention / awareness to change the level of
abstraction. If reality and expectations did agree, it seems to imply a
static equilibrium (stillness). Can there be contented stillness, or
must we always be in a process of becoming? Total stillness seems to me
like a lack, not contentment.

So is meditation an antidote as an acceptance of (drive toward)
stillness, or an acceptance of the inherent constant flux of thought
where stillness is impossible?

You write of fantasy:
> I would place fantasy in direct opposition to meditation. In 
> meditation I let go of thoughts, desires, and qualifications such as
>  positive and negative. In fantasy I follow desire and creatively 
> pursue further desire through imagination.

Is there such a thing as a sequence of imagined events that we are
detached from and also require intentional control? I imagine some sort
of very technical imagery, like rotating complex shapes, or imagining
mathematical forms. I was thinking of these experiences as within
fantasy, but you are right that fantasy certainly is linked with desire.
It seems we have one dimension in the continuum between control and mind
wandering and another dimension between attachment and detachment.
Fantasy could be between control and mind wandering, but involve a high
degree of attachment.

Regarding bodily processes and mediation, you write:
> During meditation one should be attuned to the positioning and 
> sensations of the body. This kind of grounding seems to have an 
> effect against day dreaming, by remaining in the present moment. I
> think boredom is often the instance of a simultaneous lack of mental
> and physical stimulation.

What does one attend to when they meditate? I think of it as attending
to awareness itself. Attending to the process of attending does seem
difficult to jump into; perhaps the bodily processes allow an entry
point to focus on the bodily self in order to eventually focus on the
sense of self. The focus on the body allows a point of attention that is
not internal simulation nor external world.

Through this discussion I've been thinking about meditation in my daily
experience, and I often come back to balancing. While I am aware of the
outside world, I am in a very very narrow sense of the thing I'm
balancing on. Most of my attention is not on the thing, but on my own
internal sense of balance. Mind wandering seems quite rare in this case,
and although it is a 'task' is a very low level task with no plans.

Is stimulation possible without arousal?


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