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3 - Despair

The Source of Boredom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2022

Kevin Hood Gary
Affiliation:
Valparaiso University, Indiana
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Summary

In this chapter, I begin by considering Poet A – Kierkegaard’s compelling pseudonym who embodies how we usually understand and respond to this mood state. Poet A’s account reveals three key facets of boredom: the incessant striving of our voracious ego, the onset of existential fatigue, and our ever-resilient attempts to fend off boredom, seeking both to maximize freedom and maintain control. I then turn to Kierkegaard’s analysis in Sickness unto Death, penned by the pseudonym Anti-Climacus. Rather than understanding boredom as a neutral mood state that comes and goes, Anti-Climacus diagnoses it as laced with forms of despair that easily overtake us. When we maneuver to escape this kind of boredom, we only become further mired in it. Anti-Climacus’ framework illuminates and brings conceptual depth and insight to the two dominant boredom responses I noted in the introduction, avoidance and resignation.

Type
Chapter
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Why Boredom Matters
Education, Leisure, and the Quest for a Meaningful Life
, pp. 47 - 65
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Despair
  • Kevin Hood Gary, Valparaiso University, Indiana
  • Book: Why Boredom Matters
  • Online publication: 21 July 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108878319.005
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Despair
  • Kevin Hood Gary, Valparaiso University, Indiana
  • Book: Why Boredom Matters
  • Online publication: 21 July 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108878319.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Despair
  • Kevin Hood Gary, Valparaiso University, Indiana
  • Book: Why Boredom Matters
  • Online publication: 21 July 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108878319.005
Available formats
×