Tuesday 30 April 2013

Boring is another word for peaceful


And vice versa.

I owe this insight to Alain De Botton who said that his native Switzerland is boring but boring is another word for peaceful.

I am glad I read this before I went there. I had avoided the place which, until then, was on my very short list of countries I didn't want to visit, with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the USA and the Gulf states. Armed with this insight, I found Switzerland almost delightful, although villages in the Transylvanian Alps are much more interesting than the prosperous villages in the real ones. 

I also find the insight is useful in many contexts. It is an entire philosophy of life, that perhaps I shall one day adopt. Many around me have.

Hamlet, speaking about Denmark, said something germane.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

I have an English friend who enjoys living in Bulgaria. I asked him if he didn't find it boring and he simply said

I have a very high boredom threshold.

I think I have a rather low boredom threshold, which is one reason why I like living in Romania. Romania is never boring. Not for one moment. Even the accounting system, the one thing about the country that I do not enjoy, is never boring. It is full of surprises.


  1. For your Australian readers, any reason you do not wish to visit Australia? David Chilnicean

  2. 'One travels for architecture and cooking and America has neither.'
    AJP Taylor

    As well as lacking architecture and cooking Australia has no history and no interesting culture, and is modern and they speak English there. Also is too rich.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with your view. I live in Australia and suffer greately from the stultifying boredom here. Meanwhile, I sorely miss my beloved Romania, my homeland that appears only in my dreams now. These countries are so vastly different, almost antithetical, that I never managed to adapt to this new place in all these decades of trying.

  3. I am delighted I have readers in Australia - a wonderful country that I love very much - but do not wish to visit.

  4. Why don't you want to visit Japan??? It does have a rich history and culture unlike Australia and New Zealand.

    1. Because it seems very modern - because the old places will be terribly clean and tidy - because one travels to travel in time not in space - because I like poor countries better than rich ones - because the Far East does not - so far - fascinate me. My mother tried to bring me up to dislike the Japanese 'because of what they did to our men in the war' but I have always avoided any such anti-Japanese feelings.

  5. I think only people that long for the past travel to travel in time. I'm pretty sure the rest of the people travel to travel in space.