Do we need boredom in order to be creative?

Do we need boredom in order to learn?

Recently, I took part in a journal club exploring a paper regarding boredom in the lecture theater – warning us from the destructive nature of boredom.

However, during the journal club we began discussing a possibility of boredom being an integral, and at times crucial, part of successful learning. One associate professor even suggested (naturally, while supporting his stand with the appropriate literature) that one cannot reach a state of enlightenment without reaching a state of “profound boredom”.

A similar stand was taken in this article (written by Scott Adams, creator of the cartoon show “Dilbert”) asking people to find time to be bored for the sake of creativity (and therefore – the world…). 

Personally, I can’t say I get bored very often. Actually, it only takes a few seconds before I already start doing something else that interests me. Even when I stare out the window “vacantly” it’s not because I’m bored, it’s because I’m thinking or reflecting (and that, to me, is interesting). 

I think that “boredom” takes different forms, and I’m not sure I agree with either the paper nor the article regarding its role in our lives. I don’t see it as an “enlightenment inducer”, as a “learning terminator” or as a “creativity generator”.

A person who has a need to express his/her creativity will do so regardless of being bored of something else. Growing up, I have always preferred concentrating on my creative projects rather than listening to class. I did so, not necessarily because the class was boring, but because I found my projects to be more interesting.

This leads me to the conclusion that sometimes people refer to boredom as the list favorable/interesting option they can think of. If that was the only option they had – I’m not sure if they would have regarded it as being boring at all.


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