It’s said that money’s the root to all evil but I personally think boredom has one up on the dosh. When people are bored, all sorts of trouble occurs.
Unfortunately, what we’ve created is a society of boredom and THAT, in my opinion, is what needs to be addressed because I really can’t see crime figures falling otherwise.
We think we’re lucky these days because we have all sorts of entertainment laid on for us in order to prevent boredom but the truth is, unless we actually use our imaginations and get out there and do stuff for ourselves, boredom will continue to reign. Computers, Tvs, games consoles and the likes, they all take away a huge part of our ability to be spontaneous and imaginative. I mean, we’re even lured into thinking that social networking sites like ‘Facebook’ and ‘MySpace’ will keep us connected with our friends, when in reality we’d be far better off actually going out and spending quality time with those friends instead of sending them silly, meaningless messages and ‘gifts’ through a website.
When it comes to fashion we’re told that this season we should be wearing this or that. Follow the trends and end up looking like everybody else - how boring is that? It certainly doesn’t take much imagination to dress well when we let others dictate our wardrobes.
Walk through just about any town these days and they’ll all pretty much look the same. Whereas once there was a diversity of small, local shops, these days the majority of shops are part of huge chains and all look the same. W.H. Smith, Woolworths, HMV, McDonalds, Greggs the bakers, New Look, BHS, Domino’s Pizza, Subway, River Island, Evans, and so forth - if you've seen them in one town, you've seen them in them all. They look the same and they sell exactly the same things. Even charity shops have a ‘corporate identity’ these days.
Any large town has its share of housing estates where each house is exactly like the next - if you've seen one Barrett's home you've seen all of those too! What's worse, these days even the front gardens are less likely to have individual flair because boundry markers in the form of low fences and hedges are often banned on new estates. Open plan is the 'in thing' with just a patch of lawn and a driveway, each and every one of them pretty much the same. When it comes to interiors we're told which colours we should decorate with this year in order to be 'hip' and appear 'successful'. How boring and unimaginative!
A huge percentage of our jobs are automated to the point where we perform them in an almost robotic like manner, from the check-out people at Tesco and those working on factory production lines to the ‘cooks’ at McDonalds and those working in call centres. Mind numbing work that leaves us looking elsewhere for ‘happiness’, usually by spending the money we’ve earned through the work that caused our boredom in the first place.
When people are bored, they have a greater tendency to do anything to break the monotony, whether it’s something relatively innocent like throwing paper balls at their fellow workmates or something far worse, like turning to drugs and alcohol or hanging about on street corners looking for ‘a laugh’, although often their idea of a laugh is at the expense of somebody else. Violence often stems from boredom, too.
We don’t even really need to think that much anymore. We’re governed by countless rules and regulations that do our thinking for us, leaving us without the need for personal responsibility through common sense.
I know how I've felt when I've been bored, because even though I think I'm pretty good at avoiding boredom, there are some situations that just cannot be escaped. Like being left in a miserable waiting room, totally alone with nothing to do for absolutely ages at the hospital! What a way to help people get better! I've wanted to throw something, jump on something, scream, rip something.... anything to make whatever I'm doing a little less tedious. I'm sure you've felt the same way, too.
I don’t have all the answers to the problem but I do believe that people need a greater sense of personal worth, to have diversity, responsibility and spontaneity brought back into their lives and to build a stronger sense of community, otherwise boredom and the problems associated with it will never go away.