By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" by way of Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" via Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your international system" by means of Joseph Brodsky, yet nonetheless only a few people at the present time can clarify accurately what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of many relevant preoccupations of our age because it probes the character of boredom, the way it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we won't appear to conquer it through 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 interesting 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 inaction.
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Extra info for A Philosophy of Boredom
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. The work seemed to me to be completely meaningless, and I completed it almost like an automaton. When I handed in the dissertation I felt an enormous sense of relief, and thought that I would find life more meaningful again, now that I could be idle.
So it cannot supply us with the personal meaning we are striving for. When everything becomes interchangeable and, in terms of value, non-different (read: indifferent), genuine preferences become impossible, and we end up either in total 46 randomness or in a total paralysis of action. Remember Buridan’s ass, which starves to death because it cannot cope with having to choose between two identical heaps of food? Rational decisions presuppose preferences, and preferences presuppose differences. -K.
Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l’encre, Nos cœurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons! Verse-nous ton poison pour qu’il nous réconforte! Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brûle le cerveau, Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe? Au fond de l’Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau! O Death, old captain, the time has come! Let’s raise the anchor! This country wearies us, O Death! We’ll hoist the sail! Even if both heaven and sea are inky black, Our hearts, how well you know, are filled with light.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen