On the Boredom Problem

When I was 5, my parents introduced me to the concept of death. Yes, I was very frightened, because dying sounded very scary (you literally just end and then you can do nothing afterwards)—more scary to me apparently than to other children. In fact, it scared me so much that I started trying to find all ways possible to prolong death as much as can be done, yet grieving over the fact that it must eventually happen. When I was 10, however, on a day in February in 2005, I was in the bathroom thinking and reached some dramatic conclusions about life, the first of which was the realization that death is a great thing. Without death, we will suffer the alternative, a never-ending consciousness of the world which eventually intuitively will get painfully boring and miserable. But then I realized that death is the equivalent as well (although, thankfully, we won’t be conscious of what’s happening, although I was worried where our consciousness goes after death), and I reached a horrible dilemma that haunted me for two years: both death and living forever seemed like abysmally bleak results—are we completely doomed in this world?

As I said, the problem was painfully in my mental back burner for two years before I finally reached a comforting conclusion. I realized that a more concrete explanation of the problem with death is that it is actually foreverness in a sense—one is in the same boring state with no end in sight (or, heck, in reality). The source of the problem of both cases is the eventual settling to an unwanted existence: boredom is the actual greatest enemy of the conscious. But this boredom seemed inevitable until I discovered that there is a possibility of an alternative.

Here’s how the alternative comes about: imagine the set of the decimal numbers. Death can be represented as a terminating decimal—for example, 4.62—the 2 marks the point of death after which the decimal halts. Non-terminating life can be represented as a repeating decimal—for example, 3.33333333333… (I mean 10/3 in decimal form)—there is no end to the series of 3’s. First, we can notice that this confirms the notion of how death and non-terminating life are related in boredom: the 4.62 is actually 4.6200000000000…, but 0 represents nonexistence. In both cases, the problem is having to deal with something with no end in sight, a horrid prospect.

But more importantly, we can finally be consoled that there is a third path, as there exists irrational numbers. A π-life would not have these horrendous issues. Of course, it was hard for me to imagine what such a life would be like, but the analogy was strong enough to convince me and finally have some rest in the part of my brain that until then was continuously stomped on by this problem. I was relieved even though this dogma is highly unrealistic (although later, when I was 15, I found an alternate theory that is as convincing of relief and already is in place in the “real” world). But of course, as you probably know, when picking a random number, chances are it’s irrational.

In fact, if you put the mathematics aside, think for a moment: the world contains irrationality after irrationality. Can you imagine how horrible life would be without them?

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