By Lars Svendsen, John Irons
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 glossy explorations into alienation and transgression by way of twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and enjoyable account of our dullest moments and such a lot maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice an individual curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactivity.
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Extra resources for A philosophy of boredom
We share with all forms of life periodic apathy, but apathy and boredom are different . . Boredom is much farther up the scale of afflictions than is apathy, and it is probably only a nervous system as highly developed as man’s is even capable of boredom. And within the human species, a level of mentality at least ‘normal’ appears to be a requirement. 70 32 Goethe remarked somewhere that monkeys would be worth considering as humans if they were capable of being bored – and he may well be right about that.
Then suddenly it happens. A motor-cycle Explodes outside, a cup smashes. 78 The chaos and violence is what moves one from boredom to life, awakening oneself. Providing life with some sort of meaning. We have an aesthetic attitude towards violence, and this aesthetic was clearly apparent in the anti-aesthetic of modernism, with its focus on the shocking and the hideous. In addition, we have a moral attitude towards violence, which we want to see reduced – but I do not know if the moral regard necessarily outweighs the aesthetic one.
Boredom is not a question of idleness but of meaning. In his Book of Disquiet Fernando Pessoa puts it this way: It is said that tedium is a disease of the idle, or that it attacks only those who have nothing to do. But this ailment of the soul is in fact more subtle: it attacks people who are predisposed to it, and those who work or who pretend they work (which in this case comes down to the same thing) areless apt to be spared than the truly idle. Nothing is worse than the contrast between the natural splendour of the inner life, with its natural Indias and its unexplored lands, and the squalor (even when it’s not really squalid) of life’s daily routine.
A philosophy of boredom by Lars Svendsen, John Irons