Counting Electric Sockets

Conference Focus on
Excitement of Boredom

Now here’s a gathering of like-minded people like no other: a day-long conference titled Boring 2010. Sorry, you’ve already missed it by a few weeks, but it was so successful its organizers plan to hold another one later this year.
Topics as riveting as “Listening to Paint Dry” to “The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs” to “My Relationship with Bus Routes” were followed attentively by the audience, when it was not nodding or eating energy bars to remain awake.
The conference was a hit but the fact that it was freezing in London that afternoon didn’t hurt it either. As people seemed enraptured by a PowerPoint presentation on someone’s tie collection, for example, or a sophisticated milk tasting, an underlying sentiment about the proceedings calmly settled in.
In these days of hyper stimulation, people will do almost anything to get into a room and simply not having to respond to any outside stimuli. Sleep used to fulfill such a premise but somehow it’s no longer enough. Philosophers, of course, will disagree.
For some, the feeling of being bored is essential to the creative mind, and it usually registers at times when the mind becomes part of the surrounding reality, however internal it may be. There’s no engagement, just the act of experiencing a sense of wholeness with the world.
And before we get booed from this room, it’s a fact that the mind stops active thinking at crucial moments of physical or contemplative action. Of course, there’s still plenty of jerks and spoiled brats who’d rather project an aura of boredom just to make you feel like a loser. But fortunately, they’re not interested in philosophy. Or conferences such as this one.

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