These two blockquotes, curated by Andrew Simone and Alan Jacobs respectively, arrived in my RSS reader within moments of each other. I liked Jacobs’s adjective, which applies to Simone’s selection, too: “Kierkegaardian.”
The first is from Jim Rossignol’s This Gaming Life, riffing on Lars Svendsen’s A Philosophy of Boredom:
Fernando Pessoa… identifies boredom as “the feeling that there’s nothing worth doing.” The bored are those people for whom no activity seems satisfactory. The problem is often not that there is a lack of things to do in general but, rather, that there is a lack of things that are worthwhile. Boredom can arise in all kinds of situations, but it usually makes itself known when we cannot do what we want to do or when we must do something we do not wish to do or something we cannot find a satisfactory reason for. “Boredom is not a question of idleness,” suggests Svendsen, “but of meaning.” Boredom does not, however, equate to the kind of meaninglessness found in depression. The bored are not necessarily unhappy with life; they are simply unfulfilled by circumstances, activities, and the things around them.
The second is from Walker Percy’s “Bourbon, Neat”:
Not only should connoisseurs of bourbon not read this article, neither should persons preoccupied with the perils of alcoholism, cirrhosis, esophageal hemorrhage, cancer of the palate, and so forth — all real dangers. I, too, deplore these afflictions. But, as between these evils and the aesthetic of bourbon drinking, that is, the use of bourbon to warm the heart, to reduce the anomie of the late twentieth century, to cut the cold phlegm of Wednesday afternoons, I choose the aesthetic. What, after all, is the use of not having cancer, cirrhosis, and such, if a man comes home from work every day at five-thirty to the exurbs of Montclair or Memphis and there is the grass growing and the little family looking not quite at him but just past the side of his head, and there’s Cronkite on the tube and the smell of pot roast in the living room, and inside the house and outside in the pretty exurb has settled the noxious particles and the sadness of the old dying Western world, and him thinking: “Jesus, is this it? Listening to Cronkite and the grass growing?”
Is this one reason why we’re giving up on TV as our primary mode of consuming cognitive surplus? Creating something, even if it’s just a Wikipedia article about Thundercats, seems more meaningful? Or (alternative hypothesis) are people ROFLing at LOLCats mostly drunk?