Boredom - Excerpt

Excerpt from Epistemics of Divine Reality, pp.211-212

Boredom or ennui may be considered to be the metaphysical turbulent emotion that arises out of the paradox of the rational sense of immutability and the empirical sense of mutation. Reason anticipates permanence, changelessness, and immutability as the quality of ultimate reality; however, for experience immutability is an impossibility. Nothing immutable is empirically conceivable; for if something doesn’t move in space, it at least moves in time. The tension between the immutable and the mutable produces the emotion of ennui, the sense of tediousness and vexation associated with the absence of immutable or lasting purpose in the cosmic phenomena of change. Boredom is not due to immutability or mutability but due to the failure of harmony between the both. Thus, one is not bored with the same self, that experiences change. No one expects the consciousness of self to be filled with multiple memory-erasures of itself…. Obviously, the framework of immutability (‘self’ or ‘itself’) is impossible to dispense with, since it is provided by reason. Similarly, mutability is anticipated by experience without which no experience would be possible; all would be a monotony. Boredom, however, results when mutation fails to relate and harmonize with the immutable. Thus, the Preacher says,
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?... All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing….I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.[1]

Thus, in the Preacher’s eyes, work and labour is a burdensome drag and vexation since, first of all, it seems to possess no meaning; but, secondly, it is incessantly unsatiable. Thus, the incessant labour for novelty, creativity, and change in order to find a final immutable satisfaction itself becomes tedious since no immutable satisfaction seems to come out of all labour.
I sought in mine heart to give myself unto wine….I made me great works….I made me gardens and orchards….I made me pools of water….I got me servants and maidens….I gathered me also silver and gold….So I was great, and increased more than all….And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them….Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.[2]

Obviously, neither reason, for whom, as has been seen, immutability comes at the expense of mutability, nor experience, for whom mutability precludes immutability, is able to solve the paradox. The problem is rather existential and can only be resolved in an existentially fulfilling situation.

According to the Bible, this condition of contentment cannot be given by the world of experience; for the world itself is a turbulent changing one, pointing out the fact that as a whole the universe itself has not reached the point of contentment. ‘For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.’[3] Accordingly, Jesus says to His disciples: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.’[4] To the Samaritan woman at the well, He says: ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’[5]

Thus, some kind of an immutable condition (‘never thirst again’) of incessant fulfillment (‘well…springing up’, indicating motion) is the solution for the problem of boredom that arises from the immutable-mutable paradoxical sensation

[1] Ecclesiastes 1: 2, 3, 8, 14 (KJV)
[2] Ecclesiastes 2: 3-11
[3] Romans 8: 22
[4] John 14: 27 (KJV)
[5] John 4: 13, 14 (KJV)


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