The word, dull is an example of onomatopoeia–it sounds like what it is. Dull is blunt not sharp. A knife that needs sharpening is unsuitable for slicing soft cheese.

There’s also emotional dullness. If you spent July and August as a young teen in a place like Nebraska in the 1960s. The days were thick and heavy with heat and humidity. Oftentimes, there was no escaping the oppressive weather, no air conditioning, no breeze. The body and mind slowed down in order to conserve one’s waning life-force. Observing dust motes floating through shafts of sunlight were the most exciting form of entertainment because you had been grounded for misbehaving.

The bland, boredom does not pierce into the memory; instead it shoves and bullies its way, allowing no escape. There’s no fear of the oppression; only indifference. While staring at the dust motes, the mind yearns to be anywhere else but here and now…perhaps on a spaceship beyond the Asteroid Belt. Would that seemingly endless journey turn out to be dull, too?

Dullness is an escape from sensitivity. It’s a way of covering up our vulnerability. What is so evil about dullness? We can count the ways that dullness and insensitivity cause harm. There are mental indifference, intellectual laziness, confusion, apathy, substance abuse, insensitivity, social disintegration, confusion, violence, and war. Dullness is a wasting away of life.

Dullness allows us to disregard our inner worlds while we focus on external appearances. We are only concerned with having everything go our way, disregarding the hopes and dreams of others. Dullness is a symptom of a lack of inner richness and curiosity. Dullness often manifests as moralism. Trying to control other people, with the intent to force them to conform. It is to be unaware of the sacredness of others. In this sense, dullness is highly contagious.

In our efforts to escape, we box ourselves in poverty or wealth, we indulge in fantasy or dogma. We close ourselves off from deep discourse with other people. Our efforts to run away from dullness only increase its oppression.

We may eventually discover that surrendering to the reality of dullness is like facing fear and acting anyway. Encountering and fully exploring the dullness enables us to accept our vulnerability, weaknesses, hangups, and ourselves. Sitting with and not escaping it, allows us to see our responsibility for our feelings of dullness. It is through acceptance, we begin to see the vibrancy of love within ourselves. It is love that transforms dullness into imponderable vitality.


The Blue Jay of Happiness contemplates something from the writer, Mary Ann Evans, aka George Eliot. “In all private quarrels, the duller nature is triumphant by reason of dullness.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, Hometown, philosophy, Youth and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Dull

  1. rkrontheroad says:

    Beautifully written, hopefully not inspired by pandemic-isolation induced boredom.

  2. Jeff Flesch says:

    What a lovely post, Jay. Phew. Powerful. The last two sentences are wondrous.

  3. The examples to explain dullness were great , real moments of dullness

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