It has come back to bite him in the ass. And the brain. And the chest. And the heart. And deep down in the penetralias of his soul. This is the thing about boredom. It is not a superficial thing. It may begin that way but as time moves on it goes deeper and deeper. Once boredom is in deep it is almost impossible to eradicate. It gradually ruins a person’s entire life. To eradicate boredom will require either complete self-destruction or obedient self-renunciation. Anything in between just will not work. He has tried.
It has come back to bite him in the ass and the brain and the chest and the heart and deep down in the penetralias of his soul because he never used to suffer boredom’s bite. He was free of boredom and would tell people that if they were bored it was only because they were boring people. Or he would quote the poet Rilke and say that, “If you are bored it is because you are not being poet enough.” He never had gratitude for the fact that he was not bored. He never appreciated not being bored. He just assumed that boredom was a failure of the human spirit and he had not, nor would he ever fail in that way. He was an artist, a writer, a reader and enjoyed going out and having all sorts of interesting experiences. How could he ever be bored? It would not happen to him. Boredom could only infect those who have conformed and given in.
Now many years later he is bored all the time. His boredom may lighten its weight from time to time but it is always present. It is always something he is having to push against. How did this happen? He will try and understand what brought it on in the hopes that he can return it back to where it came. He cannot locate a single point from where it began but he knows it began to germinate when he moved to a suburb where he knows no one, bought a house, started a business and settled in. But how could this be? He loves his home and his wife. He has a nice and peaceful life. He makes decent money, he has a lot of debt to pay, he owns nice things, he has a working fireplace, he is relatively healthy. It is the American Dream right? But he does not like his line of work (even though he feels guilty about not being more grateful for it) or the community where he lives (even though he feels guilty about not being more grateful for it) but how can not liking these things be affecting him so deeply? His daily practice of making art and writing has dissipated. He has no engaging conversations with anyone. He has no friends. He spends a lot of his time cleaning his house. His work is painfully dull and routine. The suburb where he lives is dull. There is no place for him to go outside of his home so he spends most of his free time stuck in his home. Even a beautiful home can become a prison if you spend too much time there.
The problem with boredom is that it generates more of itself. Like cancer, boredom rapidly multiplies until its host is left feeling empty inside. This is the problem with boredom and battling it with alcohol, drugs or marijuana only works for a very brief duration. Naturally one thinks, “Well, just read or listen to records or watch a good film or have an orgy or go into the city and you will not be bored anymore. Just do something! Only boring people are bored.” The thing about boredom is that when left untreated, when allowed to just sit there, it will eventually thaw a person out. It will cause the individual to rot away from the inside out until little life is left on the inside of them. Decomposition and decay often happens way before a person physically dies. Boredom can kill a person while still alive. The bored person loses interest in everything. Even when the bored person does read, listen to records, goes to an orgy, goes into the city, makes art or watches good films- they still feel flat inside.
Boredom is a terrible affliction. In Antiquity doctors referred to boredom as an untreatable disease. They recommended that the patient engage in intensive prayer and deep breathing not to cure the patient but to prevent them from going insane or taking their own life. Only boring people are bored. The problem with this idea is that boredom creates boring people. A person is not born bored. Boredom gradually settles in at some point in a person’s life and then it rapidly multiplies. Boredom feeds on routine and suburbs. These are the places where it grows best. A person who is involved in routine and lives in suburbs must be continually vigilant for the presence of boredom. If they are not vigilant the boredom will settle in and grow, eating away at them from the inside out. Once this process of decomposition begins, it is almost impossible to completely eradicate without engaging in some kind of continual self-destruction or self-renunciation.
He is not able to commit to either of these. Instead he just sits home night after night, trying to involve himself in some kind of book or music. He contemplates engaging in some form of Tibetan self-renunciation but has not been able to do so yet. His sense of self is still too strong and his boredom has prevented him from feeling interested in anything. To his surprise, he has become a rotting animal.