[-empyre-] Welcome to May: Boredom: Labor, Use and Time

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Fri May 15 13:48:31 AEST 2015


In your conception of boredom, are passivity, meditation and boredom
May boredom be a necessary in an ulterior process?


On Thu, May 14, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Lyn Goeringer <lyn.goeringer at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Happy to join in!
> Ben, you asked for a definition on how I might define boredom. That's
> tricky of course (it seems we are all circling a few potential definitions
> here, myself included.) Perhaps a bit abstractly, I think of boredom as
> lack with stillness- desire for something other than what one is engaged
> with, and an inability (that may or may not be temporary) to consciously
> initiate a change that might alleviate the discomfort. I am not thinking
> about physical stillness here- I am thinking perhaps more about static
> modes- things that do not change, or that are highly repetitive, or perhaps
> even empty. If I were to connect this idea to analogs in artistic practice,
> I immediately think of Andy Warhol's Empire. We are presented with a very
> long film comprised of one image that we look at. To watch it straight
> through, where it is seemingly unchanging, we are presented with a
> meditation on an object. That may be interesting to some, but for many, it
> becomes boring. It is boring because it does not adhere to cinematic
> structures, it is boring because "nothing happens". It is in this
> expectation that we find ourselves wrestling with the sensations of boredom
> (lack of stimulus, hope for something else, and a mind resting in a place
> where we are uncomfortable because nothing is changing).
> When I start to think about what I called the 'lack cycle', I was thinking
> a bit about how boredom is self feeding/self perpetuating.
> When I used the word antidote, I was (somewhat sloppily) falling into
> Buddhist jargon. There is the notion of the five poisons that interfere
> with the path to enlightenment, and each of these poisons affects practice
> in different ways. the five poisons are: ignorance, desire-attachment (an
> attachment to desire), anger/hatred, pride, and jealousy. When teaching
> meditation, it is within the combination of ignorance and attachment to
> desire that boredom arises. It is ignorance, because we have forgotten the
> directions on how to meditate, and we have lost our knowledge of the
> process, and it is deeply intrenched in the desire-attachment relationship
> because we are approaching the practice through a lens of expectation.
> Boredom must be overcome, but, it is a continual cycle because it can and
> will arise again. and again. and again.
> This relates to what I coined the 'lack cycle' because we return to it
> over and over again. With each stage of development we return to deal with
> our expectations within that development, and our lack of obtainment, and
> cyclically return to this place of expectation.
> -lg
> On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 2:06 PM, B. Bogart <ben at ekran.org> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Thanks for jumping in Lyn!
>> You write: "...in anticipation, it requires a moment where expectation
>> of an event is delayed beyond our expectations."
>> In the framework I'm thinking through in this discussion (where boredom
>> is the state when the external world appears to match our predictions
>> and offers no surprise, at some level of description and arousal is the
>> state where the external world violates our predictions) then it seems
>> anticipation is a prediction where the predicted event is desired.
>> The notion of delay is interesting here. We continue to expect the event
>> to occur, but it does not (immediately) and yet we continue to expect
>> it. It seems anticipation is an edge between perceiving signals
>> indicating our prediction is correct, and yet does not immediately
>> materialize. There also seems to be some degree of abstraction involved
>> here, not just expecting that an event will occur, but that it will
>> occur within a particular period of time.
>> I would expect that focusing away from the signals that reinforce our
>> prediction (mind wandering during anticipation) would reduce the
>> investment in the desired event. I think anticipation then would depend
>> on continuously expecting and fantasizing the desired event.
>> I'd like to get a little deeper into this idea of lack and boredom. In
>> the framework above, boredom is independent of the value we attach to
>> events that occur or not. We are bored when we are simply not
>> experiencing anything beyond our expectations. Perhaps lack is related
>> to abstraction. At a high level of abstraction everything is
>> predictable, while a low level of abstraction makes everything novel and
>> unpredictable. It seems we could think of lack as a shift towards higher
>> level abstractions where more and more becomes predictable because of
>> the lack of attention to details.
>> Later you write:
>> > meditation sometimes is applied to overcome need, to overcome lack,
>> > to overcome desire. (In buddhism, desire is linked to the root of all
>> > suffering). If we were to apply meditative practices as an antidote
>> > to boredom, we find a different problem, particularly as boredom is a
>> > primary obstacle in overcoming itself. I think if this very
>> > abstractly as a lack cycle.
>> I can see how meditation removes the values we attach to events,
>> thoughts, etc. but if we consider boredom as a state where reality and
>> exceptions agree, then it seems meditation would be an acceptance,
>> rather than 'antidote' to boredom. How would you define boredom?
>> I can imagine that meditative focus on self-control and detachment to
>> predictions could be an antidote to lack. This could be manifest by
>> shifting the level of abstraction in other other direction; moving
>> attention to smaller and smaller details that emphasize the uniqueness
>> of each moment and each individual.
>> Lyn, could you elaborate on this notion of a "lack cycle"?
>> Thanks again Lyn; I really appreciate your comments, and I think this
>> link with meditation brings the discussion to some interesting territory.
>> Ben
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