Most Boring Thing Ever Times A Million
September 4, 2012 2:14 PM   Subscribe

Half-remembered quote from an author (possibly Russian) who'd spent a lot of time in prison. Something along the lines of 'it is the most boring thing imaginable---do not think about it for too long, for to do so is to give the thought too much color. Briefly think of the most boring thing possible, then extend that as long as you can.' Who said this? Who quoted it in the past five years? I think I read it in The New Yorker, or more likely Harper's.
posted by shushufindi to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You sure you haven't been reading about Urdu poets recently? It reminds me somewhat of passages from Faiz's letters from jail.
posted by artemisia at 4:35 PM on September 4, 2012

I am almost certain I am wrong, this this is eerily reminiscent of Alexander Dolgun's Story
posted by timsteil at 4:50 PM on September 4, 2012

Response by poster: Doesn't seem to be Faiz or Dolgun.
posted by shushufindi at 5:53 PM on September 4, 2012

posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 6:34 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

It wouldn't be Antonio Gramsci, would it? Or maybe Dostoyevsky or Bakhtin?
posted by désoeuvrée at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well, I haven't re-read it to see if the quote you remember is there, but I wonder if it came from this?Tthe New Yorker published a very memorable Atul Gawande piece: Is Long-Term Solitary Confinement Torture? I haven't forgotten it since I read it, the idea that our very identity and humanness can only be maintained by being in contact with other humans.
posted by Miko at 7:04 PM on September 4, 2012

Response by poster: Miko---it's not the New Yorker piece you mentioned, although I did read that and it was great. Désoeuvrée: I think it was someone more obscure than Gramsci, Dostoyevsky or Bakhtin. Bakhtin had his notes in prison, right? No...he had to roll those up into cigarette papers and smoke them!...or that's at least what I remember a literature professor telling me.
posted by shushufindi at 7:57 PM on September 4, 2012

Was it Arthur Koestler?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:15 PM on September 5, 2012

Response by poster: Can't find a koestler quote. Or solzhenitsyn. This is killing me!
posted by shushufindi at 3:31 PM on September 5, 2012

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