Boredom and a Whole Lot More…
The following interview is based on Snell’s latest book, Acedia and its Discontents: Metaphysical Boredom and the Empire of Desire.
Moore: I somewhat randomly landed upon a talk of yours where you discuss a few of the issues in the book. It was a wonderfully stimulating talk on a subject that I already knew a fair bit about. Still, it motivated me to read your book. Having now readAcedia and its Discontents, I was not disappointed. In short compass (127 pages) you offer the reader much. What motivated you to write Acedia and its Discontents?
Snell: Some years ago, I read a remarkable essay by Michael Hanby entitled “The Ontology of Boredom,” in which he describes the contemporary Western life as deeply affected by a kind of bored nihilism resulting in the judgment that both the world and our own lives were fundamentally meaningless. Unlike earlier struggles with nihilism found in thinkers like Camus or Nietzsche, the nihilism of our time tends less to an epic struggle to find meaning than to an endless search for the stimulation of entertainment and consumption. Our nihilism is of the debonair version—nothing really matters, but have you seen the most recent HBO show?