• Wallows
    7.1k
    Boredom is a concept that has been vilified by philosophical pessimists to such an extent that I feel the need to speak out for the need for boredom.

    Namely, boredom can be seen as a stable state of affairs where needs have been met and wants are not arising. Stoicism would have called this blissful apatheia.

    What the philosophical pessimists have done is turn a perfectly respectable virtue of being bored and turned it against itself. Why? What is wrong with boredom? What's wrong with a little boredom to read something or think about something?

    I have begun to like boredom. It means that things are going on well. I don't experience Akathisia or some other form of philosophical pessimist restlessness. Life is going smoothly without all that excitement and jazz. My needs are met, and that's all that matters. Who needs stimulation, when you can rest in your inner citadel and review the past or think about the future a little. Not in excess, but the idea is clear... Boredom is not evil. It can actually even be a sign that things are going on very well.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    So, boredom need not be evil. It can be good too.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    I'm surprised more mature readers of this forum, haven't found solitude in "boredom"? Isn't that a sign that everything is proceeding well and such?
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1k
    I'm surprised more mature readers of this forum, haven't found solitude in "boredom"? Isn't that a sign that everything is proceeding well and such?Wallows

    When I’m just sitting with the radio on and thinking, I am usually not bored. Most people would find this boring, but I do it for many hours every day. Then again, I am capable of having conversations in my head. From what I gather, many many people don’t or can’t do this.
  • wax
    295
    I'm surprised more mature readers of this forum, haven't found solitude in "boredom"? Isn't that a sign that everything is proceeding well and such?Wallows

    but being in a state of boredom doesn't really say much about whether things are going well in your life or not.
    A prisoner sitting in his cell with little to do, for years might well be bored a lot of the time, for example. Things are hardly going well for them.
    A homeless person sitting in a closed shop doorway might well be bored, as well as hungry and cold.
  • Noah Te Stroete
    1k
    You are much more mature than I am in that I noticed you never let people antagonize you. I am also a very silly person as my wife and children know. That said, is it healthy to keep your emotions bottled up like that? Or do things really not bother you? Do you ever have nervous energy that needs to get out in a goofy or “immature” way? I would explode if I didn’t let the steam out.
  • Joshs
    438
    You describe your personal experiences of a quiet low-stimulus atmosphere in which "things are going on well" as "blissful apatheia", "life going smoothly". That certainly sounds nice to me. You put the label of 'boredom' on such experiences. One might argue that the reason many philosophical accounts of boredom do not treat it as fondly as you do is that they are not talking about the same affective state as you are. Rather than a state of calm confident, peaceful being, boredom can be understood as a very different way of relating to the world, a a restless inability to find peace. Boredom thought in this way would be what happens when what was for a while a pleasantly unfolding experiencing of a situation begins to falter.

    It is when what had been a meaningfully enjoyable, contemplative, peaceful environment starts to seem meaningless or slightly confused. Boredom would be the first warning sign that things are no longer going on well, that one's apatheia is no longer blissful, that life has stopped gong smoothly even if on the surface it would appear that nothing has changed in a situation that had been enjoyable for us up till recently. Boredom would remind us that even the apparently most passive and unreflective state of just being actually involves an active and dynamic engagement in order to have it feel condident , blissful and in order for us. Boredom understood in this way is an incipient form of anxiety and unsureness. That makes boredom a creative affect in that it prompts us to reexamine the way we relate to a situation. It motivates us to try and recapture the sense of flow and movement that we lost. Whether we accomplish this slipping into flow via overt activity or though a quiet meditation, boredom would not itself be a function of how much stimulus we heap on ourselves but how effectively, meaningfully, enjoyably we can glide through our experiences.

    Maybe the word youre looking for is flow, or meditative bliss, rather than boredom.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    Maybe the word youre looking for is flow, or meditative bliss, rather than boredom.Joshs

    I believe that meditative bliss is the final telos of brute boredom. SO, to recreate the situation in a different light, then boredom is simply an artifact of a life in balance.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    Therefore, if you're feeling bored, everything is alright!

    Huuurayy.
  • Joshs
    438
    Either that , or you're able to avoid feeling bored in situations where others become bored. Heidegger talks about profound boredom as a necessary prelude to authentic Being. But he equates this boredom to authentic anxiety, which seems to be missing from your notion of boredom. Your boredom appears utterly without suffering or unpleasant feeling of any kind, affects which are presupposed in other definitions of boredom. That's why i conclude that you're not talking about the same concept as other philosophers.
  • Wallows
    7.1k


    One the contrary. Boredom only attained a negative association with the rise of the ROmantics and such.

    It's a battle against the different terms used to classify a "disease" or "ailment".
  • Joshs
    438
    The association between boredom and unpleasant feeling is so strong for most that it might be a good idea to make its absence from your account front and center. Otherwise people are apt to misunderstand you and end up arguing against a straw man. I also suspect that once they realize how you've altered the contemporary definition they will find your approach utterly unobjectionable. Many out there know how to enter a state of peaceful contemplative inactivity.

    It seems to me though that you havent addressed this phenomenon that most people do mean by boredom, and that is the experieince of a disturbing loss of meaning.Thats the interesting feature of what most people think of as boredom, not meaningfully contemplative and peaceful experience.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k
    It seems to me though that you havent addressed this phenomenon that most people do mean by boredom, and that is the experieince of a disturbing loss of meaning.Thats the interesting feature of what most people think of as boredom, not meaningfully contemplative and peaceful experience.Joshs

    Yes this would be my response but you already stated it. :up:
  • wax
    295
    ‘Neuroscience is beginning to investigate what happens in the brain during boredom,’ Prof. Enticott says. ‘Interestingly, and perhaps not surprisingly, we see the activation of areas linked to negative emotions like fear and disgust.’

    ‘But we also see activation within various regions of the prefrontal cortex, which is largely responsible for our planned, goal-directed behaviour. In this instance, it might reflect motivation to behave in a way that changes our environment, and thus reduce the negative state of boredom,’ he says.
    https://this.deakin.edu.au/self-improvement/can-you-blame-your-friends-for-your-unhealthy-habits
  • schopenhauer1
    2.6k

    Profound boredom is akin to world-weariness. It’s like things are on repeat and no novelty gets rid of the feeling. I think it is a baseline emotional state. What the mind gets to without the goal-oriented attention, flow state feeling, or feeling of peace.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    But, can't their e a moment of inhibition in regards to the incessant arising of wants and desire. Some ough call this death or the relinquishment of desire.

    It's a feeling that doesn't want to consider the negative association with anaphor and boredom.

    I'l call it a template for eudemonia.
  • Wallows
    7.1k
    Find the corefocm ot the efocentriaill pinecatedog ilshiam insistence.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    You're right. Boredom isn't all that bad. It's better than falling to your death from the 65th floor of a skyscraper.

    Perhaps it's compared to something else when someone says ''I'm bored'' in a negative sense.
  • wax
    295
    I think boredom can be very bad...it can lead someone into a position of seeing only Hobson choices....a range of options most of which could lead to bad outcomes......the devil makes work for idle hands etc.
  • Jake
    1.3k
    It may be helpful to look at boredom through a mechanical lens. The mind might be thought of as an information processing device with adjustable filters. In a high stimulation environment the filters open wide to let in as much information as possible. In a low stimulation environment the filters gradually close to adapt to the situation.

    Boredom happens when we move from a higher level of stimulation to a lower level. The filters are still wide open, but in the low stimulation environment there is less data to process.

    So the brain starts complaining, "Where is the data I'm expecting?? Give me the data!" We call this boredom.

    We usually run from boredom by inputting more data from some other stimulation source. Another solution is to simply patiently wait for the data filters to adjust to the new less stimulating data environment.

    Boredom is not really the problem, but our emotional reaction to it. If we look at boredom as being just a mechanical issue which will resolve itself in time, there can be less emotional reaction.
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