Korolkova A.A. Analysis of Boredom in the Context of the History of Philosophy

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2017.4.1

Anna A.  Korolkova

Candidate  of  Philosophical  Sciences, Associate  Professor,  Department of Social and Legal Sciences and Humanities,

State Institute of Economics, Finance, Law and Technology

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Roshchinskaya St., 5, 188300 Gatchina, Russian Federation


Abstract. The purpose of the present article is to analyze the phenomenon of boredom on the basis of the philosophical works of two German notionalists: Kant and Schopenhauer. The given investigation is inspired by the following questions: what reasons bring to a painful experience of boredom? How free is a contemporary man living in the society of abundance and entertainment from the power of boredom? Is it true that boredom is an absolutely negative phenomenon? The author draws a parallel between the Kantian definition of boredom as an “active idleness” and Schopenhauer’s thesis according to which boredom is equivalent to a human’s “inability to self-activity”. In contrast to Kant and Schopenhauer, Nietzsche reveals a constructive value of boredom for it gives a chance to accumulate the energy of creation. It is interesting to note that Joseph Brodsky in his speech to the Dartmouth College graduates appeals the young men not to be afraid of boredom in order to hit bottom as soon as possible. It should be stressed that Nietzsche and Brodsky find the path toward salvation exactly in the realm that Kant considers the most dangerous. According to Kant boredom “rushes life” producing a gloomy foreboding of slow dying. Sometimes feeling of empty time becomes so depressing that a man, having experienced all the pleasures, decides to suicide. The above considerations testify to the relevance of the present article in terms of its scientific significance as well as its vital value.

Key words: Kant, boredom, activity, pleasure, time, human being, creation.

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