“Einstein, like myself, found Bern pleasant but boring. And so I wonder: If the Swiss were more interesting, might he never have daydreamed as much as he did? Might he never have developed the Special Theory of Relativity? In other words, is there something to be said for boredom?
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell thought so. ‘A certain amount of boredom is…essential to a happy life,’ he wrote. Maybe I’ve misjudged the Swiss. Maybe they know something about boredom and happiness that the rest of us don’t.
Patience and boredom are closely related. Boredom, a certain kind of boredom, is really impatience. You don’t like the way things are, they aren’t interesting enough for you, so you decide — and boredom is a decision — that you are bored.
Russell had something to say about this: ‘A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little men, of men unduly divorced from the slow process of nature, of men in whom every vital impulse slowly withers as though they were cut flowers in a vase.’
I’m beginning to think that perhaps the Swiss aren’t boring after all. They just appear that way from the outside.” Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss