This episode's vocabulary
- Hedonic adaptation - the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.
- Contentment (noun) - happiness and satisfaction, often because you have everything you need.
- Govern (verb) - to have a controlling influence on something.
- Stimulate (verb) - to encourage something to grow, develop, or become active.
- Preset (adj.) - arranged, agreed, or chosen earlier.
- Prolonged (adj.) - continuing for a long time.
- Align (verb) - to put two or more things into a straight line.
- Fulfillment (noun) - a feeling of happiness because you are doing what you intended to do in life.
- Be exposed to sth - to interact with something surrounding you.
- Stimulus (noun) - something that causes growth or activity.
- Stimuli - plural of stimulus.
- Predisposition (noun) - the state of being likely to behave in a particular way.
- Relieve (verb) - to make an unpleasant feeling, such as pain or worry, less strong.
- Engaging (adj.) - pleasant, attractive, and charming.
- Shun (verb) - to avoid something.
- Engage (verb) - to involve someone in something.
- Mediated by sth - influenced by something in the middle. (look up this word, it can be used differently)
- In tandem - in a bundle/at the same time.
- Whine (verb) - to complain or express disappointment or unhappiness repeatedly.
- Threshold (noun) - the level or point at which you start to experience something, or at which something starts to happen.
Questions and Answers
M: Rory, why do people get bored?
R: Well, actually, I read about this recently, and the reason why is because of something called hedonic adaptation. So there's like a baseline for everybody, which is just like not being happy, not being sad. They just, they're at this level of contentment. And it's never just a straight line. It goes up for happiness and down for boredom. But it's pretty regular. Like this is governed by your genetics. So people get bored because they don't have, it's not just because they don't have something to stimulate them. It's also because they have their own genetically preset level of boredom, or contentment, or happiness with the situation. So it's not just about the outside world, it's about the inside of you as well.
M: Some people say that it's good to feel bored sometimes. What do you think?
R: Well, it forces you to get creative and make your own fun. Kind of like how I talked about in my answer to part two. It's like the engine of creativity almost. So it is good sometimes, but it's not good all the time. Trust me, over a prolonged period, it can get very, well, boring for lack of a better term.
M: Are there any jobs that some people find boring?
R: Well, any job could be boring if it doesn't align with something that you want to do. There are people who find teaching boring because they don't like kids or they don't like organising things, for example. So there are these kinds of, well, there are these types of work, but it's really every kind of job. It's more about the person's personal preferences.
M: Do you think all boring jobs will be done by robots in the future?
R: It depends on what your definition of a boring job was or is. If you mean jobs with like minimal creative input, then probably, like working in a factory, for example. Most of those jobs are done by robots. But to be honest, there are some people that enjoy the regularity of these jobs. They're not very creative. They like the the constant repetition of activity. So they might want to do them. And that gives them a sense of fulfillment. They're not bored by it.
M: Why is it that some people work in boring jobs?
R: Um, probably they have like a lack of alternatives. I suppose if you work in, like, a small farm town, for example, then there might not be many jobs that you and I would find interesting, for example. But the other thing is, it's not just about, life isn't all about work. There's also, you can find fulfillment elsewhere in life, like, you know, having a cool hobby and you can work in a boring job as long as it pays for your hobby. A lot of people who play video games do that kind of thing. You have a boring job and then they go home and play video games for the rest of the day. And that's fine for them. And and the same thing is true for having a family like you could put up with working a boring job and be cool with it, because, you know that at the end of the day, you can go back to your family and have fun with them.
M: Why do some people get bored faster than others?
R: Well, it depends on what you're used to. Like if you're constantly exposed to stimulus, like in the form of the... Oh, sorry, stimuli, in the form of the latest information on a subject, or you're always actively working. Then something like passively monitoring, I don't know, factory production numbers on a screen for a significant period of time might be really boring for you because it's just the same thing over and over again. And you could have a genetic predisposition to it as well, I suppose, like I mentioned in the first answer.
M: Nowadays, people have no one to blame other than themselves for feeling bored. Would you agree?
R: Well, under genetics, you might be sensing a pattern here. So like, if that's all true, if this whole idea of the role of genes and how we feel bored is true, then if there's this baseline level of contentment and it's hard to rise above it, then you might slide into boredom more easily. But you still have some control. So you should try and relieve your boredom and not just sit around and moan about it. Sort of like what I did in part two. When I was telling the story, I was bored, but I didn't just sit there and be like, I'm bored. I did things. I complained to you and Vanya on the Internet. That was good. That was a productive use of my time.
M: Rory, do you believe that technology has made life more interesting? Mm. Tell me.
R: Well, well, it's increased the level of complexity, it's made entertainment more engaging in some ways, but it's made other people more boring because they increasingly shun human interaction to be, to engage with something that's mediated by a machine, for example. So it's like, you know, when you go to a party and everyone's on their phones. So that's technology at work. But does that make people more interesting? Has that made life more interesting for them? Not for the people who have to try and talk to them if they're all stuck on their phones? Get off your phones.
M: Should people themselves be the ones who should make their lives more interesting?
R: Well, in tandem with others, yes, and only if they want to. Like some people are happy being quiet and not everybody has to be interesting.
M: Do you agree that it's impossible to feel bored in our world today?
R: Oh, it's possible to be bored, but it's not possible for someone with the privileges of access to, what, thousands of years of technology to just whine about being bored? I mean, you can feel bored, but you have to do something about it. You can't just... Well, you can just sit there and do nothing, but that will not do anything to resolve the situation.
M: What about the future? Will more people feel bored in the future?
R: Probably not, no. We're coming up with, well, they won't feel bored because we'll be coming up with new and better ways to stimulate their interest in things. But that won't necessarily be a good thing. Like I said, sometimes boredom can be good for your creative impulses, to stimulate your creative impulses.
M: Do you think that some people never feel any boredom at all? They just don't, they never get bored.
R: They might have a higher threshold for being bored. They might be genetically predisposed to having a higher threshold to feeling bored. But I don't know how you would measure that.
M: Rory, thank you very much for your... Oh, coffee. Oh, that was boring, dear listener, wasn't it? No, no, no. Rory, you are fabulous and full of awesome.
R: No, I am not. I am fabulous and full of energy drinks. Here's number two.
M: Dear listener, hopefully you are not feeling bored right now. So we can say something is boring or dull. Dull is another good one, the same as boring. So this episode is dull, this episode is boring. I'm bored. I'm bored to death. Rory, you did mention something very interesting. Hedonic adaptation. Wow. So did you just read it on the Wikipedia or did you make it up?
R: No, no, I didn't make it up. It's a thing. If there are any psychologists listening, I'm sorry, I'm going to grossly oversimplify this, but basically it's why you can't be happy all the time, because sooner or later in the moment of happiness ends and you go back down to feeling normal. Of course, it's not just you stay normal forever because there are always these deficits of attention that you have and that's why people feel bored sometimes.
M: It's a roller coaster of emotion.
R: If you look at the diagrams it does look like a roller coaster.
M: Yeah. You can get all scientific in speaking part three. So feel free to show off your knowledge on different areas of psychology, science, "Roryness".
R: It is possible, though, that you didn't study psychology at university. So you can still use some band nine words like being exposed to stimuli. Being stimulated.
M: Wow. Stimuli, and that's like Latin.
R: It is.
M: So first of all to be exposed to something.
R: Yeah. Which is when you...
M: When something surrounds you, right? So, for example...
R: You interact with it as well.
M: It's everywhere around you and you're interacting with this. Like, for example, if you go to England, you're going to be exposed to English. From wherever you go you're going to interact with English.
R: You've got a very rosy view for the English demographics right now.
M: No, but what I mean is, like everybody speaks English more or less in London, don't they? No?
R: I'm saying nothing because I'm going to get canceled.
M: OK, right. So in Russia, you are exposed to Russian because most people speak Russian and you interact with this Russian.
R: Unless you go to Prypiat, then you're exposed to radiation.
M: Oh, that's a good example to be exposed to radiation. Wow, OK, that's unexpected. Yeah, and...
R: That's what they said in Chernobyl. That's unexpected.
M: That's a good series by the way. Have you seen this Chernobyl?
R: I have, I saw iy and got horribly depressed about it.
M: It's a horror film, guys, but it's very good.
R: Anyway, moving away from things that are going to get us arrested.
M: Yes. So being exposed to different stimuli.
R: Yes. So stimuli is something that, well, does something to you.
M: Stimulates you?
R: Yes. Let's not blink on that. Caffeine stimulates nerve receptors in your brain to make you feel more awake and alive.
M: Ok. And Rory, you said a genetic predisposition to feel bored.
R: Yeah. So if you're, it's like a really long way of just saying, like, because of who you are and where you come from, you're more likely to feel bored. But instead of saying not, you just use the term genetic predisposition.
M: You could be genetically predisposed to feel bored. Oh, my God, this is cool.
R: You can be genetically predisposed to being gorgeous. Like Maria.
M: Yes. Yes. Like Maria. And genetically predisposed to be very smart and...
R: Have gray hair like Rory.
M: Yeah. So preset level of boredom or preset level of contentment. You said contentment. Oh yeah. You said a baseline level of contentment.
R: Yes. So the baseline is just like the normal level.
M: What's your baseline? The normal level.
R: The normal level of contentment for me?
R: Like I'm generally fine. Like that's it's just being fine. Not anything above average.
M: No, Rory, you're more than fine. You are really relaxed, laid back and you're chill.
R: It's because I changed my job.
M: Yeah. So a baseline level of contentment, contentment is like a feeling of being happy. You are content with your life. You are happy, you are satisfied. A basic level of contentment. And then I really enjoyed the phrasal verb, you can slide into boredom easily.
R: Yeah. And this goes back to our picture of the roller coaster of the graph going up and down. So when it goes down, it's sliding down into boredom.
M: Yeah. People slide into boredom quite regularly these days. And then you can relieve your boredom.
R: You can. You relieve, well, any negative emotion.
M: Relieve stress.
R: Relieve stress.
M: Relieve your boredom. Get rid of your boredom. You don't just sit and moan about it. I love this word moan, you know, when you are complaining on.
R: It's a wider colocation, you can sit and moan, sit and complain, sit in wind, sit and whinge.
M: Whinge. Yeah. That's my also favorite.
R: Whinging about something. That's the dependent preposition, to complain about something.
M: Yeah. I like, I like the phrase an engine of creativity.
R: Yes. But we already talked about that.
M: About engines?
R: We did talk about an engine of creativity. I talked about boredom being the engine of creativity.
M: Oh, boredom is the engine of creativity. Rory Fergus Duncan... What's you another name?
R: Why does no one know my name?
M: Because you have like six names.
R: I have four names.
M: Four names? OK, ok. OK, I'm going to write them down. Go ahead.
R: Rory Fergus Duncan-Goodwillie. Are you filming me? Have you got a license for that camera?
M: OK, so boredom is the engine of creativity,
R: It wasn't me that said that, it was like Albert Einstein or someone.
M: Oh, you stole it from Einstein?
R: I didn't steal it from Einstein. Every idea is what's the word appropriated from other people.
M: Ok, fine.
R: Did you just pose for a picture in the midst of explanation?
M: Yes. I'm listening, I wrote down your name. OK, Rory Fergus Duncan-Goodwillie. Yeah. There you go. Right. And then when you have this boredom as an engine of your creativity, you may have fulfilment in life.
R: Yeah. Which is another way to tackle boredom by finding fulfilment elsewhere. Fulfilment is just a way of finding something that gives you meaning or satisfaction.
R: This podcast gives us fulfillment.
M: And satisfaction. And "stimulay", li*.
R: I'm not helping. Which you can be constantly exposed to. But we already talked about that.
M: Yes. You did. What about shun? You've used the word increasingly shun.
R: Yeah, like shun is just to ignore. You can shun contact with people, you ignore people you don't ignore contact with people. That's why shun is a better word.
M: So the verb is to shun?
M: To shun human interaction.
R: And human interaction is just talking to people. We are needlessly overcomplicating things.
M: And the question was like, should people themselves be responsible for making their lives more interesting? And then you said in tandem with others.
R: Yeah. So that's like people work together. If you do something in tandem with others, you do it together. You can also work in tandem with machines and reality can be mediated by a machine, which means that it comes to you through a machine. So some people get their news through their phone. It's mediated through your phone
M: Oh, wow. Mediated through your phone.
R: It just means your phone is in the middle of the process. It's not very... This is all, it all sounds so technical, doesn't it? But it's not actually. It's just like, really simple.
M: Yeah, but it sounds good.
R: It does sound good until you think about it.
M: Ok, dear listener. We are hoping that we haven't bored you to death and you did find some interesting facts, especially about this hedonic adaptation and Einstein.
R: Check it out. It's cool.
M: Thank you so much for listening and supporting us on our Patreon. You can comment on this episode and tell us what you think about this episode. Also, you can write down your favorite words from this episode. Don't forget to check out the script. Rory, say bye.
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