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 global system" by means of 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 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 triumph over it by means of any act of will.
Lars Svendsen brings jointly observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and pop culture, interpreting boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and sleek 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 attract a person curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of state of being inactive.
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Additional resources for A Philosophy of Boredom
Giacomo Leopardi, a strong candidate for history’s most melancholy writer, complained incessantly of boredom (la noia). Anyone who has visited Leopardi’s small home town, Recanati in the Marche, cannot help but understand Leopardi’s complaints to some extent. Schopenhauer, by the way, was of the opinion that no one had understood him so well as Leopardi. 29 At the same time, boredom is the most sublime of all human emotions, because it expresses the fact that the human spirit, in a certain sense, is greater than the entire universe.
33 In Human, All Too Human (1878), he has this to say: Ennui and play – Necessity compels us to work, with the product of which the necessity is appeased; the ever new 58 awakening of necessity, however, accustoms us to work. But in the intervals in which necessity is appeased and asleep, as it were, we are attacked by ennui. What is this? In a word it is the habituation to work, which now makes itself felt as a new and additional necessity; it will be all the stronger the more a person has been accustomed to work, perhaps, even, the more a person has suffered from necessities.
Profound existential boredom is more of less devoid of expression. While the body language of situative boredom seems to signal that one can cast off this yoke, squirm oneself free and move on, it is as if the lack of expression in existential bore42 dom contains an implicit instinct that it cannot be overcome by any act of will. To the extent that there is a clear form of expression for profound boredom, it is via behaviour that is radical and breaks new ground, negatively indicating boredom as its prerequisite.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen