Boredom & Purpose

We’re bored. Collectively. It is a nice thing to be conscious, because we can be aware of this boredom, and furthermore correct it. The awareness that “nothing is being done which resonates with me as an individual” — we cannot stand this. Typically, we turn to family, friends, culture, sex, entertainment or whatever it is that satisfies this individual boredom. Some may turn to work, some may turn to creative endeavors, some may converse and some may internally meditate. All temporary answers to a very real question — we are conscious, and thus, bored.

There is a desire, it would seem then, to alleviate this boredom. During peak experiences in your life, boredom is the farthest thing from your mind, and this is because in these moments, you are fulfilling a purpose. Purpose is the antidote to boredom, and excitement stems from a fulfilling of said purpose. We’re bored, because we are conscious that we have unrealized potential that could be channeled towards a purpose.

However, just as boredom comes and goes so does that which alleviates it. You can play a videogame and enter a world where your purpose becomes scaled down to singular objectives and tasks. You can work in a career with stepping stones and promotions and an entire system suggesting a greater purpose. You can write the great American Novel, every chapter, every sentence, every word defining a thought — each seemingly reaching a greater plane. Something beyond.

All these things are temporary solutions. All fades. Purpose can be realized. The problem is not with boredom — the problem is with purpose. Boredom is completely natural, and is an instant reality check into one’s personal situation — a mental inventory for one’s greater well-being. Boredom is alleviated through purpose, and purpose is defined through the individual.

Purpose is not an infinite concept, and is very much defined through human perception. This limitation suggests that there will always be an end to your chosen purpose, and thus, a point where you find yourself bored once more. The moment you become boss, the moment you finish directing your debut feature film — all of these are but peaks upon an ever-rising mountain-range of illusionary achievement. We fulfill our boredom by creating systems of purpose which we can dedicate ourselves towards, and we care not if these purposes can be fulfilled in our lifetime. In fact, we strive to find purposes that can be completed before our death, and this explains why we so frequently run into boredom.

“The meaning of life”, is almost entirely subjective. There is, however, one objective aspect that anyone can observe, and that is whether one is bored or engaged in purpose. Someone can dictate their meaning for life, but in those quieter moments of contemplation, in the midst of exciting personal success, there are certainly moments of “blah” suggesting something lacking.

This is the ultimate guilt of conscious awareness. The minute we achieve something is the same minute we find ourselves in the same place we were prior to said achievement — once more with unrealized potential, bored and lost in the in-betweens of our lives. Instinctually, it would seem that the only lasting, eternal purpose would be that which is dedicated to the human species as a whole — this is where the concept of a family comes into play as being the only thing that can ever truly matter to us as bored, individual, conscious humans.

While it is nice to conceptualize the idea of grand human progression through microcosmic action, it is not enough to satisfy the immediate ego. The individual ego is always bored unless it is engaged in distinctive, macrocosmic purpose. Just as the greatest philosophers live by example, the greatest humans live through their succeeding sons and daughters. Those who struggle for the human collective and greater good are doing so for future generations — to provide a safe zone for the youth to contemplate the absolute nothing.

There is never an answer to boredom. To be completely free from such a thing is to be dead. Purpose drives us each and every single day, to the point where we as a species can sit around the collective fire, contemplating life and all within. Contemplating our actions, reflecting upon mistakes, attempting to allow our future selves (our children) to be gifted with the wisdom of said mistakes — and maybe someday we’ll get to a place where all that wisdom is truly, genuinely applied. This is the only eternal purpose we should strive for — that day during which, after a long day’s work, our children look up to the stars, speechless as their boredom has long-since been replaced by awesome purpose. Each star, reflecting a possibility. This is all that will ever relieve our inherent boredom — the idea that tomorrow, there will be a world, and that in that world our children will flourish and prosper. Each child — a complete realization of human achievement.

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7 thoughts on “Boredom & Purpose

  1. It’s interesting that you’ve come to a similar conclusion as (one) of my conclusions after contemplating life’s “meaningless” – namely that the only purpose is to carry on the human race. Ultimately working to achieve goals for a constant conceptual “world of the future.” In a way, this human instinct is a beautiful display of compassion.

    I need to write an entry about a different conclusion I’ve come to, which I’ve termed “hedonistic nihilism” …which sounds pretty bad on the surface, but that’s why I need to write about it in detail haha.

  2. Hm. Individual purpose means very little except on the individual basis. The sum of the individual purposes is the collective purpose… Which is nothing or everything. Personally, I find ‘purpose’ and ‘intention’ to be quite irrelevant; What happens, happens. What is, is. What will be, will be. it matters not the reason why or why not. The important part is rationalizing what IS.

    • I think though, that what happens depends upon purpose and intention (which is all individual). I think my post was trying to grapple with the very subjective question “Why do we (as a species, repeatedly) find ourselves bored?”, objectively. I think purpose can be found, to some extent/form, in just about every person (…and everything).

      • Part of the problem is due to technology (in the more wealthy countries.) it is so easy to survive without having to do or think much about it. We feel like we need a higher purpose to be here cause we have no problem fullfilling our basic nature given purpose. It makes complete sense to me in this case that we would feel bored with ourselves. Ofcourse we are. We’ve got nothining to work for.

        It is quite depressing if too much time is spend dwelling on this subject because it’s something people will never know for sure.

      • I think that our forefathers and ancestors would be proud to know that we’ve reached a level where survival is no longer an issue and, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we are now focused on self-actualizing, as a human species. What is the point of perpetual survival if not to eventually reach a comfortable plateau?

  3. Good point! This is exactly the type of article that needs to be shared around the web. Sad on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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