Is Peace Boring?
Is the work of creating peace less interesting than that of creating war?
Posted Mar 10, 2019
What was your immediate response to the title question?
Curiosity? Confusion? Boredom?
When the question appeared in my quiet mind, I imagined a thousand doors exploding open and slamming against walls. Yikes! I quickly recognized this was not a boring question to me. Each opened door exposed more questions. What does boring mean? What kind of peace is meant? What is the context I want to address here?
Boring: I have rarely been bored. I’ve had many tedious chores, but there has always been something of interest to do, feel, or think. When I’ve had boring occasions, I found them to be uninteresting, uninspiring, unimaginative, unvaried—in short, something I valued was profoundly missing. In the worst moments, I feared getting stuck in some kind of temporal-spatial void or suddenly just disappearing. To counter such fears, I bravely sought mindless games as I boringly waited to return into the flow of my active life. While writing this blog, however, I surprised myself by discovering I wasn’t bored exploring boredom! 1
Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true.
― William Inge
Peace: What is my meaning here? Is it the opposite of war, distress, or noise? Is it peace between neighbors or nations? The list of options is long. It’s likely that addressing one meaning will overlap with others. My approach might be called a psychological-spiritual one. It is about a peaceful personal relationship/connection.
Though most might first think of a “relationship” in terms of other people, one’s deepest relationship is that with one’s self. The latter might be viewed as a complex combination of multiple relationships among aspects of one’s personality or it might be viewed as one’s direct relationship with the Divine. I want to focus on peace as a human being’s inner state of stillness no matter the current circumstances.
Whether a relationship with another person or with one’s self, we may seek to avoid interruptions or conflicts by finding a reliable, tranquil space within. This is the reason for most meditation and mindfulness practices. If we feel disconnected into pieces, we strive to reconnect them into peace. At some level of awareness, we long to create and sustain coherent serenity of mind and heart.
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“Is Peace Boring?” implies there is a connection but is that true?
At times when one needs to escape from a distressing situation, is boredom a viable option, a kind of faux-peace? In the extreme, one could imagine situations in which withdrawal into dullness could be a survival tactic. If one has not experienced one’s inner serenity, perhaps by meditation or personal counseling, then one could mistake boredom for peace.
Perhaps there is a reluctance to choose peace over boredom because of fear. Fear could arise that self-discovery will lead to difficult changes in one’s patterns in life. Resorting to tedium might be more comforting than ambiguity. Continuing a dangerous path of fighting may seem to require less change than discovering a new path of expanding peace. It is, after all, less work to bomb a building to the ground than gather all the construction pieces and work to build it up. Can boredom be wrongly attributed to peace and excitement only be experienced through destruction?
The significance of the question “Is Peace Boring?” is not the question of itself, but of the exploration it can stimulate. For me, the answer is definitely “no,” but the exploration brings a new awareness of why it is not. In our current times, I have to wonder about the role of boredom obstructing peace. Is boredom really the underlying addiction resulting from excessive greed, drugs, or technology-driven detachment from other humans?
Matter of fact, the only certainty driving the economy is the certainty that boredom at faster and faster rates is inevitable.
― Andrei Codrescu, Wakefield
After asking myself “Is Peace Boring?” my greatest concern at this moment is that some will answer “yes” and encourage boredom in order to kill efforts to create peace. The process of realizing inner peace can be interesting and inspiring even if it requires dedication and courage in the face of unexpected challenges. The process is not boring, nor is the inner stillness that is ultimately realized. Inner peace nourishes creativity for transferring outer peace to all whom we influence through our presence. It is an antidote to boredom.
Footnote 1: Here is a link to a Psychology Today article on “Eight Reasons Why We Get Bored,” Shahram Heshmat PhD, posted June 16, 2017