CHARBONNEAU – Unlock the potential of boredom

BOREDOM DOESN’T have to be a drag.

Although everyone experiences boredom from time to time, defining it is hard. To complicate things, there are different kinds says Canadian Philosopher Mark Kingwell -there is the everyday boredom and philosophical boredom.

“The most important distinction, I think, is between the boredom of restless engagement—mostly with technology or with modern life—and philosophical boredom, which is this interesting tradition that runs at least from Schopenhauer and  Heidegger through Kirkegaard. But you could even trace it back to Aristotle where philosophers want us to reflect on the conditions of life when we feel like our desires are stalled. Stalled desire: that’s what boredom is,” he told CBC Radio’s Spark (May 5, 2019).

“Stalled desire” maybe, but I like Adam Phillips’ definition: “the paradoxical wish for a desire.” It’s paradoxical because you think that a wish would end in a desire. Schopenhauer (1788-1870) had a similar idea: “tame longing without any particular object.”


David Charbonneau is a retired TRU electronics instructor who hosts a blog at

About Mel Rothenburger (7456 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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