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Dare to Dabble in the Sea of Boredom

Many view boredom as a prison cell, utterly inescapable and confining, even oppressive and suffocating as the rusty silver bars seem to squeeze in closer and closer, tightening and locking out productivity and positivity, isolating the individual. Instead, view it as an open door, as the most inviting of coffee shops, in which sits a crackling fire and cashmere rug below a seductive jar of cookies next to smoldering tea as rain reigns outside, threatening the tin roof. Boredom is not a punishment, but an invitation to create.

By boredom, I mean silence. Silence has long shriveled in the trash can, suffering from low self-esteem as humanity progressively seeks productivity, business and NOISE, RACKET and HULLABALOO. By ridding our lives of silence, we reject its beautiful best friends: creativity, pensive thought trains, a profundity of passion and a hungering curiosity.

When last did you not reach for your smartphone when waiting in line at Starbucks? Did you drive without music, imbibing the hum of your car and retracing the noisy footsteps of running thoughts? Did you not plug in ear buds between classes? Did you not turn on the TV during study breaks? Boredom occupies space number one on the endangered species list, and its demise gives birth to the roaring, needful hunger for instant gratification.

For so long, daydreaming has been cast out as lack of interest, as a waste of time and menacing unfruitfulness. By degrading and quelling daydreaming, we slaughter an opportunity for creativity. According to Edward Collier of “The Guardian,” humans are rather self-sufficient. When bored, we know how to problem-solve. Accept boredom. Watch your thoughts bloom like a velvety green vine consumes a red-brick house, flinging dandy kitten-nose pink blossoms left and right as the fruit of imagination.

Productivity limits. Our electronics, books, movies, music, jobs, and so on cage our minds and prevent flight to other beautiful, far off worlds. The ability to self-entertain becomes forlorn. We grow complacent with this surreptitiously manipulative entertainment and forget to hunger, to seek, to crave. Knowledge is the offspring of curiosity. Without curiosity, our intelligence matches the objects that gratify us. We know no more than our favorite TV shows, no more than the answers to online trivia games. It’s like living on the surface of the ocean and never diving deeper to see the colorful lives of sea creatures. Without curiosity and knowledge, we drown in stagnation, subduing our ravenous, voluptuous hot-air balloon minds that seek to soar and unearth with a desperation more enduring than fire.

Philosopher Criss Jami claims, “Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out.” The steel prison cell bars do not lock you in; they lock out everyone else, leaving you free to hop on a plentiful variety of malleable, luxurious thought trains; the kind with plush velvety cushions that turn into horsebacks, hot chocolate with excessive marshmallows that convert to diamonds, and an expansive array of black-spotted Aspen trees outside that change colors. A magical world under your control. Pursue your creativity.

Latin literature tends to recognize the value of creativity. Jorge Luis Borges created magical realism, a genre in which protagonists invent fake, pleasurable worlds to escape torturous circumstances, and the reader must distinguish between reality and imagination. Juan Ramón Jiménez, 1956 Nobel Prize winner, cherishes in his works the creative ability of children, who eventually relinquish that hopeful capacity upon the realization that life is neither fair nor easy. Why is it that we value productivity more than creativity, often even more than self-worth?

Take some me-time. Sit at a park bench and ponder the lives of passerbies, whether the skinny man with dreads and holes in his shirt is a cat or a dog person, whether the grass tires of holding up the world, in which games animals engage in when humans retire at night. Pursue curiosity, make yourself laugh, enjoy the secret, whimsical destinations at the tips of your thoughts. Shape the intangible world.

Travel the trains of your mind, relish your inner channels, more numerous than those provided by a TV service, and dance to your own song, which is more varied, mythical and unique than anything sung by even the Beatles. Smother ennui and throw the dust to the wind.

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