[-empyre-] Welcome to May: Boredom: Labor, Use and Time

B. Bogart ben at ekran.org
Mon May 11 02:53:41 AEST 2015

Hello Emilie, thanks for jumping in!

I wanted to follow up a bit on my last message in relation to John's
question regarding whether boredom is antithetical to pleasure.

I would define arousal generally as a value on a stimulus that is
directly related to the degree that stimulus is predicted. A stimulus
that defies our predictions would be highly arousing, but it could be
positive or negative. We could be positively aroused by the punch-line
of a joke, or negatively aroused by someone jumping out at us in a dark

I think there is some inherent pleasure (related to novelty seeking) in
arousal, in horror movies, bad jokes, thrill-seeking sports, or even
unexpected tactile sensations or the intellectual pleasure of a new idea.

My general point here is that there is both the value-judgement on the
stimulus (positive or negative) but also the relation of the stimulus to
the current context of reception (arousal). I would say that interesting
and boring are different degrees of arousal, but refer to the same sense
how expected some stimulus is.


On 15-05-09 05:45 AM, Emilie St Hilaire wrote:
> Rather than viewing pleasure as antithetical to the boring I'm
> considering the interesting as the not boring. The interesting can be
> engaging without necessarily being pleasurable, such as challenging
> intellectual pursuits.
> From _Essays on Boredom and Modernity_ by Barbara Dalle Pezze and Carlo
> Salzani "The term interesting, in its current sense, appeared at the
> same time as to bore, in the late eighteenth century, and seems to be
> strictly related to it."(10)

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