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 sleek explorations into alienation and transgression by way of 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 an individual curious to understand what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactivity.
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Extra resources for A philosophy of boredom
As far as the symbol is concerned, there is no distinction between the experience and its representation, while allegory extrapolates this distinction. But what should allegory be an allegory of, once God has gone? To once more fill the world with meaning, to be able to experience the world, a return to the symbol became vital for the Romantic. This return, however, was far from successful, for while preRomantic symbolism was collective, that of the Romantic 62 era became private.
When one throws oneself at everything that is new, it is with a hope that the new will be able to have an individualizing function and supply life with a personal meaning; but everything new soon becomes old, and the promise of personal meaning is not always fulfilled – at least, not more than just for the time being. The new always quickly turns into routine, and then comes boredom with the new that is always the same, boredom at discovering that everything is intolerably identical behind the false differences between objects and thoughts’,104 as Pessoa expresses it, because the 45 fashionable always reveals itself as the ‘same old thing in a brand new drag’, as David Bowie sings in Teenage Wildlife.
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. How boring life would be without violence! This is well expressed in a poem written by a former skinhead: Everywhere they are waiting, In silence. In boredom. Staring into space. Reflecting on nothing, or on violence .
A philosophy of boredom by Lars Svendsen, John Irons