By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" by way of Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" through Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your international system" via Joseph Brodsky, yet nonetheless only a few people this present day can clarify accurately what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of many vital preoccupations of our age because it probes the character of boredom, the way it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we can't appear to conquer it via any act of will.
Lars Svendsen brings jointly observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and pop culture, analyzing boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and glossy explorations into alienation and transgression by way of twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and wonderful account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice somebody curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of state of being inactive.
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Additional info for A Philosophy of Boredom
Reflection decreases via diversions, but this will always be a passing phenomenon. Work is often less boring than diversions are, but the person 33 who advocates work as a cure for boredom is confusing a temporary removal of the symptoms with curing a disease. And there is no escaping the fact that many forms of work are deadly boring. Work is often onerous, often without potential to promote any meaning in life. The answer to the question as to why people get bored does not lie in work or leisure on their own.
How often, when I look up from the ledger where I enter accounts, my head is devoid of the whole world! I’d be better off remaining idle, doing nothing and having nothing to do, because that tedium, though real enough, 34 I could at least enjoy. 73 Pessoa is right in saying that hard work is often just as boring as idleness. I have personally never been so bored as when I was in the process of completing a large dissertation after several years of work. The work bored me so much that I had to mobilize all my will in order to continue, and all that I felt in doing so was a tremendous tiredness.
It is remarkable that Kant deals with boredom within the context of moral philosophy, and that he also talks about duties as a way of promoting certain states. In that sense, he is perpetuating the acedia tradition. However, I intend to focus on the more general anthropological aspects here. For Kant, boredom is linked to cultural development. ’ 13 The necessity to work should not so much be understood here pragmatically as existentially. Without work we are bored to death, because we cannot cope with living without content for any length of time.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen