Just another barren thrill

“Diversion at most, through weariness and fatigue, can numb and distract anxiety. Though the bored person hungers for things to happen to him, the disheartening fact is that when they do he empties them of the very meaning he unconsciously yearns for by using them as distractions. In popular culture even the second coming would become just another barren ‘thrill’ to be watched on television till Milton Berle comes on. No distraction can cure boredom, just as the company so unceasingly pursued cannot stave off loneliness. The bored person is lonely for himself, not, as he thinks, for others. He misses the individuality, the capacity for experience from which he is debarred. No distraction can restore it. Hence he goes unrelieved and insatiable.”

-E. Van den Haag, 1957, quoted in Ken Myers’ All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes, 1989, p. 63-64

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