Letters / Boredom is not an option

Still recovering from the most amazing and delightfully enlightening, perhaps scary for some, evening at Shetland Museum & Archives on Thursday: a talk by cutting-edge scientists in astrophysics, focussing on the theory of dark (invisible as yet) matter and perhaps related dark energy.

I found myself, as I got lost in some of the technical scientific language, asking the question why such research matters when there are lots of things to concern us day to day. As I stood up to leave, a little perplexed, a thought struck me.

Often science and the creative arts are separated into distinct fields of human endeavour, beyond that of daily survival – still a reality for far too many in a planet of plenty.

The theorizing, wondering and experimentation are of course acts of creativity in themselves – one of our greatest gifts as humans. Not just with a view to problem solving but as acts in their own right, for enjoyment and excitement


I was left wondering, in sublime wonderment, in a world where we are bombarded with entertainment, instant gratification that may only last a little while, that we should not forget or dismiss our own creativity, however it manifests and however small it may seem.

In such creativity there is fulfilment, personal accomplishment, even in pondering an idea, however absurd it may at first appear. In such a creative process, that of thinking curiously, beauty, joy and awe emerge. Eureka!

Curiously, almost by coincidence a wonderful chat earlier in the afternoon with a dear friend, we discussed, explored and acknowledged that creativity creates neuro-plasticity, new connections and pathways in the mind, changing and indeed positively challenging our ‘stick in our ways’ behaviour.

Positive thinking really does work. Dark matter matters. Ask an astrophysicist, or a friend.

If you prefer your creative arts in the more traditional (?) sense, the textile and textile related exhibition at the museum gallery will prove another great treat for curious children of all ages during the holidays.

Boredom is not an option, try day-dreaming while being in awe at the other local creative masterpieces.

James J Paton

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