Is Profound Boredom Boredom?
Martin Heidegger is often credited as having offered one of the most thorough phenomenological investigations of the nature of boredom. In his 1929–1930 lecture course, The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude, he goes to great lengths to distinguish between three different types of boredom and to explicate their respective characters. Within the context of his discussion of one of these types of boredom, profound boredom (tiefe Langeweile), Heidegger opposes much of the philosophical and literary tradition on boredom insofar as he articulates how the experience of boredom can be existentially beneficial to us. In this chapter, we undertake a study of the nature of profound boredom with the aim of investigating its place within contemporary psychological and philosophical research on boredom. Although boredom used to be a neglected emotional experience, it is no more. Boredom’s causal antecedents, effects, experiential profile, and neurophysiological correlates have become topics of active study; as a consequence, a proliferation of claims and findings about boredom has ensued. Such a situation provides an opportunity to scrutinize Heidegger’s claims and to try to understand them both on their own terms and in light of our contemporary understanding of boredom.
KeywordsBoredom Emotion Psychology Neurophysiology
- Crowell, Steven Galt. 2001. Husserl, Heidegger, and the Space of Meaning: Paths Toward Transcendental Phenomenology. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
- Dahlstrom, Daniel O. 1994. “Heidegger’s Method: Philosophical Concepts as Formal Indications.” The Review of Metaphysics, 47 (4): 775–795.Google Scholar
- de Beistegui, Miguel. 2003. Thinking with Heidegger: Displacements. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
- Elpidorou, Andreas. 2014. “The Bright Side of Boredom.” Frontiers in Psychology 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01245.
- Freeman, Lauren. 2019. “Boredom.” In The Heidegger Lexicon, edited by Mark Wrathall. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Kisiel, Theodore. 1993. The Genesis of Heidegger’s Being & Time. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Maltsberger, John T. 2000. “Mansur Zaskar: A Man Almost Bored to Death.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 30 (1): 83–90.Google Scholar
- Polt, Richard. 1999. Heidegger: An Introduction. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Ratcliffe, Matthew. 2013. “Why Moods Matter.” In The Cambridge Companion to Heidegger’s Being and Time, edited by Mark Wrathall, 157–176. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Slaby, Jan. 2014. “The Other Side of Existence: Heidegger on Boredom.” In Habitus in Habitat II: Other Sides of Cognition, edited by Sabine Flach and Jan Söffner, 101–120. Bern: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
- Slaby, Jan. 2015. “Affectivity and Temporality in Heidegger.” In Feeling and Value, Willing and Action: Phaenomenologica 216, edited by Marta Ubiali and Maren Wehrle, 183–206. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Spacks, Patricia Meyer. 1995. Boredom: The Literary History of a State of Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Spinoza, Benedictus. 1985. The Collected Works of Spinoza. Vol. 1. Edited and translated by Edwin Curley. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Van Tilburg, Wijnand A. P, and Eric R. Igou. 2012. “On Boredom: Lack of Challenge and Meaning as Distinct Boredom Experiences.” Motivation and Emotion 36 (2): 181–194.Google Scholar
- Zuckerman, Marvin. 1979. Sensation Seeking: Beyond the Optimal Level of Arousal. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar