A culture of mass idleness
It has been said many times over, but it’s true: “What a time to be alive.” These opening lines to the Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cites” seem applicable to the days we are currently witnessing and experiencing. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of time, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…” Of course he goes on with more polarities like light and darkness or hope and despair, all of which I also think applies to us now.
But one he didn’t say that I believe we most identify with now is excitement and boredom. We know theres a lot of excitement. Its why so many of us are familiar with the addiction of timeline refreshing or “Fear of missing out” aka “FOMO.” We are also the recipients of all of the great progress humans have made thus far and therefor get to occupy ourselves with many brilliant gadgets that allow us to remain well connected with the world and all it’s ongoing events.
Entertainment is plentiful. Considering all of this, it can be difficult to imagine any possibilities of us being a culture that’s bored. We don’t realize how our obsessions with being occupied and occupations are also indicative of how extremely idle we are. If you place yourself on the outside looking in, this point will start to make a lot more sense. More and more you’ll see how our culture places a lot of it’s attention on the most trivial.
No place is it more evident than on the internet, especially on sights like YouTube. Many of the most popular users are now providing content such as reaction videos. Where viewers, often millions of them, will watch them react to others. Most recently a series of videos was posted by a user that brought this point of cultural boredom home. For a full 24 hours, this kid sits in his room and counts from number 1 to 200,000. At first you think to yourself, “who would actually watch this?” But to no surprise in this bored culture, the video received over a million views in its first 5 days.