SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 216: “It’s OK To Be Bored Every Once In A While”

“It’s OK to be bored every once in a while.

For some people… being bored is a sin, but if you look at it as a space where you can shut down stimulus so your mind can work… it’s really a place where you can come up with fresh ideas.

Boredom is not pleasant… there are external things to combat it… or you can simply let your mind wander.

If you accept it, it can become a garden where you can grow new ideas.”

At first I am a little confused by this council provided to us by Kiev born friend of the day, Dmitry.

In a considerate and heavily accented Russian voice, Dmitry is calm and calculated in his words as he sets the stage for our curbside discussion in a fashionable Beverly Hills shopping and dining district.

He is a wonderful anomalies to the general tone of the public that is usual to the 90210 destination; part one of the reason why his appearance strikes me to reach out to him.

Part two, he is reading as he walks. On a street where so many are caught up in the happenings of browsing from store window to store window, it is quite curious as to who this Jimmy Hendrix attired and haired man is.

And a Russian student of law, studying at the prestigious Pepperdine University of Law was farthest from my mind.

“I came to the United States thirty-three years ago, back when the Soviet Union was still Communist.

My family was allowed to leave during the 2nd wave of the great Jewish migration.

We were helped by the State of Israel and other organizations in the Untied States. 250 thousand were allowed to leave. Eventually all of my family was allowed to leave, I was ten years old.

It was a very interesting experience, a week in Vienna, a couple of months in Rome being processed, and then to a Chicago family who sponsored us. A year after that we came to Los Angeles.”

I have to ask, “Was the persecution apparent?”

“’I did not experience any direct Anti-Semitism; I was shielded by my teachers, parents and grandparents.

But I do remember my father telling me that, as a Jew, if I was to get any kind of education, I would have to be a perfect student and get all A’s. I carried that with me for a lot of years. The thought that in order to get accepted, or to be successful, I would have to do everything perfect… Perfect… Because I was a Jew.

I’ve since then let go of the idea of perfection. I can best explain it with an expression I heard from a film editor, ‘Perfect is the enemy of the good.’

It was said in the context of art, but it can apply to any human endeavor.

It’s like if you are trying to make a good painting, maybe even a great painting, if the focus in on perfection… the painting will most likely be inferior.

This is true to life in general; politics, business and relationships… definitely true for relationships.’”

Dmitry elaborates on his philosophy of boredom, “With TV, Satellite, Social Media… iPads, iPhones, it’s easy to be entertained every minute of the day. But do we actually listen for new ideas, poems, business ideas, songs or anything else.”

“Do we actually listen?” I pause.

Earlier Dmitry suggests, “…there are external things to combat it…”

What business is he actually doing this day…? I do not know. Is he stimulated by the storefronts…? I don’t think so… Is he bored…? I’m uncertain…

Yet whether bored or not, Dmitry is engaged in his mind-set of shutting out external stimulus as he strides with novel in hand… reading and carefully navigating the sidewalk.

“…or you can simply let your mind wander…” he says.

Perhaps Dmitry is seemingly disengaged from society with face in book? Or is he living as he preaches in simply letting his mind wander?

“…If you accept it, it can become a garden where you can grow new ideas.”

In the way Dmitry quickly and pleasantly converses with me, the answer is uncovered. Dmitry is putting something into his mind.

“’Boredom is one of those dumb words like kingdom, freedom or abandon, I know abandon is a ‘don’ rather than a ‘dom’ end of word,'” he explains.

“Words ending in dom are dominion words, referring to a place or a state to inhabit. If you shut yourself of from boredom, you are reducing your space to roam, or graze. It is a space where you can plant and develop ideas.”

Dmitry is confident thinker, with a mind tempered for careful examination of humanity and a heartfelt desire to better the planet.

“The number one challenge for the future is to find a source of energy that does not rely on limited resources. We had the Manhattan projects Nuclear Fission and they managed to do it in three years.

We need another Manhattan project for Fusion… it is the alternate source.

Fusion not Fission, Fission’s byproduct is radioactive, Fusion’s byproduct is Helium.”

He lengthens his progressive point of view towards what is to come, “There will be more of us. We have to ethically and morally commit that is a good thing. To not do so would be genocide”