Posthegemony: boredom

From Jon Beasley-Murray’s blog> Posthegemony: boredom.

Further as to whether boredom is affect or affectlessness: Giorgio Agamben’s reading of Heidegger in The Open ascribes to boredom (“profound boredom”) a privileged role in the anthropological machine producing humanity from animality.

Boredom is the site of “an operation enacted upon the not-open of the animal world” (62) by which (what will come to be) the human suspends its animal captivation with its habitual stimuli, the “carriers of significance which constitute its environment” (41). It is in that suspension that the living being “awaken[s] [. . .] to its own being-captivated” (70). And it is this awakening, this “anxious and resolute opening to the not-open, [that] is the human” (70). “Dasein,” Agamben concludes, “is simply an animal that has learned to become bored” (70).

This is what separates us from the beasts: our sense of tedium, both the tedium of having nothing especially to occupy us, and the tediousness of what does occupy us, what enables us briefly to forget how much we are enclosed by our habits.

Boredom, in this sense, is a non-relation. Or rather, it is the estrangement of our relationship to our normal preoccupations, our captivated relations with our environment. As such, then, it is either pure affectlessness or, perhaps better, a kind of degree zero of affect: the affect proper to the Body without Organs?

I like this decription of ‘boredom’ as a non-relation. A suspension of our everyday reality and drive to function. Let’s have non-purpose, let’s have art!
Art is the perfect place to be bored, to experience the non-relation, to be human again.

 

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