By: Mark Linnhoefer
“Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is left without anything in particular to do, and not interested in their surroundings.”
“Apathy is a lack of feeling, emotion, interest, and concern. Apathy is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation, and/or passion.”
These two states of being obviously go hand in hand, don’t they? If you get bored for too long, you’ll enter a lethargic apathy that resembles Garfield’s neurotic lack of motivation on Mondays… and that damned cat doesn’t even go to work!
Well. We’re seeing something similar in our society. At least in Germany, the largest part of the population is simply not interested in politics – doesn’t go voting, doesn’t watch debates, doesn’t read the paper – and still has the audacity to complain about political decisions they barely understand, but are also not ready to learn about. This stems from an overall lack of action in the political sphere that confuses younger entertainment consumers; they’re so used to fast-paced, adventure-laden dramas unfolding before their eyes that listening to gray-haired, suit-wearing politicians using complex terminology quickly lulls them into a deep REM sleep. That lack of interest – boredom – then turns into apathy and so leaves the nation run by people that have been voted for by a minority of those eligible to vote at best, and are ergo unable to represent the citizens they’re supposed to be working for. And it’s not even like we’re constantly bored these days: there’s all sort of mind-numbing entertainment about, but it seems to be geared to distract the populace and make reality more boring to the average sap than those drama-filled staged reality shows, which in turn leads to a complete apathy regarding real-life issues, such as politics. And that is dangerous.
It simply boggles my mind how fucking uninterested some people can be, and how it affects the entire world. Do you really think that if everyone took great care to understand political issues and the effect these have on the whole planet, the same power structures would be in place, the same people in power, and the same fucking system in place? I might be naïve, but I believe that things would look very differently if a majority of the population could be woken from their comatose apathy stemming from an overall boredom that has apparently taken hold of those living in the few countries whose politicians are actually able to control most of what’s happening in the world. It might be that an abundance of wealth produces an utter lack of interest – we, in what is so egoistically called the first world countries, are just too well off to be very interested in political change or even politics in general.
We don’t need to fight for security or endure hunger, we mostly have access to social welfare programs, and are generally not in a position where our life is at stake on a daily basis. So naturally, as animals that have a history of hunting and fighting for survival, we’re getting bored. We’re not biologically designed to be as well off as we are, it seems, and that is taking a toll on our general level of interest, which quickly makes us descend into a state of lethargic apathy, and therefore easy prey for those that know how to invoke a feeling of security and steadiness in us. It also makes the younger generation more prone to listening to the populists, the extremists, who scream in a language those kids know, who seemingly defy an old and outdated system that is completely out of touch with today’s world. And unfortunately, those populists are right in one thing: the system in place is outdated and out of touch, and those who are fighting to perpetuate its existence are working for their own selfish ends and out of pure greed. Which is not the end of the world, as people might realize if they’d actually take an interest in anything even remotely political. But alas, political illiteracy is wide-spread, and it is the main cause of radical movements and polarization. Because when you don’t know your politics, you’re quickly drawn to those that can talk and therefore sound the best, without even knowing the first thing about their political stance and ideals.
Politics has always been a talking job, there’s no doubt about that, but back in the day there were more people able to actually look beyond those pretty words and dig into a party’s inner workings, and I am just finding less and less of that wherever I look… I mean, sure, we haven’t actually seen a great government anywhere quite yet, and that reflects the amount of political knowledge present within society, but I still feel that the voices speaking up against the system in earlier days were more reasonable and less ridiculous compared to today’s. I directly relate this development to the expansion of modern-day media, such as the internet; it was supposed to be a tool that allows us to be free, to be connected, to access any and all information this world has to offer, but has instead devolved into a grotesque nightmare of “selfies” and “hashtags”, and also managed to dumb an entire generation down to the level of obnoxious primates. Of course, the internet IS also the great tool it should be viewed as; unlimited real-time interconnection with people from all across the globe, access to an abundance of information, and a place to make even the smallest voice heard… Unfortunately, most do not seem to realize the power they hold in the tips of their fingers when they procrastinate in front of mind-decaying trash sites, and this lack of knowledge can be traced back to the boredom and apathy that has taken hold of our over-privileged parody of a society.
There are such horrible things happening all around the globe, and the people seem to be so bored that they feel the need to get riled up over the most insignificant bullshit. If these fucking degenerates showed the same amount of enthusiasm when it came to actually important issues, the world might be better off, or at the very least moving. Things would actually change. But the concept of interacting seriously or even defiantly with politics is too energy-consuming for the average person. The average person does not care for politics, he or she cares for his or her next paycheck only and that is sad. People so stuck in this hamster wheel of working, working, working, and all for a lousy and useless paycheck… This routine that we’re being indoctrinated to see as the ‘right path’ to take from an early age on is naturally an ideal breeding ground for extreme boredom that leads to apathy, which in turn leads to a hotbed for polarization and populist movements.
We need to break free from these chains of lethargy, we need to smite the deities of apathy, and we need to use our inherent voices and intellect to finally get some goddamned change, if not into this puked-up mess of a planet, then at least into ourselves and our immediate surroundings. Otherwise, I fear that not much of an elected leadership will be left… In Germany there’s a mere 43% of citizens that actually go to vote anymore, so the government cannot possibly still represent the will of the people. I mean, these damned politicians have been voted for by less than half of the population, and none of them could even get a clear-cut majority, so what we have now are coalitions of two or more parties that each have a mere 8-12% of the possible votes at best. And I personally don’t think that we can be so blind as to cling to the illusion that this kind of government is still representative of any sentiment within the citizens. And it’s no different in the US: in 2014, barely 40% – more like 36% actually – of the population went up to an urn to cast their voice, and that can be traced back to the same boredom, the same lack of interest, the same fucking apathy, and naturally has the same effects on the political landscape….
These swine are no longer representing any of us, and they don’t give a fuck about it. They’re happy about low involvement of the citizenship in the voting process, because for most of them that’s the only reason they still have their jobs. A man who has once tasted power is not prone to relinquishing it ever again, and that is the problem with our political system: the people are supposed to have the power, and the politicians are supposed to be mere tools to enforce that power. But there has been a shift that occurred at some point somewhere that led to the population being entirely subdued by the political power structures, which is just yet another sign that what we call Democracy ceased to exist long ago.
The boredom with politics, the apathy in life, that maddening high-class comfort we all enjoy is what’s slowly but surely driving not only the individual nations but the entire globe to the brink of either revolution or war, simply because those of us living in the few countries whose politicians could bring on change on a global scale are too fucking apathetic to even read the morning paper…