By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" by means of Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by means of Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your global system" by way 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 critical 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 triumph over 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 exciting account of our dullest moments and such a lot maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will attract someone curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of state of no activity.
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23 All life is a striving for existence, but when this has been guaranteed, life no longer knows what to do and lapses into boredom. 25 Man knows desire, and the aim of this desire is placed either in nature, society or the power of the imagination. If the aims are not fulfilled, this leads to suffering; and when they are fulfilled, the result is boredom. Because of a lack of satisfaction in the real world, man creates an imaginary world. This is how all religions have come into being – as an attempt to escape 57 boredom.
It is conceived as something collective or something individual. I would also assert that the conception of meaning that is particularly prevalent in the West from Romanticism onwards is that which conceives existential meaning as an individual meaning that has to be realized. It is this meaning that I refer to as a personal meaning, but I could also call it the Romantic meaning. Human beings are addicted to meaning. We all have a great problem: Our lives must have some sort of content. We cannot bear to live our lives without some sort of content that we can see as constituting a meaning.
The conflict of values in modern societies does not only occur between 38 dissimilar social groups – it is perhaps just as much a question of conflicts within the individual subjects, who participate in different spheres of values, as, for example, a moral and an aesthetic sphere. Just as little as the conflicts between the various groups can be resolved by referring to a neutral, higher instance can the conflicts within the individual subjects be resolved in such a way. Violence is ‘interesting’, no matter what.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen