Monday, May 20, 2013

Blame It On Boredom!

Albert Nerenberg 's Boredom: The Documentary Makes its Toronto Premiere Royal May 21st @ 7 pm
Boredom, Nerenberg’s vastly entertaining doc states the superficial obvious with plenty of people propping up his case.  And it’s that boredom is a deleterious thing, a contributor to heart disease and death, an inspiration to mayhem and a condition common to us all.  “Bored to death”.   Who of us has not said they were at one time or another?

Losing his iPhone led Nerenberg to focus on boredom.   He was living what became his thesis.  He felt agitation, irritation, boredom and anger and came to the conclusion that people without their electronic screens suffer, feeling suddenly left out, useless, disconnected, anxious, bored.   And he discovered evidence that supported the feeling he had, that his brain sped up while bored and not in a good way.

                                            Filmmaker Albert Nerenberg

One of the most radical cases Nerenberg makes is that traditional school not only leads children directly into an atmosphere of extreme boredom, causing curiosity and intellect to stop cold,  it creates a deep desire to escape.  Not much can be learned under those circumstances.  It seems the most learning and physical health-creating happens at recess when kids are running around playing, socialising and whatnot.

That’s a pretty broad swath to cut.  I enjoyed school and wasn’t often bored, but I realise many people are.  Everyone’s different and everyone has his own story.
The film posits that long periods of boredom can lead to risky behaviours, thrill seeking, dangerous driving and riots for starters.  It certainly makes sense.  But in no way is this a “real” study as much as it is a “Reefer Madness” kind of exercise. 

Some academics are interviewed and medical facts are tossed around, which is all good, but at its heart this is just fun to watch.  And it sure is fun.  Nerenberg’s the guy behind the hilariously “factual” film Stupidity. 

The Occupy movement, famous for being about nothing really, is blamed on boredom.  The Occupy lifestyle certainly seems to be a fun cure for some.   Meetings, in business are written off as boring and anti-productive.  Addiction is also apparently due to boring environments and drugs relieve boredom.
The best thing here is the suggestion that standing instead of boredom- inducing sitting is good for the brain and in fact is the cure to all of our ills.  Sitting “kills” us as certainly as boredom can.

Boredom the film is anything but.  But don’t take it as Gospel.  I am going to try standing more often.

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