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From the November 1999 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 46., No. 11)

People

Beautiful Boredom

Kara J. Peterson, World Press Review associate editor

To avoid bore­dom, Lars Svendsen, a 28-year-old writer, philosopher, and book reviewer, decided to become an expert on the sub­ject. The result of his anti-boredom remedy is now available in book form as The Philosophy of Boredom.

"The book is proof that boredom is not necessarily boring, but the book's conclusion means that Svendsen should perhaps have enjoyed his boredom be­fore fleeing from it to write about it," writes Ingvild Torsen in Oslo's Dagsavisen.

Svendsen argues that boredom is not necessarily a bad thing. "Today, boredom is seen almost invariably as some­thing negative, but it can also be a source of creativity," he said. "Being bored is one of our most important sources of motivation, both for positive and nega­tive things. Those who never learn that existence necessarily includes some bore­dom will spend their whole lives trying to flee it. And then boredom will control their whole lives."

Sounding a slightly mystical note, Svendsen advises, "Boredom has no solution. But you can change the problem by accepting that existence includes a lot of boredom. Boredom gives weight to life; it holds it in place. In the depths of boredom, you are thrown back upon yourself, so it is a good source of self­ - knowledge."

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