Detlev Six
Saturday May 22nd, 2010

Boredom Breeds Anxiety.

Anxiety has had quite a career. So far, the culminating point was the “German Angst”. Initially, it started as fear and meant the life-threatening feeling our forefathers experienced when they stood eye to eye with a sabre-toothed tiger.

For a long time, anxiety was coupled with an actual, directly threatening object.

And today?

The workers on the drilling platform on the Gulf of Mexico, too, experience this actual threat. For the inhabitants of the nearest oceanic bordering countries, it is already less threatening. They are not directly in danger of dying. If at all, then they might fear it in the long run. But why are, for instance, the inhabitants of Munich – Neuperlach scared? Will the oil spill over their garden ponds?

The inhabitants of Neuperlach imagine all deep-sea drilling platforms could explode, all oceans could be polluted, all fish poisoned, there could be a shortage of food and they might starve.
In other words, something that happened triggers a concept. It is promoted and heightened by a huge number of media. For instance through the IF blog. Additionally, there are other media, such as scientists, NGOs, politically and economically interested parties. They all work towards the great concept of what consequences a basically small accident can have. In doing so, they are most successful when adhering to an old rule: only bad news is good news. It is one of the best examples for the dialectic approach, which at all times – both with good and bad news – was synonymous for promoting concepts.
The better part of anxiety is the feeling of fear heightened by the media.
Let us return to our forefather. It must be feared that entire packs of humans disappeared soundlessly under layers of ice a few thousand kilometres away from him. There was no news program or IF blog to report about it. No scientist ever built his career on it. No politician wanted to increase his budget on it.

Anxiety is a strange feeling. It is nurtured by the inscrutable complexity of the world and heightened by a constantly improving technology.

Since, however, there are still regions in this world where dying is a rather realistic fear, we should – with all due respect to the possibility that some future scenario might become reality – always also see our anxieties as the result of boredom
Or, as Arthur Schopenhauer said in beautiful (and simplified) words.

There are only two times.

The time of misery and the time of boredom.

Isn’t it nice that we are permitted to live in a time of boredom?

(Translated by EG)

5 Kommentare zu “Boredom Breeds Anxiety.”

  1. rd (Saturday May 22nd, 2010)

    Hi Detlev – du hast mir erklärt, warum ich mich so angstfrei und relaxed fühle!

  2. hans-peter kühn (Sunday May 23rd, 2010)

    Ich will das jetzt nicht langatmig entwickeln aber Angst und ihre Wurzeln, Furcht, Besorgnis usw leisten ja letztlich einen Beitrag zur Art-Erhaltung, damit wird Langweile überlebenswichtig…

    Frohe Pfingsten an alle

  3. six (Sunday May 23rd, 2010)

    That’s right man. Die besten unserer Vorfahren haben sich erst gar nicht auf eine Begegnung mit dem Säbelzahntiger eingelassen – und das war ja dann auch schon eine projezierte Furcht, denn sie standen dem Bedrohungsobjekt bereits nicht mehr direkt gegenüber. Daher der neckische Spruch, dass wir alle die Nachfahren von Angsthasen sind. Mir geht es nur um das exzessive Angstkino, das anderen Interessen dient und uns krank macht.

  4. Chris Wood (Sunday May 23rd, 2010)

    Top marks for making me think. Since retirement, I have too much spare time. There are plenty of things I could do, but I am too old for most of the things I would like to do. (I could still work almost as well as I used to, but nobody will employ me). So I spend time blogging, and thinking about all that is going wrong in the world. But this does not really worry me. I only worry about things I should do. Only my wife tells me these days what I should do, and I have got used to that. So I am a counter-example; I am fairly bored, but do not worry. I think worrying comes largely from childhood, genes and upbringing. Roland lack of worry results in constant activity. My lack of worry results in much watching television.
    But I know an exception to this too. An old work-mate of mine has recently developed intense unexplained worry-symptoms.

  5. Li (Thursday May 27th, 2010)

    Vielen Dank für diese “gscheide” Beschreibung eines Zeitphänomens. Angst oder Langeweile wie Skylla & Karyptis keine echten Optionen?
    Angst entsteht, weil wir aus dem Gestern ein Morgen denken. Würden wir im Hier und Jetzt leben wären wir nicht nur absolut angstfrei, sondern auch offen für Intuition, Freude und Wohlsein. Und jetzt ist auf keinen Fall langweilig. Langweile empfindet man nur durch das Konzentrieren auf eine Zukunft.

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