Welcome to The Boredom Project!
Alongside my work at Edinburgh University I’ve set up this blog and community site, dedicated to exploring the ways that religion, social politics, spirituality, and psychology come together – colourfully and controversially – in everyday life, both in the UK and further afield.
However you would describe yourself – humanist, religious, spiritual, agnostic, atheist, anti-religious – the chances are you’ll have a view about some of these things, and we would very much like to hear it.
A lot of academic discussion goes on in all these areas, but most people don’t get to hear about it, wouldn’t know where to start looking for it, or assume it’s not aimed at them – even though the chances are they’re paying for it to happen. So now and again I’ll look at some of the latest big ideas, and some important people around both now and in the past, with book/film and other suggestions for people who want to know more.
So why am I calling it ‘The Boredom Project’? Well a ‘boredom project’ usually means something you do because you have nothing better, busier, or more consequential going on. Defining boredom like this perhaps says something rather interesting about us – that we fear the absence of entertainment or ‘constructive’ activity, and that we try to avoid that absence at all costs.
But poets, philosophers, and scientists from all around the world have suggested there’s something more to ‘boredom': that by doing without noise, chatter, and even blogs now and again we give ourselves the chance to pass through a layer of boredom into something else, gradually finding a vividness to life that our minds otherwise filter out.
Whether or not you think there’s something in this alternative view, TBP wants now and again to challenge the normal notion of ‘boredom’ – asking why we look at the world this way, who taught us to do it, and in whose interests is it, really…
Cricket, darts, or synchronized swimming – now that’s boredom; but letting go, just now and again, of the compulsion to ruminate, do, achieve – that might turn up something surprising. Who knows?