The Internet Is Boring

Boring. The whole of the world wide web. You are dead to me, www. I have to be honest, though. It’s not the internet’s fault. There wasn’t a point recently where the quality, quantity, or sheer absurdity of what’s available to me on the web quit engaging like it did in previous days. The internet hasn’t ceased to be interesting; i’ve ceased to be interested in it. That’s a not-so-subtle shift, and one that i’m sure most of you have experienced in your own lives or, if you happen to be perfect (and congrats on that, you superstar), you’ve at least been able to get a grasp of what it’s like through being a faithful reader of this particular blog over a period of, say, six or seven days in a row. That’s about the span of my boredom/inspiration/boredom cycle lately. I’m bored. I’m bored of being bored. You’re probably bored with my boredom.

From a PURELY practical, task-oriented view, there’s no reason for me to be bored. I have a generally fulfilling and occasionally (briefly) monetarily satisfying job doing design work and photography with enough client work lately to keep me busy. I’m at least averagely talented and interested in making music, writing poetry, sketching, and painting. I have a stack of half-read books on every open surface in my house. There are three or four fairly major projects I want to get rolling before year’s end. I have a family I don’t spend nearly enough time with and I have friends I spend ridiculously consistent amounts of time with. I could keep going. There’s so much I can occupy my time with that there’s no practical reason for my boredom.

I suppose that’s the point, in a way. Filling my schedule and my life up with things to occupy my time doesn’t really do anything for curing boredom. The external qualifiers and tasks don’t hit the heart of boredom. They’re more like putting a band-aid on a shark bite. It’s the internal struggle for imagination and creativity and different living that kills boredom. John Piper says:

Imagination may be the hardest, most God-like work of the human mind. It is the closest we get to creation out of nothing. We must conceive something that has never existed before and does not now exist in any human mind. The imagination must exert itself to see something in our mind when it is not there.

And here’s where I just shake my head at the ultimate irony that, as an artist who gets to make his living making art, my imagination is probably more dead than alive on most days. Somewhere along the way, I think i’ve stopped imagining things that aren’t and become all-too-comfortable accepting things that are and, perhaps worse, welcoming them into my life as all there is. And when that happens, there’s nothing left in my life to make me want to live it. When I begin to believe my situation and my thoughts and my half-interested heart are the end of the road boredom and the ensuing apathetic way of walking through life that always follows it kill any attempt to imagine anything. Again, Piper:

…here at the end of the twentieth century, a culture of apathy and boredom has taken deep root in America. This is different from fear… this is a cultural yawn… we see the attempt of a culture to find excitement and adventure and strong feeling in a workaday world that is just plain boring. It’s as if we were made for exploits and adventure and exertion and passion and risk-taking in some great cause, and instead what we do all day is sit in front of a computer or shuffle papers or make deliveries or drive a bus or clean a room or sell a product or shuffle portfolios or prescribe medicines or fix gadgets. Life in the real world seems to fall so far short of what our hearts cry out for that the best we can do is create substitute, artificial exploits… anything to transport us out of the boredom of the real world, and give us a little taste of passion and zeal and daring and energy and strategy and courage… even if it is an artificial world.

…we look like we are having a great time as we go from one entertainment event and program and mall and movie to another, but it is all artificial. We are not excited with real life. We are desperately waiting for the weekend when we can play, because real life is just not connected with any great cause that inspires in us exploits of courage or daring or risk or adventure or strategy or dreaming or deep camaraderie. We wonder why our relationships are so feeble and thin and fragile. And deep down we know that part of the reason is that relationships go deep when arms are linked in a great cause that you are ready to lay down your lives for.

There are a lot of things you could call my recent mental fixation on moving to California. It’s certainly about work, as I want to be in a creative environment where I can learn and gain experience and become better at what I do. But that’s just a practical reason; it’s not driving the mental avalanche of thoughts and responding actions. I think the heart of it has to do with stepping into the next season of my life where i’m living life with people who are united in something that feels like a great cause… something that matters. And that’s here, to an extent, but it’s not for me. What’s here is someone else’s great cause, but it doesn’t move ME. 

California feels like imagination. Creating something out of nothing. Thoughts about moving somewhere that weeks earlier was just a spot on a map and is now becoming a million different scenarios and lives and potentials. And not for the external time-fillers, for something that matters in this season of my life. A great cause and people to live it with. Bring it.