Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Good point, Mr. Beerman. Now that we've scratched the surface, dare I suggest we explore further?

First, I think we need to foster a mutual understanding of boredom, for couching it as a "question of arithmetic" sells us both short. There are, as you note, 24 hours in a day. And I, for one, do not resign myself to an existence where I am "left" with 8 hours to make my life "interesting." I typically spend 16 to 18 hours a day inadvertently doing that (we shall exclude sleep, although I pride myself on rather extravagant dreams). Whether I am "watching children playing baseball or reliving past glories of Maryland basketball," I am maximizing my time from a qualitative perspective - not quantitative. To me, boredom is not a misallocation of time. It is a failure to enrich oneself.

I think we can agree on that, no?

As for the question of a mundane existence, I remain loyal to an emphatic "yes." Why, you ask? It is quite simple, actually. I was not solely "referring to the activities (or lack thereof) in [my] position within the corporate hierarchy of the Beltway;" I was also referring to the sacrifices one must make in order to function within a society of demands. It is true that I could, from a selfish perspective, make better use of my time if I did not hold "a book for someone else to read," but that would undoubtedly spark inequities in other portions of my life. I hold the book - or, more appropriately, I help others - because it offers a sense of self-worth that I would not encounter otherwise. It may be mundane, but only from a shallow, short-sighted perspective.

The error, therefore, is on my part. My thanks to Mr. Beerman for drawing attention to my own over-simplification. Boredom does not provide intellectual clarity. The immediate sacrifices one makes in the interests of a salubrious existence provide intellectual clarity.


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