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Give Boredom a Chance
Hey beautiful people,
I am going to be taking a break from my philosophical coaching practice for the rest of the summer, possibly returning in September. I am open to doing a few sessions throughout the summer, however, so if you have an “existential knot” that needs some untying, reply to one of my letters and we’ll try to find a time. In the meantime, I will be doing more experiments during the summer, like this one …
If the next Buddha is the Sangha, perhaps the next Socrates is The Stoa. Join us in this experimental psychotechnology where we will collectively inquire into what is most alive. Bring your existential knots. This session will not be recorded. You can RSVP here:
Collective Inquiry w/ Peter Limberg. May 26th @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Collective Journaling. Daily @ 8:00 AM ET. Patreon event. 90 mins.
Collective Presencing. Every Friday @ 8:00 AM ET. RSVP here. 90 mins.
Collective Presencing. Every Friday @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here. 90 mins.
May 19th, 2022
Is wisdom boring?
I was watching Žižek dunk on wisdom the other day. He was in good Žižekian form ...
Wisdom is the most disgusting thing you can imagine. Wisdom is the most conformist thing you can imagine. Whatever you do a wise man will come and justify it.
He seems to be dunking more on “wisdom signaling” than actual wisdom. Wisdom signaling - like its virtue signaling cousin - is a “wise man” sharing propositional truth claims in such a way that creates the impression they are super deep. Wisdom signaling is fucking boring. I have probably dropped my share of wisdom signals in these journals, perhaps why this bodymind is getting bored of its self these days.
Wisdom itself does not seem boring, just peaceful. The people I know who have dedicated their lives to wisdom seem to be at peace. I have this unconscious nagging sense that being at peace is boring though. For some reason I woke up feeling pretty peaceful this morning and I cannot tell if I am bored or not. Am I afraid to be bored? I think so.
What is boredom anyway? I was cohering on a definition during my discursive meditation the other day and here is what emerged: boredom is a lack of interest in one’s surroundings, often coupled with a half-hearted choice to be in said surroundings. I usually get judgy when people talk about how they are bored and have enjoyed dropping this provocative line when someone expresses their boredom: If you are bored you are boring.
Am I afraid of being bored because I might be boring to others? Perhaps. If I am boring, others might not like me, love me, come to The Stoa and play with me... blah, blah, blah. I am so bored of this intrapersonal “people will lose interest in me” script. It is not packing much of an emotional punch for me these days. It kind of feels like it is ready to burn away, with this journal entry serving as the match.
This sense of peace I am feeling right now does have a zero fucks quality about it, giving me some distance to see this script more clearly. The reactive move I do when I fear I am boring is to attempt to be interesting. Super interesting. Like “supernormal stimulus” interesting. I force myself to go balls-to-the-wall thumos, doing exciting things, writing exciting thoughts, having exciting conversations. I feel this pressure now, and yeah, it feels exciting. I do not really want to be exciting right now though. I want to try the whole “give peace a chance” thing instead.
I had a related insight hanging with A.J. Bond on Friday. This was the first time A.J. and I hung out in person for almost two years, and what I really like about A.J. is that he is really good at presencing the subtlest social dynamics at play. When we met we started engaging in small talk, quickly pausing to do “check-ins,” which is a part of the vernacular of Circling and other intersubjective scenes, describing the process of sharing what is emotionally alive with one’s bodymind. He was compelled to do check-ins because he wanted to honor the pressure he was feeling to make our encounter meaningful and not to engage in boring small talk. And it was meaningful. We had a great and intense conversation that led to a bunch of insights.
One insight that emerged for me after we hung out was related to the pressure to make an encounter meaningful. I realized this: I not only have this pressure to make meaningful encounters with Stoans like A.J., but I have this pressure with everyone. I want to have transformative, mind-blowing, and insight-orgasmic encounters all the time. I am greedy for them. I find myself getting bored quickly now if anything that falls short of this.
Has engaging in super heartfelt and philosophically deep conversations on a daily basis in my philosophical coaching practice spoiled me? I am totally hungry for every encounter to have some meaningful intensity. This pressure is exhausting though. Being oriented toward meaningful connections, while having the capacity to invoke them, does seem like a good thing, but there also seems to be some shadow here.
I am actually not convinced that it is wise to attempt meaningfulness via a conversation at all times. The social container, the timing of the interaction, or the personal capacities at play might not be conducive for super meaningful conversations to emerge. I sense my shadow here has something to do with this: I want people to love me and to guarantee that I need to be someone that invokes some delicious 24/7 meaning.
I do sense this pressure to have super meaningful conversations is a subset of the pressure to be exciting more generally. I am ready to let this shit go. I am ready to give boredom a chance, which is probably the same thing as being ready to give wisdom a chance.
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