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A Philosophy of Boredom
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861892179
Pages: 176
Year: 2005-04-15
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Although boredom is something that we have all suffered from at some point in our lives, and has become one of the central preoccupations of our age, very few of us can explain precisely what it is. In this book Lars Svendsen examines the nature of boredom, how it originated, its history, how and why it afflicts us, and why we cannot seem to overcome it by any act of will. A diverse and vague phenomenon, described as anything from ‘tame longing without any particular object’ (Schopenhauer), ‘a bestial and indefinable affliction’ (Dostoevsky), to ‘time’s invasion of your world system’ (Joseph Brodsky), boredom allows many interpretations. In exploring these, Lars Svendsen brings together observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology and popular culture, examining boredom’s pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophies of the subject from Pascal to Nietzsche, and modern related concepts of alienation and transgression, taking in texts by Samuel Beckett, J. G. Ballard, Andy Warhol and many others. A witty and entertaining account that considers a serious issue, it will appeal to anyone who has ever felt bored, and wanted to know why.
A Philosophy of Boredom
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861896069
Pages: 192
Year: 2005-04-15
View: 283
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It has been described as a "tame longing without any particular object" by Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your world system" by Joseph Brodsky, but still very few of us today can explain precisely what boredom is. A Philosophy of Boredom investigates one of the central preoccupations of our age as it probes the nature of boredom, how it originated, how and why it afflicts us, and why we cannot seem to overcome it by any act of will. Lars Svendsen brings together observations from philosophy, literature, psychology, theology, and popular culture, examining boredom's pre-Romantic manifestations in medieval torpor, philosophical musings on boredom from Pascal to Nietzsche, and modern explorations into alienation and transgression by twentieth-century artists from Beckett to Warhol. A witty and entertaining account of our dullest moments and most maddening days, A Philosophy of Boredom will appeal to anyone curious to know what lies beneath the overwhelming inertia of inactivity.
A Philosophy of Boredom
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Year: 2005
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It has been described as a "tame longing without any particular object" by Schopenhauer, "a bestial and indefinable affliction" by Dostoevsky, and "time's invasion of your world system" by Joseph Brodsky, but still very few of us today can explain precise.
Boredom
Author: Peter Toohey
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300172168
Pages: 211
Year: 2011
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In the first book to argue for the benefits of boredom, Peter Toohey dispels the myth that it's simply a childish emotion or an existential malaise like Jean-Paul Sartre's nausea. He shows how boredom is, in fact, one of our most common and constructive emotions and is an essential part of the human experience. This informative and entertaining investigation of boredom--what it is and what it isn't, its uses and its dangers--spans more than 3,000 years of history and takes readers through fascinating neurological and psychological theories of emotion, as well as recent scientific investigations, to illustrate its role in our lives. There are Australian aboriginals and bored Romans, Jeffrey Archer and caged cockatoos, Camus and the early Christians, Durer and Degas. Toohey also explores the important role that boredom plays in popular and highbrow culture and how over the centuries it has proven to be a stimulus for art and literature. Toohey shows that boredom is a universal emotion experienced by humans throughout history and he explains its place, and value, in today's world. "Boredom: A Lively History "is vital reading for anyone interested in what goes on when supposedly nothing happens.
A Philosophy of Loneliness
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780237936
Pages: 240
Year: 2017-03-15
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For many of us it is the ultimate fear: to die alone. Loneliness is a difficult subject to address because it has such negative connotations in our intensely social world. But the truth is that wherever there are people, there is loneliness. You can be lonely sitting in the quiet of your home, in the still of an afternoon park, or even when surrounded by throngs of people on a busy street. One need only turn on the radio to hear a crooner telling us just how lonesome we can be. In this groundbreaking book, philosopher Lars Svendsen confronts loneliness head on, investigating both the negative and positive sides of this most human of emotions. Drawing on the latest research in philosophy, psychology, and the social sciences, A Philosophy of Loneliness explores the different kinds of loneliness and examines the psychological and social characteristics that dispose people to them. Svendsen looks at the importance of friendship and love, and he examines how loneliness can impact our quality of life and affect our physical and mental health. In a provocative move, he also argues that the main problem in our modern society is not that we have too much loneliness but rather too little solitude, and he looks to those moments when our loneliness can actually tell us profound things about ourselves and our place in the world. The result is a fascinating book about a complex and deeply meaningful part of our very being.
A Philosophy of Fear
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861897863
Pages: 192
Year: 2008-11-01
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Surveillance cameras. Airport security lines. Barred store windows. We see manifestations of societal fears everyday, and daily news reports on the latest household danger or raised terror threat level continually stoke our sense of impending doom. In A Philosophy of Fear, Lars Svendsen now explores the underlying ideas and issues behind this powerful emotion, as he investigates how and why fear has insinuated itself into every aspect of modern life. Svendsen delves into science, politics, sociology, and literature to explore the nature of fear. He examines the biology behind the emotion, from the neuroscience underlying our “fight or flight” instinct to how fear induces us to take irrational actions in our attempts to minimize risk. The book then turns to the political and social realms, investigating the role of fear in the philosophies of Machiavelli and Hobbes, the rise of the modern “risk society,” and how fear has eroded social trust. Entertainment such as the television show “Fear Factor,” competition in extreme sports, and the political use of fear in the ongoing “War on Terror” all come under Svendsen’s probing gaze, as he investigates whether we can ever disentangle ourselves from the continual state of alarm that defines our age. Svendsen ultimately argues for the possibility of a brighter, less fearful future that is marked by a triumph of humanist optimism. An incisive and thought-provoking meditation, A Philosophy of Fear pulls back the curtain that shrouds dangers imagined and real, forcing us to confront our fears and why we hold to them.
A Philosophy of Freedom
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1780234104
Pages: 272
Year: 2014-10-15
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Freedom of speech, religion, choice, will—humans have fought, and continue to fight, for all of these. But what is human freedom really? Taking a broad approach across metaphysics, politics, and ethics, Lars Svendsen explores this question in his engaging book, while also looking at the threats freedom faces today. Though our behaviors, thoughts, and actions are restricted by social and legal rules, deadlines, and burdens, Svendsen argues that the fundamental requirement for living a human life is the ability to be free. A Philosophy of Freedom questions how we can successfully create meaningful lives when we are estranged from the very concept of freedom. Svendsen tackles such issues as the nature of free agency and the possibility of freedom in a universe governed by natural laws. He concludes that the true definition of personal freedom is first and foremost the liberty to devote yourself to what really matters to you—to realize the true value of the life you are living. Drawing on the fascinating debates around the possibility of freedom and its limits within society, this comprehensive investigation provides an accessible and insightful overview that will appeal to academics and general readers alike.
A Philosophy of Evil
Author: Lars Fr. H. Svendsen, Kerri A. Pierce
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
ISBN: 1564785718
Pages: 306
Year: 2010
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"Svendsen has a way with words, and, unlike many writers of philosophy books, is also blessed with a sly wit and a thorough knowledge of popular culture."-Phil Miller, The Glasgow Herald
Fashion
Author: Lars Svendsen
Publisher: Reaktion Books
ISBN: 1861892918
Pages: 188
Year: 2006-10-30
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Donatella Versace and Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci: fashion is at once a familiar yet mysteriously elite world that we all experience, whether we’re buying a new pair of jeans, reading Vogue, or watching the latest episode of America’s Next Top Model. Lars Svendsen dives into this world in Fashion: A Philosophy, exploring the myths, ideas, and history that makes up haute couture, the must-have trends over the centuries, and the very concept of fashion itself. Fashionopens with an exploration of all the possible meanings encompassed by the word ‘fashion’, as Svendsen probes its elusive place in art, politics, and history. Ultimately, however, he focuses on the most notable type of fashion: clothing. With his trademark dry wit, he deftly dismantles many of the axioms of the industry and its supporters. For example, he points out that some of the latest fashions shown on catwalks aren’t actually ‘fashionable’ in any sense of the word, arguing that they’re more akin to modern art works, and he argues against the increasingly popular idea that plastic surgery and body modification are part of a new wave of consumerism. Svendsen draws upon the writings of thinkers from Adam Smith to Roland Barthes to analyse fashion as both a historical phenomenon and a philosophy of aesthetics. Whether critiquing a relentless media culture that promotes perfect bodies or parsing the never-ending debate over the merits of conformity versus individual style, Lars Svendsen offers an engaging and intriguing analysis of fashion and the motivations behind its constant pursuit for the new.
Work
Author: Lars Fredrik Svendsen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317272757
Pages: 182
Year: 2015-12-22
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"One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important." - Bertrand Russell Work is one of the most universal features of human life; virtually everybody spends some part of their life at work. It is often associated with tedium and boredom, in conflict with the things we would otherwise love to do. The idea of work primarily as a burden was also shared by the philosophers in ancient Greece, who generally regarded work as a curse. And yet research shows that it prolongs life and is generally good for people’s physical and mental health. Why is this? What is the meaning of work? To what extent does it determine our social identity? Should we expect to find work fulfilling? In this book, Lars Svendsen explores these questions and more. He argues that we need to complete this reorientation of our feelings about work and collapse the differences between leisure and work. Work is always with us. But to overcome the sense of being burnt out, we must think of work as not only productive but recreative – in other words, a lot more like leisure. Revised and updated in light of the global financial crisis, this second edition also includes a new chapter on work and globalization.
Play Anything
Author: Ian Bogost
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465096506
Pages: 288
Year: 2016-09-13
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How filling life with play-whether soccer or lawn mowing, counting sheep or tossing Angry Birds-forges a new path for creativity and joy in our impatient age Life is boring: filled with meetings and traffic, errands and emails. Nothing we'd ever call fun. But what if we've gotten fun wrong? In Play Anything, visionary game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost shows how we can overcome our daily anxiety; transforming the boring, ordinary world around us into one of endless, playful possibilities. The key to this playful mindset lies in discovering the secret truth of fun and games. Play Anything, reveals that games appeal to us not because they are fun, but because they set limitations. Soccer wouldn't be soccer if it wasn't composed of two teams of eleven players using only their feet, heads, and torsos to get a ball into a goal; Tetris wouldn't be Tetris without falling pieces in characteristic shapes. Such rules seem needless, arbitrary, and difficult. Yet it is the limitations that make games enjoyable, just like it's the hard things in life that give it meaning. Play is what happens when we accept these limitations, narrow our focus, and, consequently, have fun. Which is also how to live a good life. Manipulating a soccer ball into a goal is no different than treating ordinary circumstances- like grocery shopping, lawn mowing, and making PowerPoints-as sources for meaning and joy. We can "play anything" by filling our days with attention and discipline, devotion and love for the world as it really is, beyond our desires and fears. Ranging from Internet culture to moral philosophy, ancient poetry to modern consumerism, Bogost shows us how today's chaotic world can only be tamed-and enjoyed-when we first impose boundaries on ourselves.
Boredom
Author: Patricia Meyer Spacks
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226768546
Pages: 304
Year: 1996-06-01
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What such a move meant, in society as well as literature, becomes clear in the astonishing range of fiction, poetry, conduct books, letters, and historical and sociological documents Spacks surveys. Here we see how the idea of boredom - as a point of reference or focus of opposition, as a means of characterization, repudiation, or definition, as social indictment or personal grievance - condenses a wide range of crucial meanings and attitudes. From the gendering of boredom (how women's lives came to embody both the threat of boredom and its overthrow) to canon issues (how "boring" becomes "interesting" with a sympathetic reader), the implications of the subject steadily enlarge.
Prejudices
Author: Robert Nisbet
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 067470066X
Pages: 318
Year: 1983
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Examines from the point of view of philosophy a variety of topics, including abortion, war, old age, death, environmentalism, and Christianity
A Philosophy of Walking
Author: Frédéric Gros
Publisher: Verso Trade
ISBN: 1781682704
Pages: 227
Year: 2014
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Explores the role and influence of walking in the lives of such thinkers as Kant, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Robert Louis Stevenson, Gandhi, and Jack Kerouac.
Idleness
Author: Brian O'Connor
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400889618
Pages: 216
Year: 2018-06-12
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The first book to challenge modern philosophy’s case against idleness, revealing why the idle state is one of true freedom For millennia, idleness and laziness have been regarded as vices. We're all expected to work to survive and get ahead, and devoting energy to anything but labor and self-improvement can seem like a luxury or a moral failure. Far from questioning this conventional wisdom, modern philosophers have worked hard to develop new reasons to denigrate idleness. In Idleness, the first book to challenge modern philosophy's portrayal of inactivity, Brian O'Connor argues that the case against an indifference to work and effort is flawed--and that idle aimlessness may instead allow for the highest form of freedom. Idleness explores how some of the most influential modern philosophers drew a direct connection between making the most of our humanity and avoiding laziness. Idleness was dismissed as contrary to the need people have to become autonomous and make whole, integrated beings of themselves (Kant); to be useful (Kant and Hegel); to accept communal norms (Hegel); to contribute to the social good by working (Marx); and to avoid boredom (Schopenhauer and de Beauvoir). O'Connor throws doubt on all these arguments, presenting a sympathetic vision of the inactive and unserious that draws on more productive ideas about idleness, from ancient Greece through Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, Schiller and Marcuse's thoughts about the importance of play, and recent critiques of the cult of work. A thought-provoking reconsideration of productivity for the twenty-first century, Idleness shows that, from now on, no theory of what it means to have a free mind can exclude idleness from the conversation.