A change in perception about boredom - Deepstash

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A brief history of boredom

A change in perception about boredom

In the 20th century, psychologists gained an understanding of many emotions, but boredom was left alone. In 1972, psychoanalyst Erich Fromm declared boredom as "the most important source of aggression and destructiveness today."

The image of boredom changed again in the past few decades and with it, an appreciation of the emotion.

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Philosophy is Back In Fashion

Recent books in non-fiction points to a growing trend: 19th-century philosophy, once a specialized and highly challenging field, is now the inspiration and guiding torch behind many recent publications.

Be it Stoicism, existentialism, moral dilemmas, or theology, these new books introduce readers to old thinkers whose works were earlier considered obscure concepts, with no implications in the real world.

Planet in Flux

The main reason for the rising interest in philosophical concepts of the 19th Century could be today's crisis-ridden world. People see that the world is in flux. There are financial, geopolitical, and climate issues throughout the planet.

Up till the year 2000, there was a sense of optimism and progress, but it vanished at the turn of the millennium.

Stoicism

The thought system that is thriving currently is Stoicism.

Stoicism puts forth acceptance and acknowledgment that one cannot control much of what is going on in life. It states that we are part of nature, and in order to lead a good life, we have to make internal changes, like developing the right character and the right state of mind. The stuff you own and what happens to you in the external world doesn't matter.

Boredom is not that simple to explain
Boredom is not that simple to explain

We may tend to think of boredom as a response to monotonous activities. But boredom isn't this clearcut.

Research reveals that there's a significant variation in how much boredom each person can deal with.

Boredom and modern society

Boredom is sometimes described as the plague of modern society.

  • Back in 2016, a French worker sued his former employer for "bore-out." He won.
  • Many people, especially those born between mid -1990s and late 2010s, scrolls aimlessly through apps and find nothing of interest.
  • People are even diagnosing their pets with boredom.
The struggle to define boredom

Psychologists differ in their definition of boredom.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, boredom was defined as the feeling generated by a repetitive task. Researchers found that boredom increased alertness to the things happening around you (distractions).
  • From 1986, the opposite was found. A study found that boredom caused less concentration.
How we perceive philosophy
How we perceive philosophy

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

In reality, philosophy is likely more useful and important to the average person today than any other time in history.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell

"Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know."

Defining philosophy

Philosophy is examining our understanding of reality and knowledge. Philosophy consists of three major branches:

  1. Metaphysics - What is true about existence.
  2. Epistemology - How we can know that it is true. Epistemology has given us science, logic/reason, economics, psychology, and other theories of knowledge.
  3. Ethics - What actions we should take as a result of this knowledge. Ethics contains concepts such as democracy, human rights, the treatment of animals, and the environment.

When you order your thoughts into a coherent belief system, you are engaging in philosophy. To criticize philosophy, you must rely on philosophy.