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 glossy explorations into alienation and transgression through twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and unique account of our dullest moments and such a lot maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will entice someone curious to grasp what lies underneath the overpowering inertia of inactivity.
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Additional resources for A philosophy of boredom
39 The Romantic does not know what he is looking for, except that it is to represent some sort of infinite meaning. Without such a ‘grand meaning’, there is no meaning at all. ’ 40 However, this very yearning for the infinite, for the absolute, for Meaning, only makes boredom worse. Of course, Romanticism is far from being an unambiguous concept,41 so let me clarify things by stating that I am primarily thinking of German Romanticism, which grew out of the thinking of Kant and Fichte from the 1790s onwards, with Jena as its centre.
Are almost completely identical and therefore without qualitas, without their own nature. For that reason, it becomes even more important to create a difference that can distinguish products from one another. It is the actual distinction that is important, not its content, for by establishing such differences we hope to maintain a belief that the world still has qualities. We become major consumers of new things and new people in order to break the monotony of things being the same. ’ 111 I think that pleasure should be understood here as meaning ‘the same’, while desire should be understood as that which goes beyond ‘the same’, that which is ‘outside’ – transcendence.
Huysmans’ A Rebours (1884). 110 In Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, the difference between, for example, two types of mineral water or two recordings of Les Misérables becomes more important than anything else in life. We distinguish one brand of clothing from another, one malt whisky from another, one sexual practice from another. We are desperate in our search for differences. Fortunately, or regrettably, the advertising industry is there to save us with new distinctions. Advertising is essentially nothing more than creating qualitative differences where there are none.