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Why you shouldn’t trust boredom | Kevin H. Gary

Kevin H. Gary | Cambridge University Press, 2022 | Book

Boredom is an enduring problem that we tend to respond to in one of two ways. First and foremost, we seek to avoid it, embracing what Walker Percy describes as a “boredom avoidance scheme,” keeping ourselves constantly amused. If this strategy fails, we resign ourselves to it, accepting boring situations as an inevitable part of life. Both strategies avoid serious reflection on this universal and troubling state of mind. Steering clear of the extremes of avoidance or resignation, Gary charts a middle way, guiding readers in how to discover internal resources that equip them to find worthwhile activities and practices to transform boredom into a more productive state of mind.

Josef Pieper | Ignatian Press, 2009 | Book

This classic text by Pieper examines what true leisure consists of and why we often miss out on it even when it is within reach.

Abraham Joshua Heschel | Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 2005 | Book

In The Sabbath, Heschel beautifully illuminates how to practice leisure that restores the soul and imbues.

Kevin H. Gary | Comment, 2023 | Article

This article explores the following question: Are we busy and overstimulated because we’re bored, or are we bored because we’re busy and overstimulated?

Kevin H. Gary | Goshen College, 2013 | Article

This essay considers what is overlooked and lost in the commonsensical wisdom that teachers and students should avoid boredom at all costs. It also calls into question the assumption that boredom is primarily an external problem, contending rather that boredom is fundamentally a problem with the self.

Harold Ramis | IMBd, 1993 | Watch

This classic film illuminates the problem of existential or profound boredom and how one can take measures to address it. The bored mind is not simply a passive or objective condition but the result of a willed volition — a willful inattention to certain possibilities at hand.


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