Often, its just boredom. People are not wired for doing nothing – with a long prehistory of precarious existence, people need to be constantly engaged in productive action. Laziness is a sure recipe for extinction. Neither are we wired for the purely cerebral activity that so man
y of us are now employed in – we are designed to work with our hands, to scan the horizon with our eyes, and walk long miles. So, we fidget, twitch, fiddle and doodle whenever we are forced to sit still and inactive for any period of time.
Doodling is also an outlet for frustrated artistic expression. The arts in our society have become ‘spectator sports’ reserved for the talented, while the rest of us are too embarrassed to sing (except in the shower), dance (except for some foot-tapping) or draw (except for doodling). These fundamental outlets for creative expression have been stymied by a combination of social pressure (fear of inadequacy) and lack of training (our overfull school curriculums leaving little room for the arts, combined with a flawed view of artistic development as innate and not to be ‘messed with’ by education).
Doodles from my moleskine, Sept 2007 ( artwork by Raul Ramon Lopez-Vito Bucoy II)