A book on boredom - how…boring? Actually, the more one thinks about boredom the more interesting it becomes! What causes boredom? Why are some people more prone to boredom than others? What's the difference between being bored for a short period and being chronically bored with life? Is boredom always bad or can it be a stimulus to search for true satisfaction? Is there an antidote to boredom or is boredom a 'normal' part of life?
This book by psychiatrist and theological seminary professor Richard Winter seeks to answer these and other questions by examining the historical, sociological, psychological and cultural roots of boredom. Winter explores the philosophical contributions of postmodernism and the loss of meaning to the experience of boredom and the 'bitter fruits' of sexual addiction, aggression and risk taking that so often follow.
A wide range of perspectives is covered and there is much that will interest, whether reading it for professional or personal reasons. I particularly enjoyed the chapter dealing with the psychological research data and also those discussing the relationship of boredom to our present culture of leisure, overstimulation, entertainment and consumerism.
In the final chapters, Winter moves from an analysis of boredom to ways of counteracting it. He provides general advice and also argues for the necessity of discovering the 'bigger picture' of passion and wonder for God and his world.
The Christian reality is present throughout this book, always challenging but never obtrusive or jarring with the flow of the argument. This makes the book accessible to non-Christian and Christian alike and I certainly wouldn't have any hesitation giving this book to an interested (or bored!) enquirer. I think anyone who works in a pastoral role whether doctor, nurse, psychologist or church worker, will find the book informative and helpful to their practice.Reviewed by
Specialist Registrar in Palliative Care in the North Thames region
and former CMF Student Staffworker