In Praise of Boredom

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Boredom is what the Internet exists, in part, to cure. Boredom is to be avoided at all costs--except, apparently if you are Colin Bisset.

"I have always fancied," writes the aesthete in Philosophy Now, "being bored on a huge and stylish scale." To clarify:

I'm talking Great Gatsby boredom, with everyone lying around in white clothes and floppy hats, sipping long drinks with cooling names, and being utterly and divinely bored. How sophisticated can one get, goes my thinking, that even when surrounded by the best things in life, it's not enough? Boredom wins through.

Bisset explains that the real attraction of boredom doesn't lie in marble halls but rather a certain artistic feeling of in-betweenness: "Perfect boredom is the enjoyment of the moment of stasis that comes between slowing down and speeding up--like sitting at a traffic light for a particularly long time. It's at the cusp of action, because however enjoyable it may be, boredom is really not a long-term aspiration."

In other words, there's bad boredom and good boredom. Being chronically bored at work is bad. But holding the demands of the world at arm's length by watching "old episodes of The West Wing" or "lying on the sofa ... deciding whether to have poached or scrambled eggs for lunch" while posing as a "genius on the cusp of a plot breakthrough"--that is sublime. Relish it without guilt, orders the deliciously self-mocking Bisset. "Eventually you will step out into the brave new world."

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