The word doesn’t begin to appear in dictionaries until the late 1850’s, and it was first used to describe the influence of industrialization, mechanisms, and technology. Boredom is our problem, exacerbated by the experience of connectivity.
Boredom has three uses: weariness with repetition, leisure time, and alienation resulting from impersonal social existence (a Marxist idea, but still an idea – http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj79/cox.htm). It’s most closely associated with early adulthood – from high school to early college years, and then it reappears in mid-life crises. And it is most often described as a dissatisfaction with life (as in, the quality of life), Boredom is what we call the feeling that something is missing or we’re missing something.
And boredom is cool… sort of… if you think about it…
David Foster Wallace
When David Foster Wallace wrote about
boredom, he did so in a tedious way – shaking an
angry fist at the storm as it roared around,
daring to be consumed, defiant enough to breathe
in the air of monotony and exhaling the
excitement of crafting a three-page sentence;
immune to tedium but not unawares,
certain it would be unpublishable except for the
reason that he was David Foster Wallace.
The word is new,
a product of the industrial revolution,
to capture monotony and
which would rule us with reasons to
bemoan our own
passivity, daring others to
divert us with things we’re told
are meaningful, convinced
by others to desire,
and the greatest loss is the will to
choose for ourselves
what will be loved
in the new melancholy of boredom.