In praise of boredom

Cox believes that a more common occurrence of boredom in the young would be welcome evidence of “the presence of available resources for thought, reflection, and civil behavior.” Cox notes that “being civil is rarely fun—it requires patience, forethought, and some willingness to tolerate tedium.” So for the overstimulated, “civility feels like submission.”

Cox worries about the deficits in the communication abilities of young males for whom a “womb of all-encompassing stimulation” induces “a pleasant trance from which they do not care to be awakened.” Hence, perhaps, the “failure to launch” of many young males who, “preoccupied with self-amusement,” struggle to make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. What Cox calls “the unbearable lightness of adolescence” is not new; what is new is an “excess of amusement” producing a deficient sense of gravity.