Quotations about   boredom

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Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talks that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence. Inside its cocoon of work or social obligation, the human spirit slumbers for the most part, registering the distinction between pleasure and pain, but not nearly as alert as we pretend. There are periods in the most thrilling day during which nothing happens, and though we continue to exclaim, “I do enjoy myself,” or, “I am horrified,” we are insincere. “As far as I feel anything, it is enjoyment, horror” — it’s no more than that, really, and a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970) English novelist, essayist, critic, librettist [Edward Morgan Forster]
A Passage to India, ch. 14 (1924)
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Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
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It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Jane Eyre, ch. 12 [Jane] (1847)
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Added on 8-Jun-17 | Last updated 8-Jun-17
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“What’s the play about?”
“Nobody seems to know.”
“What do the actors say it’s about?”
“They don’t know,” Susan said. She was as close to embarrassed as she gets.
“The actors don’t know what it’s about?”
“No.”
“How about the Director?”
“Lou says that a play is not required to be about anything.”
“And it runs how long?”
“Four and a half hours with an intermission.” Susan smiled encouragingly. “It’s very controversial,” she said.
“Excellent,” I said. “Maybe a fight will break out.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Walking Shadow (1994)
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, no batteries, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.

king-books-perfect-entertainment-wist_info-quote

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
“Stephen King’s Most Memorable Books of 2007,” Entertainment Weekly (21 Dec 2007)
Added on 14-Dec-16 | Last updated 14-Dec-16
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I knew he was done when he said “But I must be boring you” to me, which is narcissist-speak for “Now I’m bored.”

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The End of All Things (2015)
Added on 18-Oct-16 | Last updated 18-Oct-16
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The two foes of human happiness are pain and boredom.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
“Personality, or What a Man Is,” The Wisdom of Life; Counsels and Maxims [tr. Saunders (1890)]
Added on 6-Apr-16 | Last updated 6-Apr-16
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A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people’s patience.

John Updike (1932-2009) American writer
“Confessions of a Wild Bore,” Assorted Prose (1965)
Added on 23-Mar-16 | Last updated 2-May-16
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Men love better books which please them than those which instruct. Since their ennui troubles them more than their ignorance, they prefer being amused to being informed.

Jean-Antoine Dubois (1765-1848) French Catholic missionary in India [Abbe J. A. Dubois]
(Attributed)
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Earliest found attribution in The New Era (Jan 1873).
Added on 12-Feb-16 | Last updated 12-Feb-16
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The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation.

Shaw - miserable - wist_info quote

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Treatise on Parents and Children, “Children’s Happiness” (1914)
Added on 17-Dec-15 | Last updated 17-Dec-15
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One must, in one’s life, make a choice between boredom and suffering.

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Letter to Claude Hochet (Summer 1800)

Quoted in J. Christopher Herold, Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël (1958). Herold added, "Her decision was emphatically in favor of suffering, which after all was a pleasure compared to boredom."
Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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The penalty of success is to be bored by people who used to snub you.

Nancy Astor (1879-1964) American socialite and English politician [Nancy Witcher Langhorne; Viscountess Astor; Lady Astor]
In the Daily Express (12 Jan 1956)
Added on 21-Nov-14 | Last updated 21-Nov-14
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I’m rarely bored alone; I am often bored in groups and crowds.

Laurie Helgoe (b. 1960) American psychologist and author
Introvert Power, ch. 1 (2008)
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Usually attributed to Helgoe, but cited in the book to "Don, Minnesota."
Added on 16-May-14 | Last updated 16-May-14
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No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Hannibal Courier-Post (6 Mar 1835)
Added on 29-May-12 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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When I have occasionally set myself to consider the different distractions of men, the pains and perils to which they expose themselves at court or in war, whence arise so many quarrels, passions, bold and often bad ventures, etc., I have discovered that all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) French scientist and philosopher
Pensées #139 “Diversion” (1670)
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Alt. trans.: "I have often said that man's unhappiness springs from one thing alone, his incapacity to stay quietly in one room."

Alt. trans.: "All the trouble in the world is due to the fact that a man cannot sit still in a room."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jun-17
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I have not been afraid of excess: excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Summing Up, ch. 15 (1938)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Mar-16
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Making a film means, first of all, to tell a story. … What is drama, after all, but life with the dull bits cut out?

Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) English film director
In François Truffaut, Hitchcock, ch. 4 (1968)

Sometimes paraphrased as "Drama is life with the dull bits cut out."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Aug-16
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