Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Do you find Someone Ever-interesting?

I often quote British intellectual Sir Aldous Huxley's famous observation, ' Every individual is eventually a bore.' It's not a particular person who's boring. We all tend to lose our novelty with the passage of time and become a bore to other person. I could be boring to many. Many are boring to me. Hardly anyone in this world retains his/her charm till the end and that's an art we are all so bad at. Now the question is: Why almost every person eventually becomes a bore? Boredom is directly related to lack of novelty and monotony. Human beings look for novelty in a person and relationships. When we don't get that, we get bored. We also get bored with a person or object due to over familiarity. The Bard of Avon aptly said, ' Familiarity breeds contempt.' It indeed does in the long run.

When you constantly bump into the same person, you later realise that there's nothing left. There's no excitement any more and no newness. Why does love often taper off after marriage and a husband and wife become boring to each other? The reason is monotonous familiarity. Lucknow-born great British crooner Sir Cliff Richards could never marry despite his scores of love affairs. The reason was the fear of monotony creeping into the relationship, if graduated into marriage. It's very interesting to observe that elephant, a primarily herd-animal, tends to change its group after every six months. It remains with elephants but the set of elephants changes after every six months!! In Arabic, we often say, 'Inzilam wa majlis tabdeeliyaat ' (Keep changing your company).

Same people, same ideas and same thoughts provide nothing new and offer no new insights after a certain period of time. One begins to get a kind of de ja vu. In Burmese Buddhist religious order of Mahayan sect, every monk is sent to a new monastery after a period of nine months and this goes on for first twenty four years of monkhood, called Bonija in Burmese. The purpose is to expose the monk to new religious orders and philosophies continuously so that he doesn't find a particular idea boring because of continuity as well as monotony.


The best way to evade boredom or a boring person is to be in a state of constant flux. Most of us spend our entire lives with a set group of friends and people and even their life partners remain static. While it shows their commitment in a socially accepted manner, it also underlines mankind's inherent fear of embracing the new and novel. It's a kind of an unaltered attitude, which is not desirable for one's intellectual and qualitative development. The problem with us is that we know, we are getting bored with a situation/set pattern or a person, but we deny that because we feel that it's rude on our part to leave and go away. It's not rude.

Only by calculated distancing (Austrian psychologist Adler's term) from a person or a seemingly ineluctable state, can we re-explore and tide over the boredom. The water of a river gets stagnated when it doesn't flow. The same analogy is applicable to human relations and eventual boredom. We must flow with the tide and if a change is imperative, we all must accept it wholeheartedly. After that, nothing will bore us and we'll be able to bear things, people and circumstances with equanimity, if not with gleeful abundance. 


                                              Sumit Paul

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