Dull is an ideophone or a word that when spoken, sounds like what it means. This occurred to me this morning after awakening. I sat at the edge of the bed and still felt mentally out of it. The word “dull” came to mind, and I remembered the grammatical concept of ideophones. That’s when alertness finally sprang forth.
The morning dullness was a carry-over from yesterday. The day was hot, humid, free of breezes, with a hint of dustiness. It was the type of day that obscures intellectual pondering. All one desires is inactivity. The sluggishness of body and mind are all encompassing. You wish it wasn’t so, but you surrender to it anyway.
Out of boredom I switched on the radio. I rarely listen to the AM band anymore, but out of the need for novelty, I pressed the selector button for AM then pressed “scan”. Whenever the scanning process paused, there was some sort of talk show in progress. At a random point, I pressed “scan” again in order to halt the process and listen to whatever the tuner had last selected.
A commercial for an analgesic to alleviate arthritis symptoms ended. Then the voice of an infamously popular political commentator began a rant about the current economic situation in the United States. It was easy to imagine his spittle showering the studio microphone. On and on he droned in a conspiratorial manner. Clearly he wanted to stir the emotions of his audience to engage in some sort of insurrection. He went on to cast aspersions about the Governor of Michigan. From there the rant became unbearably dark. Another commercial break came up. During the advertisement extolling the virtues of a tooth whitening product, I switched off the radio.
I wasn’t in the mood for the blah, blah, blah of opinionated talk radio hosts. In fact, such negativity only sours my mood. The cascade of political and religious proselytizing is why the AM radio band is pretty much dead to my ears. The programming wipes out analytical thinking and eventually dulls the mind. As a veteran of AM radio during its better days, I can only lament the desperate state of the industry.
People can be quite insensitive. We easily fall prey to this or that notion without taking the time to carefully analyze. I’m as guilty as the next person for being duped by clever speakers and writers pushing their appealing agendas. Sensitivity is not encouraged in public discourse. Blunt, blatant displays of rude self-centeredness are passed off as virtuous. This results in the dullness of popular discourse and culture. I’m not the first person to feel dismay at the amount of posing and narcissistic manipulation going on. It’s ever-present.
There is a famine regarding nuance, and sensitivity. This lack means that crude insensitivity will be self-perpetuating for the foreseeable future. Reflexive, impulsive behavior will continue to be the dominant feature of our civilization at most levels. We perceive this dullness at some level so we desire escape from it by indulging in distractions to dull the dullness of the world. We want the comfort of a sleepy mind.
To escape from the orbit of dullness requires a certain amount of courage and thoughtfulness. It helps greatly to retain a large measure of curiosity and inquisitiveness about everything–no holds barred. The spirit of investigation and inquiry is sharpened when it is performed in the spirit of love and compassion. This laser-sharp focus provides the escape velocity thrust required to leave the orbit of mediocre dullness.
Great unknown frontiers of the mind and the Universe await anyone who chooses to leave the dullness behind.
Enjoy a sharp, inquisitive day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the 20th century actor and singer, Burl Ives. “The cool wind blew in my face and all at once I felt as if I had shed dullness from myself. Before me lay a long gray line with a black mark down the center. The birds were singing. It was spring.”