Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

broadcasting your bored inner monologue is the meaning of life

Now consider the experience of boredom – again a deep feature of human beings and one which points to correspondingly deep needs. (I remember, as a child, infuriating my parents by declaring “I’m bored”.) It is part of the good life that one is active, in ways which make full use of one’s mental and physical powers. We get satisfaction from exerting ourselves, and from seeing the fruits of our efforts and taking pride in them as an expression of who we are. Hegel has a lovely image in his Lectures on Aesthetics: “A boy throws stones into the river, and then stands admiring the circles that trace themselves on the water, as an effect in which he attains the sight of something of his own doing.” So parallel to our need for recognition from others is our need to see ourselves as making a mark on the world. Both stem from the distinctive human capacity for reflection. We think about ourselves, we think about who we are, we are prone to self-questioning and self-doubt and we look for external confirmation.


I’ve suggested that both the need for supportive relationships and the need for self-expression stem from the fact that humans arereflective creatures. We think about who we are and ask questions about ourselves. This propensity for reflection goes deeper still – and this is where it connects to our need to make sense of our lives, and our need to avoid experiencing our lives as meaningless and pointless. One way of putting this is to talk about a need to tell a “story” about one’s life – to see it as having a shape which unfolds as a continuing narrative over time.

social media externalizes the inner monologue, giving us an audience even in our most profound boredom, & opens our inner narratives to public response

or i could just stfu

"Meeting Human Needs" - Richard Norman @ TPM