August 30, 2009

Alienated gorillas

Found an interesting quote (emphasis mine):
A zoologist who observed gorillas in their native habitat was amazed by the uniformity of their life and their vast idleness. Hours and hours without doing anything. Was boredom unknown to them? This is indeed a question raised by a human, a busy ape. Far from fleeing monotony, animals crave it, and what they most dread is to see it end. For it ends, only to be replaced by fear, the cause of all activity. Inaction is divine; yet it is against inaction that man has rebelled. Man alone, in nature, is incapable of enduring monotony, man alone wants something to happen at all costs—something, anything.... Thereby he shows himself unworthy of his ancestor: the need for novelty is the characteristic of an alienated gorilla.  - E.M. Cioran (b. 1911), Rumanian-born French philosopher. The Trouble with Being Born, ch. 11, trans. by Richard Howard, Seaver Books (1976).
Something to think about next time you crib about being bored, as I was doing this afternoon. What do I know -- I am an alienated gorilla!

Also: "Boredom and fear keep us working and obeying the laws." - Mason Cooley, who also opined that

Also, Nietzsche said:
Only the most acute and active animals are capable of boredom.
and also that:

One receives as reward for much ennui, despondency, boredom—such as a solitude without friends, books, duties, passions must bring with it—those quarter-hours of profoundest contemplation within oneself and nature. He who completely entrenches himself against boredom also entrenches himself against himself: he will never get to drink the strongest refreshing draught from his own innermost fountain.  
So, drink from the refreshing draught of my innermost fountain I have to. There is nothing else to salvage this despondency and ennui.

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