Recently I heard a radio story about experiments in boredom. The premise was astounding to me. Two reporters were to begin the bold experiment (could such a thing be possible?) of turning off the cell phone and stowing it away for twenty minutes at a time. To experience boredom. Because not being on the phone is equated with being bored.
Really? Is this real? The word one should use to describe not being plugged in to continuous texting-gaming-digital-socializing is “boredom?”
Whatever hours I find to be unplugged and quiet are cherished. It’s when I am most creative and productive. Working in quiet allows rhythms and patterns to merge in my thoughts and in my artmaking. In the same way that brain-while-sleeping is creating and rearranging through dreams and memory storage, it feels like my brain-while-awake-but-quiet operates on a different level than when I am plugged in and distracted.
To me, it’s absolutely essential. And I believe this may be one of the great offerings artists can give to the rest of the world. I know that all artists don’t go about their creative work in the same way. But all of us incorporate some conscious time of creating and dreaming as a stage of our work. It’s not useless unfilled time. It’s at the core of the work.
I was not surprised that the radio reporters found that they liked their “boredom.” One rode the subway, observing and wondering about at the people around her. One unplugged while walking several blocks to an appointment and experienced the sounds and sensations of his own body in motion.
It sounds to me like the beginning of creativity, the genesis of art.