It’s been a long day

Or was Mill concerned that, in a perfect world, with nothing more to strive for, we might simply grow bored? As the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once upliftingly put it, “life swings back and forth like a pendulum between pain and boredom.” When we are not consumed by the desire to achieve something (food, shelter, companionship, wealth, career, status, social reform, etc.), we are tortured by boredom…

The answer, he discovered through reading Wordsworth, is to take refuge in a capacity to be moved by beauty — a capacity to take joy in the quiet contemplation of delicate thoughts, sights, sounds, and feelings, not just titanic struggles…

I hope, and suspect, that Mill is right about this: that we all have the ability to find some durable joy in quietude, normalcy and contemplation. In our personal lives, and in our political lives too, it would be nice if we could escape Schopenhauer’s pendulum:

to simply enjoy where we are, at times; to find some peace in the cessation of motion…

~ Adam Etinson, from Is a Life Without Struggle Worth Living? (NY Times, October 2, 2017)

Notes: Photo: via bea’titudeRelated Posts: It’s been a long day



  1. yes to quietude and contemplation and the little things in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. …and to see ART where other people see nothing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes. The world seems so much sweeter when we step away from the noise, news, over-stimulation. A walk in the woods, Zeke sniffing around, camera in hand, I find such peace.
    Suddenly, I feel the need foe more. Have been bombarded too much lately.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I for one, am trying. But man, these days make it hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pain and boredom is such a depressing pendulum to be on. Way too much German angst for me 😉
    Interesting to think he wrote this before the bombardment of negative stimuli we have these days….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Long days indeed, especially Monday thru Friday. The weekends are too short.

    Liked by 1 person

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