By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" by means of Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" via Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your global system" by way of Joseph Brodsky, yet nonetheless only a few folks 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 won't appear to triumph over it by way 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 exciting account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice someone curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of state of no activity.
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Extra info for A Philosophy of Boredom
I am often bored, for example, when I go to museums and galleries and only find pale imitations of works I have seen already far too many times. I am bored when I hear a lecture for the fourth time, and I am bored when I give a lecture for the fourth time. It can happen that one accepts assignments one is not really qualified for, simply because one will surely learn something new in the process. Seen thus, boredom is a positive source of human development, though not necessarily of progress. We can be bored in many ways.
This gives us a meaning deficit. It is not all that easy to give an account of what I mean by ‘meaning’ here. In philosophical semantics there are a host of different theories about meaning that – especially in continuation of the works of Gottlob Frege – seek to provide an account of meaning in terms of linguistic expression. But the concept of meaning I am referring to has a further perspective, because we are talking about a meaning that is inextricably linked to being a meaning for someone.
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.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen