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"No one is allowed to get bored."

Posted by
Herbert Purganan (Seattle, United States) on 6 December 2010 in Art & Design.

My friend told me this in my dream last night. In the dream, it was afternoon and summer heat was at its peak. The land was mirroring the red brilliance of the sun, the air was stagnant, my face sweating, everything entirely dedicated to inducing boredom. I was hanging around at a miscellaneous commercial pavilion sitting on a settee having inaudible conversations, yet I heard the phrase of which this entry is entitled and it struck me.

Last week, I reread "The Stranger" by Albert Camus. This time I gathered several new point of views about life that I didn't previously realize from that novel. I think this might have been the prelude for that dream.

In the novel, Meursault was visited by a Chaplin who tried to convince him to accept "God" before his execution. Meursault, the everyman, rejects the offer and continues to face his death decreed by law in continuous meaninglessness.

In contrast to life, we continuously face our misfortunes and death all decreed by nature, every second and every inch we move forward in space and time. There's no way around it. Meaningless existence is what life is, but that is what gives people the idea of having responsibilities in order to live fully. The entire universal system happens in accidental contingency, and the unfair part is, we exist in accidental contingency therefore the need to assume responsibility is inevitable. Every day we tell nature “no” when it offers us eternity. We can say “no” for a while, but the time will come when we have to say “yes”.

I can juxtapose my own existential difficulty to Meursault when he rejects the offer of meaningfulness under the metaphor of “God” which was offered to him by the Chaplin. I am somehow under the impression that life should be a straight street with no right or left turns upon observation of those who seem to have the world under a string. Boredom makes its entrance in the midst of a highway hypnosis on this same street travelled by every human being. To incur a boredom is the rejection of responsibility, which in “The Stranger” is an utmost crime against existence.

I think the lesson here is, let’s not take for granted the minute and grand details that embellish our lives. Everything counts even if it’s temporary, because we ourselves are temporary. Boredom is the seed of acedia, and life is too precious to be surrendered to that. Take as many rest stops on your trip in this life, capture the scenery, smell the fresh air, gaze at the stars, take the wrong turn, learn from it, park your car, walk to the beach, run once in awhile, meet other travelers and listen to their stories when you’ve told them yours.

NIKON D90 1/25 second F/4.5 ISO 400 60 mm (35mm equiv.)

1/25 second
ISO 400
60 mm (35mm equiv.)