[-empyre-] All call: subscribers interested in Boredom: Labor, Use and Time

Erin Obodiac emo57 at cornell.edu
Fri May 29 10:43:41 AEST 2015

In response to Renate’s May 16 post about the five states of boredom defined clinically by Professor Goetz (University of Konstanz), if we turn to Heidegger, we see that although he distinguishes three kinds of boredom, his philosophical analysis of profound boredom as the attunement of our contemporary situation seeks to avoid psychologisms of boredom as well as objectifications of boredom.  The term “attunement” is meant to suggest a relational ontology, which critiques boredom as belonging either to a so-called exteriority of things or to a so-called interiority of subjectivity.  For Heidegger, the attunement of boredom is a relational comportment between inside and out, if we can still use these terms.  In medial terms, boredom is therefore mediation, or as Alexander Galloway might say, an “interface effect.”  
Part one, chapter three of The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, shifts from the first form of boredom—being bored by things and passing the time as exemplified by the train station example—toward the second: being bored with ourselves as exemplified in the pleasant dinner party example.  
Although the first form of boredom (waiting for the train) suggests that being stuck in a situation is somehow significant, and being bored with oneself is especially a situation of being stuck, Heidegger’s second example of boredom—the pleasant dinner party—suggests that all of this, including even passing-the-dragging-time, is a false trail and that profound boredom (112) is grounded by something else.  
The second form of boredom (which is also a false trail) is a being-bored-with rather than a being-bored-by: there is a slight shift away from boring things and boring situations toward our own boredom.  Also, there is a different relation to time: not a dragging, but a standing still and a stretching of the now.  Heidegger characterizes the first and second forms of boredom via the now that drags and the standing now.  

Erin Obodiac

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