By Lars Svendsen
It's been defined as a "tame longing with none specific object" via Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" through Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your international system" via 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 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 conquer it via any act of will.
Lars Svendsen brings jointly observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and pop culture, studying boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and sleek explorations into alienation and transgression through twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and enjoyable account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will attract someone curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactiveness.
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Extra info for A Philosophy of Boredom
Everything is poten37 tially visible – nothing is hidden. We can speak of a pan-transparency, where everything is transparent. The transparency and the packaged interpretations of the world are interrelated. , an already existing interpretation that empties it of secrets. The world becomes boring when everything is transparent. That is why some people hanker for what is dangerous and shocking. They have replaced the non-transparent by the extreme. That is probably why many are so obsessed with the ‘street violence’ and ‘blind violence’ that the tabloid press thrives on reporting.
In Milan Kundera’s Identity, one of the characters, Jean-Marc, says: I’d say that the quantity of boredom, if boredom is measurable, is much greater today than it was. Because the old occupations, at least most of them, were unthinkable without a passionate involvement: the peasants in love with their land; my grandfather, the magician of beautiful tables; shoemakers who knew every villager’s feet by heart; the woodsmen; the gardeners; probably even the soldiers killed with passion back then. The meaning of life wasn’t an issue; it was there with them, quite naturally, in their workshops, in their fields.
I’m my own spectator. My sensations pass, like external things, before I don’t know what gaze of mine. I bore myself no matter what I do. 101 This apparently vague description is actually very precise. Boredom is practically indefinable because it lacks the positiveness that is typical of most other phenomena. It is basically to be understand as an absence – an absence of personal meaning. And, as I shall say later in my discussion of Heidegger’s analysis of boredom, this loss of meaning reduces human life to something analogous to an existence that is purely animal.
A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen
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