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By Lars Svendsen, John Irons

ISBN-10: 1861892179

ISBN-13: 9781861892171

It has been defined as a "tame longing with none specific item" through Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable illness" via Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your international approach" by way of Joseph Brodsky, yet nonetheless only a few people this day can clarify accurately what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of many valuable 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 via any act of will.

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 smooth explorations into alienation and transgression via twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and interesting account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice somebody curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactivity.

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There are many different typologies of boredom. 85 I don’t feel this typology is particularly illuminating. It does nothing more than emphasise that one can react passively or actively, and it fails to distinguish qualitatively between various forms of boredom. 86 These four overlap, but there are clear distinctions. Flaubert distinguished between ‘common boredom’ (ennui commun) and ‘modern boredom’ (ennui moderne),87 which, broadly speaking, corresponds to our distinction between situative and existential boredom.

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. Each occupation had created its own mentality, its own way of being.

It is impossible to make any clear distinction between the respective contributions made by the subject and object to boredom, because the emptiness of the subject and object is so interwoven. Fernando Pessoa describes being affected by boredom as like having the drawbridge over the moat round the castle of our soul suddenly raised, so that there is no longer any connection between the castle and the surrounding land. Further: I observe myself. I’m my own spectator. My sensations pass, like external things, before I don’t know what gaze of mine.

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A philosophy of boredom by Lars Svendsen, John Irons


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