The Art of Boredom

Rather than an individual experience, boredom can be a philosophical key to understanding modern life

The English word ‘boredom’, the French ‘ennui’, and the German ‘Langeweile’ are hardly synonyms – the first possibly deriving from the activity of boring wood, the next having to do with a feeling of annoyance, the last, which means ‘long while’, referring to the slow passing of time. Then again, if we think someone is boring they will probably be annoying, and time spent with them will feel unpleasantly long, so the terms make related sense. The relationship to the world involved in each term is evidently negative. ‘Langeweile’ implies, for example, that the meaningfulness of time, which is structured by desires, intentions, hope, anticipation, etc., has been reduced to a sense of time as empty because it lacks these projective qualities. However, boredom may not be thought of as simply negative. Nietzsche, for example, contends that boredom has a dialectical counterpart: ‘For the thinker and for all inventive spirits boredom is that unplea

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation

Liz Bee 2 September 2021

I truly adored reading your posting newborn photographers near me

killer smile 2 September 2021

It was so good to see you acknowledging this topic, it really feels great. Thanks for sharing such a valuable information which is very hard to find normally. I have subscribed to your website and will be promoting it to my friends and other people as well. bookkeeping tucson