I was reading Les Miserables this morning (yes, I still have quite a ways to go in it), and this one line made me stop and think.
On page 432, it says, “There is something more terrible than a hell of suffering—a hell of boredom.”
Isn’t boredom, in itself, a form of suffering? Isn’t Hell completely about suffering? That’s the point, right? So really, the statement is contradicting itself—or at least, only comparing two different kinds of suffering.
I suppose the suffering Hugo is referring to is more of a physical sort, whereas boredom is a state of mind.
Or is he referring to mental suffering—anguish, despair? It could be.
Before I look them up in the dictionary, let me attempt to define each.
Suffering, as I said, of the mental sort, is about anguish and despair. It’s pain. Maybe pain so defined that it begins to affect your body as well as your mind. Psychosomatic suffering.
Boredom is a state of nothingness, of listlessness. You can’t escape from boredom; otherwise, it wouldn’t exist.
You can escape from suffering. It’s difficult, but it is possible. Depending on the degree of suffering you are enduring, happy thoughts or a good mindset can cheer you, or at least partially.
Happy thoughts do nothing to overcome boredom, because even happy thoughts are not the same when you are bored.
Suffering and boredom are such abstract concepts; you could describe them both in so many different manners, and so you could compare and contrast them in a number of ways, too. Well, here’s how Merriam-Webster defines them:
Suffering: 1 a : to submit to or be forced to endure <suffer martyrdom> b : to feel keenly : labor under <suffer thirst>
2 : UNDERGO, EXPERIENCE
3 : to put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable
4 : to allow especially by reason of indifference <the eagle suffers little birds to sing —Shakespeare>
1 : to endure death, pain, or distress
2 : to sustain loss or damage
3 : to be subject to disability or handicap
Boredom: : the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest
Interesting…the dictionary defines suffering as the inescapable one, and it lends boredom more the appearance of being one’s own fault; just the opposite of the way I described them.
Well, on a new topic, on my way to work today, I picked up Tinny on the side of the road, and when we got to the parking lot and drove around like ten times until a spot finally opened, this asshole stole it! I had my blinker on, and I was there first. It was clearly my spot.
So both of us went for it at the same time. It was like we were playing a game of chicken for the spot. Our two cars, my small Nissan, and his humongous roadhog Nissan Xterra, were coming at each other in V-formation, and would have collided head on, mid-parking spot. Finally he honked, which symbolized his victory, and I backed off and drove around some more until I finally found a place.
…That guy is just lucky he didn’t come through our line last night, whoever he was….
Still have a cold, but I’ve started taking Waladryl (the Walgreens version of Benadryl) and it really works. It’s like the cold is still there, but hiding. I hardly even notice I’m sick.
Psychobrat is going to D.C. tomorrow, not to arrive back for another few days. She’s going to see the Presidential Inauguration. I inquired, all smart-alecky because I know how she feels about Trump, whether her group was going to protest, to which she responded vehemently, “No—I like Trump!” …She would.
Actually, Psychobrat’s been acting pretty nice for a record few days. Hope it lasts after she returns. (And, yay—her being absent means no Spidermonkey for three days, either!)
Tinny brought up an interesting point at work tonight, something that I had noticed, myself. People keep commenting to us, “Wow, you’re still here?” or, “I can’t believe you’re working another semester!” Come on. What did they expect us to do, go job-hunting on our Christmas break? We like our jobs! As I expressed to Tinny, when you’re in a job where you feel that athe apocalypse could happen and you would be stranded at work with just the people you work with and you think you could survive that…that’s pretty good. We do have a good combination of workers like that. There’s such a diverse range of characters in the café…it’s rarely-to-never boring.
I was reading again a little bit later today, and Milo said, “You’re still reading that book!?” in a teasing sort of voice, knowing perfectly well that it has over 1,000 pages and I was probably fortunate to have gotten as far as I had up to that point, now that school and work have started back up.
I said, “Well, I’m about 100 pages farther along than I was yesterday…and…*turning a page*…I now have only another 999 to go!” I smiled serenely.
He laughed. I love when he laughs.