12 ago. 2011

Ennui

Is it unethical to experience ennui when people are starving, rioting, and otherwise suffering everywhere on the planet?

No, because that's exactly what ennui is. The pallid human suffering that exists anyway, without a good reason.

7 comentarios:

Vance Maverick dijo...

Hmm, so it's unethical to experience motivated emotions when people are starving elsewhere? Like, I can't get irritated at bureaucratic dysfunction at my place of work? None of us is capable of rising to the standard this implies -- of grading one's attention and feelings toward events across the world strictly according to their significance in universal terms.

Jonathan dijo...

Right. I was kind of going in that direction. I get irritated exactly by that kind of "grading" or calibration of what one is supposed to feel. Motivated emotions need even less justification. I was taking the case of ennui as a limit case.

Vance Maverick dijo...

I was even going to say that disproportion by this standard -- concentrating on the trivia at hand, backgrounding the catastrophes elsewhere -- positively makes us human. Of course, if we become literally incapable of thinking about hunger in Sudan because we care too much about commenting on blogs, that would be a problem.

Thomas dijo...

I sometimes think, I must admit, that ennui is the only ethical response to structural injustices that "the powers that be" could fix simply by deciding to. (World hunger is not a production problem but a distribution problem, etc.) It is unethical to get periodically excited about this or that famine, this or that natural disaster, just because the TV shows you some dramatic "footage". All occasions inform against us. Thus, ennui.

Professor Zero dijo...

I am of course only ennuyée by what I see as irritating tics of padding in writing in Spanish. "Lo que ocurre es que...", etc.

Jonathan dijo...

That is surely an ethical failure on your part. One I share, I might add.

Jonathan dijo...

And for Thomas, yes, exactly. It is not this or that riot that should stir indignation, but we need some vivid example to remind us constantly of the duller structural fixes that are needed.