Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Boredom "invented" in the 1760s!?


I think I would like to agree with the author of the book (even though I haven't even read it). But a noteworthy point is that it took the person an entire book to prove how the FEELING of boredom was invented in 1760 - surely one blog post won't change the minds of all those people before me.

It also makes sense to assume that terms are invented as soon as you can associate a feeling or action with them. Suppose the world was a happy place and no one used to cry... Don't you think the first time a person cried, he wanted to describe what he was feeling? He probably couldn't and maybe he wasn't the first one to have actually coined in the verb "to cry" but gradually as more and more people began to cry (because the world became more and more of an unhappy place), they finally got their linguists together to come up with "crying". *phew*

Okay that was a rather lame example, but my idea is, if the term "boredom" was invented, it only means that people were getting bored more and more often. True, maybe an exact figure of 1760 might be a tad bit idealistic, but it won't be too harmful to say that the feeling of "boredom" became so common in the late 1700s that they actually had to make a word for it!

I refer to Teo Kim Sheng's example (in another blog service) of "mood-swings" as being a complex emotion which can be broken down into several others. Suppose one such feeling is to feel lazy in the mornings and active before bed-time. It would not be surprising if this particular feeling gets its own term when more and more people start feeling the same way. And that's probably how the "feeling" and the "term" BOREDOM might have been invented - as the author supposedly proved in his book (in a much better way than this I presume!).

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