A History of Boredom

bordom.jpgWhen hit by boredom, let yourself be crushed by it; submerge, hit bottom. The sooner you hit bottom, the faster you surface.”- Joseph Brodsky

A review of the book A Philosophy of Boredom by Lars Svendsen;

“Any concept that attracted comment from Kant, Goethe, and other giants accomplished enough to be identifiable by one name must be complex, profound, and worthy of attention even in a sweltering August.

(If you immediately think, "Wait, there's probably some other concept that's drawn attention from other single-named giants such as Beyoncé, Madonna and Brittany - like bling - that's utterly simpleminded," then you possess a genuine philosophical aptitude and should continue reading.)

"Very few people," writes the witty Norwegian philosopher Lars Svendsen, "have any well-thought-out concept of boredom." That hasn't stopped folks from trying to capture it in a phrase or tossed-off digression.

Kierkegaard declared it "the root of all evil," following on church fathers who condemned its forerunner, the sin of acedia. Svendsen, a professor at the University of Bergen, cleverly updates that, noting that boredom has been accused of causing such modern ills as "drug abuse, alcohol abuse, smoking, eating disorders, promiscuity, vandalism..."

Schopenhauer thought boredom "a tame longing without any particular object." For Kafka, it was "as if everything I owned had left me, and as if it would scarcely be sufficient if all of it returned." Theodor Adorno blamed boredom on alienation at work. Russian poet Joseph Brodsky suggested boredom taught us "life's most important lesson... that you are completely insignificant."

Via Distributed Presses and 3 Quarks Daily

Experts in Boredom;

“Politicians are experts in boredom. To sit through a select committee on local transport issues needs superhuman boredom defences, or a vat of Red Bull. And the aura of boredom is the mark of death to a politician. Some have tried to turn their own lack of lustre to advantage. “I am a quiet man,” Iain Duncan Smith said, attempting to disguise his own worthy dullness under a thin euphemism. From that moment, IDS was toast. “What’s wrong with being a boring kind of guy? ” wondered President George Bush Sr, shortly before he was ousted from the White House. Nothing is more hilarious than the spectacle of a naturally tiresome politician attempting to make himself seem interesting by, say, wearing an amusing hat.”

The Nature of Belief : Australian Science Festival Debate; Why do you believe what you do? Is the human mind an organ designed for belief? Why are we so convinced of the existence of things we can't prove or see? Are some beliefs healthy and others pathological? Margaret Wertheim, author of Pythagoras' Trousers, and The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace; cognitive scientist Professor Max Coltheart, co-editor of Pathologies of Belief, and theologian, film-maker and cult-buster, Reverend Dr David Millikan, join Natasha Mitchell to unravel the perplexing power of belief.

Is This What Happiness Looks Like?

Lionel Tiger on Pursuing Pleasure


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on August 20, 2006 12:41 PM.

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