Originally posted by Exuma
Yes it looks lifeless. Sometimes so does the starting position if you are chess tired?!
that's why it's said that at the start of the game white's in zugzwang.
the thing is, if there are no imbalances, there's nothing to play for. symmetric position equals dead even position. until that symmetry is broken, there's nothing to do. regarding your position, the pawns would be eventually pushed and lock into a symmetrical position, or something very close to it. in a blitz game a gm would probably just mirror the opponent's pawn moves without much thought, and that would be it. draw agreed. in a slow game the GMs would probably draw the second the kind of final position of your game was in the horizon.
you wanna win, you aim to break that balance somehow, anyhow. even giving up material to do it. starting from move 1. but the same applies to pretty much every stage of the game.
now a second thing comes to play, the amount of material on the board. not the value of them, who's winning etc, but the general number of wood on the board. the more there's stuff, the harder to keep it all together. more moving parts in a machine, and the complexity explodes exponentially. complex is what you want to get. not complex enough for the result becoming a coin toss (although some like that as well), but complex enough to force inaccuracies and errors in the game. which you then try to use to your advantage. - which also means, every time you exchange anything off the board, your winning potential
decreases. that goes doubly for pawns.
I hope that made some sense, I probably didn't write it very clearly. this is all very general stuff, and there are always exceptions (ie. tricks). could even be your position is an exception, but I really really really doubt it.