Laziness and the Cunning of Nature: Kant on Boredom

  • Dmitri Nikulin
Keywords: Boredom, modern subject, Kant, proprium, work, inclination,

Abstract

The paper argues that boredom is a modern phenomenon and should be considered as the inalienable property or proprium of the modern lonely, universal, and tragic subject. As a token of radical inconstancy, imperfection, and fortuitousness, boredom, then, underlies our entire existence. In his Anthropology, Kant undertakes an original attempt to rethink boredom as our propensity toward laziness, that is, the avoidance of tiresome and tedious activity, and thus toward rest. And yet, since absolute rest is tantamount to death, which causes aversion and fear, nature has put an opposite tendency in us, a kind of suffering and pain that becomes the incentive to life-saving activity. Boredom, therefore, has to be considered a painful gift of nature that allows us both to live on and live productively. In this respect, boredom is not only inevitable but also indispensable for our well-being, which, however, is understood from a perspective of the modern autonomous subject.

Author Biography

Dmitri Nikulin

Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy,
New School for Social Research
79 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10003
E-mail: nikulind@newschool.edu

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Published
2020-01-20
How to Cite
NikulinD. (2020). Laziness and the Cunning of Nature: Kant on Boredom. Stasis, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.33280/2310-3817-2019-8-2-122-136
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