“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Friday, June 04, 2010

Notes on where the hell I am so far

My intent, with this Kierkegaard thread, is to bring forward certain changes in the way boredom is experienced – or articulated, or signified – in the 18th and 19th century. Boredom, which, as we saw in Kant, provides a strange motive when needs are satisfied – boredom, a nameless suffering that would even afflict Adam and Eve in paradise, in as much as Adam and Eve are constituted as human beings save for the knowledge of good and evil. Surely in the artificial paradise, built on the surplus value squeezed out of the industrial system under the reign of capitalism, premised on viewing the world under the sign of substitution, whether of commodities or humans, all in the service of the abolition of the human limit, must, if Kant is right, produce boredom in ever greater amounts. And thus let loose a motive that plays a lesser role in the society of the limited good.

In Kierkegaard’s Repetition, repetition is not linked explicitly to boredom – but to a certain impossibility to repeat. But taking repetition otherwise, taking it in relation to the routines that link one substitution to another in a great invisible code, we have another sense of repetition and its effects altogether.

In this world of motivations that are other than that of need’s perpetual pursuit of satisfaction, of routines that become tedious to the human product caught in their meshes, experiment, which both affirms repetition as the principle of validity and – in the aesthetic stage, to use Kierkegaard’s terms – offers an image of the never-before, takes on a poetic life which escapes the philosophers of science and the critics who use the word trivially. Experiment has somehow escaped, in its nubs, the historian – although surely here is matter for the Gnostic historian, vowed to Marx and the witch, to batten on.

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