People are boring, lazy and unimaginative. It’s a difficult phenomenon to explain, made all the more difficult by the fact that everyone, including this writer, is implicated. Hypocrisy on this matter runs rampant, the boring are always accusing others of being boring, and nobody can identify the lazy like their peers. This is largely unavoidable. But for a few rare and priceless exceptions, we are all the same: boring and dull. However, to shy away from the truth because it has unpleasant implications is to live knowingly ignorant, a far greater crime than hypocrisy, so the only way to exorcise the demon of the boring is to attack it head on.
The central question here is why, in a world of increasing possibility, do people continue to do what has already been done? One answer is that it is easier, more comfortable and less energy intensive to do so. From an evolutionary standpoint this certainly makes sense. Choosing a life which requires less energy ensures that more energy is available to devote to passing down our genetics. But what if, for the sake of discussion, we posit optimistically that humanity has advanced to point where the continuance of our genetic lines is no longer our purpose for existing? What if the purpose of life is living, and helping others to do the same? When you realize that we live in a day and age that existence is largely guaranteed (for most of us anyway – more on this later), doing what has already been done suddenly seems rather unimaginative.
After all, its those relatively few, cherished imaginative people, people who weren’t satisfied with merely passing down their genetics, who got us where we are today. Human progress hinges on dissatisfaction with the normal course. To accept reality as it is, to accept a course that has already been mapped is treason against the very idea of being human. The human struggle, the struggle that sets us apart from every other form of life on earth, is the unending quest not just to survive, but to become better. But what is “better”? One of humanity’s problems today is that the concept of better has been hijacked. Better does not mean more convenient, and it does not mean more stuff. Better means survival with less energy. The more people who can achieve a basic level of survival with energy to spare, the more energy they should use to tackle the human condition with energy and imagination. Once we are surviving, it is imperative that we as human beings explore life and share our discoveries for the benefit of all. It is our responsibility as human beings first and foremost to ensure that all people reach the level of survival, for once we are all surviving, we can all explore.
There are endless ways to explore life, the only rule is that on the way you create something that has never before existed. For some this takes the form of raising a child, others write great books, others build machines that take us to into space. The important part is that whatever you do, you do not do it by default. The default is boring, dull and unimaginative. The default does not enrich your life and it does not enrich anybody else’s. Be mindful of the miracle of your life and treat it like the impermanent gift that it is. As long as we each work to fill our lives to capacity with the new, the interesting, the unknown, we will never be boring.