Boredom and Addiction – Scott Kiloby

I found this interesting link on Scott Kilobi’s site and pressed it:

scott kilobyBoredom is a companion to addiction for many people. It starts at an early age. If you watch a group of children hit a dull moment with nothing to do, they often become anxious to find something to do, to fill up that empty space in the present moment. We grow up with this constant need to fill the space incessantly. For some, life is one long string of actions taken to avoid having to sit and do nothing or sit in silence. This may be the driving force behind human progress in so many areas, including in the Industrial and Technological revolutions. It’s also the driving force behind our addictions. (continue reading …)

broken link:


17 thoughts on “Boredom and Addiction – Scott Kiloby

  1. Have started rereading and through Andrew Greeley, who studied mysticism in everyday life, I reread about Abraham Maslow’s pyramid of human needs and at the top of this pyramid one need is that for what he calls “peak experiences.” Once the basic needs are satisfied man looks for higher consciousness. The temptation of substance abuse is to take a quick and artificial means to get there, winding up in the miseries of addiction. Need to keep rereading though.

  2. Well, to start with, man seeks to alter his consciousness. This starts at an early age. A childhood manifestation of altering consciousness is spinning. Children will whirl around like dervishes, probably with similar effects. Is this due to boredom? Maybe. The waking state is really a mix of many states some of which are altered states. Certainly, meditation, hypnosis, mystical experiences, creativity, and I would add mindfulness and prayer are altered states of consciousness. Altered states are produced by sensory deprivation as in intense focus, hypnosis, meditation, creativity or overstimulation that causes the system to shut down and so is equivalent to sensory deprivation as in spinning, strobe light effects, blaring music, etc.

    Actually in the sense that death is the ultimate altered state of consciousness we are both seeking death to the senses if you will at the same time as we are afraid of death.

    I don’t get bored unless I have to listen to some lecture in a subject that does not interest me, like history, and pay attention. My mind does not want to pay attention to that. So it goes off. Maybe into an altered state of daydreaming or some such thing. In this instance i am altering my consciousness out of boredom. Certainly taking drugs or even drinking a cup of coffee alters consciousness. This may be done out of depression or boredom, it is true. But I think it is more than just boredom. I think there is the urge to unify consciousness, to feel at peace, to feel oneness. Whether one goes the drug route or the mindfulness and meditation route or contemplation and prayer route.

    • States and stages of consciousness:
      States are temporary, stages are modi of operation. States can bring you into higher or lower awareness. Passing a lot of time in one state of awareness, might shift your consciousness and stage of operation upwards.
      Any perception of the state is later interpreted by the actual stage one is in. This is very confusing for people who are not aware of this. Narcissism is a mode of operation we all go through somewhere between 3 and 6 years, few get stuck here by always getting away with their self indulging behaviour. This happens sometimes in cultures where the first born boy is the pride and honour of the house. Conformism follows – a lot get stuck here in a secure ‘community’. In today’s western societies most of us get stuck just past conformism – the interpretation of law in favour of effort or merit. There are many more stages of being past post-confirmism: pluralism, existentialism and so on.
      All altered states are available at any stage, however how this is interpreted depends on the stage one finds herself in. You can see this for yourself if you read 100 reports on
      Whether one goes to smoke cigarettes or drink a beer, or watch TV out of boredom, I don’t know. It looks like it.
      Whether one goes to hallucinogens because of boredom, I don’t think so. I think the worst addictions are to do with the worst of psychological pains. Although a lot of conservative people still subscribe the soft-to-hard curve, I think that today’s availability and abuse statistics disprove this. Here’s a link to wikipedia about substance abuse:

      • It is such a given that people use addictions to cope with pain that I didn’t even mention it. But aside from escaping pain, I think there is a drive, a quest for higher consciousness, for unity, for oneness. That is all I can say and it may be so obvious. I remember reading somewhere that alcoholics become alcoholics to seek higher consciousness. It is not just self-medication from psychological pain.

        • Having an enlarged liver myself, and stopped it from growing 25 years ago, I don’t think I ever touched a glass for higher consciousness.
          We desire to be as good as those to whom we do compare ourselves. That is pride. If the comparison is negative to us, we feel pain. We don’t live up to our potential, and we feel pain. We drink to ease the pain. We drink not to be ourselves. We drink to forget the horrible situation we find ourselves in. The pain is never extinguished by the drinking, but for some time, it is not felt.

          • Coming from a family of three generations of alcoholics, and having wasted half my youth drinking, I know about self-medicating for pain. Yes, alcohol is limited in killing pain so one keeps drinking. But many substances, including alcohol, are used across cultlures to reach another state of awareness. I have no idea how that fits in with mindfulness, or if it does at all. Still it is a phenomenon that bears looking at, though perhaps not in this forum.

            • There are other substances that do this. For the sake of this website I cannot name them. But I would never take them myself, or ask anybody to do so. It is better to refrain from all of them.
              You will find your enlightenment in the object of substance, and not in the object of your self. In the end you will get addicted to the trips, and forget about consciousness. You will never reach a higher stage, only peeking around now and then, while the wise will be in eternal bliss for the rest of their days.

            • I was definitely not proposing taking alcohol or any other drug to alter consciousness. I was just trying, unsuccessfully, to make the point that one possible motive people have for addiction is not just boredom and numbing pain but also a yearning for expansion of consciousness. I agree that the artificial and chemical routes are to be avoided.

  3. I was that way when a child – always fill up each moment.
    Since the stroke, I really have settled down, busier lately, but much less than I was.
    I can sit and enjoy just being in the moment. That’s nice.

    • Your stroke seems to have been an end point of one life and a starting point of a new life. Did you write some articles or posts about that already? In between the lines of everything you write, it seems to be there – this sudden point of change of directions.

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