By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" through Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" through Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your global system" through 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 significant 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 by means of 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 smooth explorations into alienation and transgression through twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and interesting account of our dullest moments and such a lot maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will attract an individual curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inaction.
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Extra resources for A Philosophy of Boredom
Meaninglessness is boring. And boredom can be described metaphorically as a meaning withdrawal. Boredom can be understood as a discomfort which communicates that the need for meaning is not being satisfied. In order to remove this discomfort, we attack the symptoms rather than the disease itself, and search for all sorts of meaning-surrogates. A society that functions well promotes man’s ability to find meaning in the world; one that functions badly does not. 67 For us ‘Romantics’, things are more problematic, for even though we often embrace collectivist modes of thought, such as nationalism, they always ultimately appear to be sadly insufficient.
And boredom can be described metaphorically as a meaning withdrawal. Boredom can be understood as a discomfort which communicates that the need for meaning is not being satisfied. In order to remove this discomfort, we attack the symptoms rather than the disease itself, and search for all sorts of meaning-surrogates. A society that functions well promotes man’s ability to find meaning in the world; one that functions badly does not. 67 For us ‘Romantics’, things are more problematic, for even though we often embrace collectivist modes of thought, such as nationalism, they always ultimately appear to be sadly insufficient.
We start by working the whole day, then watch TV all evening before sleeping all night. This is a fairly common life-pattern. 74 Free time is a time where you are free, or can be free. What sort of freedom are we talking about? A freedom from work? In that case, it is work that provides a negative definition of freedom. Are we freer in our free time than during our time at work? We undeniably have a slightly different role, for while we are producers in our working hours, we are mainly consumers in our free time.