[-empyre-] bored: Büchner & Heidegger

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Sun May 17 16:27:09 AEST 2015

Prince Leonce:
The things people do from boredom! They study from boredom, they pray 
from boredom; they fall in love, marry, and multiply from boredom, and 
finally they die of boredom. And the funny thing is that they do it with 
the gravest of faces, without knowing why. God knows what’s in their 
heads. All your heroes, geniuses, dunderheads, your saints and sinners 
and fathers of families, are at bottom nothing but sophisticated idlers. 
(I.i. Leonce and Lena, Georg Büchner, 1836)

Martin Heidegger, in /What is Metaphysics? /(1929), "boredom reveals 
being as a whole":
As surely as we can never comprehend absolutely the
ensemble of beings in themselves we certainly do find ourselves
stationed in the midst of beings that are revealed somehow as a
whole. In the end an essential distinction prevails between
comprehending the ensemble of beings in themselves and
finding oneself in the midst of beings as a whole. The former is
impossible in principle. The latter happens all the time in our
existence. It does seem as though we cling to this or that
particular being, precisely in our everyday preoccupations, as
though we were completely abandoned to this or that region of
beings. No matter how fragmented our everyday existence may
appear to be, however, it always deals with beings in a unity of
the “whole,” if only in a shadowy way. Even and precisely then
when we are not actually busy with things or ourselves this “as a
whole” overcomes us — for example in genuine boredom.
Boredom is still distant when it is only this book or that play, that
business or this idleness, that drags on. It irrupts when “one is
bored.” Profound boredom, drifting here and there in the abysses
of our existence like a muffling fog, removes all things and men
and oneself along with it into a remarkable indifference. This
boredom reveals being as a whole.

Simon Taylor

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