By Lars Svendsen, John Irons
Lars Svendsen brings jointly observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and pop culture, reading 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 unique account of our dullest moments and so much maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will attract a person curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactivity.
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Extra info for A philosophy of boredom
99 It is impossible to say if something is boring because one happens to be in a state of boredom or whether one begins to feel bored because the world is bored. 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.
So it cannot supply us with the personal meaning we are striving for. When everything becomes interchangeable and, in terms of value, non-different (read: indifferent), genuine preferences become impossible, and we end up either in total 46 randomness or in a total paralysis of action. Remember Buridan’s ass, which starves to death because it cannot cope with having to choose between two identical heaps of food? Rational decisions presuppose preferences, and preferences presuppose differences. -K.
Man was to stand on his own two feet. What is perhaps the most prominent characteristic of modernity is that man takes over the role that was previously played by God. Qualities that first were ascribed to the things themselves and in the medieval period were increasingly ascribed to God have become aspects of the human subject’s constitution of the world. It is clear that Kant is a central figure in this narrative. It is superficial but not unreasonable to say that the Kantian conception of the I is a secularized version of the medieval conception of God.