Ideas

The Tedium is the Message

It's never been easier to banish the feeling of boredom — at least for a moment. But some fear our weapons of mass distraction could lead to an epidemic of ennui and ADD. Contributor Peter Mitton examines boredom and discovers a little-understood universal state of mind.

From its evolutionary origins to how it's shaping our future, boredom is anything but dull.

It's never been easier to banish the feeling of boredom — at least for a moment. But some fear our weapons of mass distraction could lead to an epidemic of ennui and ADD. (exopixel / Shutterstock)
Listen to the full episode53:59

 **This episode was originally broadcast November 22, 2016.

No one escapes boredom. Though for such a universal emotion, science is only beginning to pay attention to what's really happening inside us when we are bored, and what it means. 

Boredom is really about that connection between me and the world. But when we're bored we're disengaged. That connection between us and the world breaks down. – John Eastwood

As a society, we have zero tolerance for the emotion. Possibly to our own detriment.

We  are spending too much time trying to get rid of boredom, swiping and scrolling every moment of the boredom or tedium that their can possibly be, and yet, in doing so we're actually becoming more bored as a nation. – Sandi Mann

There are different ideas about just where our war on boredom may be leading us, who and what the casualties may be. Also up for debate, is whether adding little, or even a lot more boredom to our mental diet could be just the thing for our addled age.  

Contributor Peter Mitton examines boredom in his documentary, The Tedium is the Message and discovers a little-understood universal state of mind.  

Guests in this episode: (in order of appearance):



**This episode was produced by Nicola Luksic with support from CBC Radio's Doc Project