Modernity, boredom, and war : a suggestive essay
Faculty of Social Sciences. Political Sciences
University of Antwerp
The quest for perpetual peace is a modern phenomenon, associated with a progressive view of history which emerged only in the Enlightenment. In addition, boredom a feeling of ennui associated with a loss of the ability to act is a fundamental mood of the modern age. Modern societies are thus, simultaneously, becoming more peaceful and their inhabitants are becoming more bored. As a means of overcoming our boredom, we are increasingly fascinated by violence, and war is glorified as a means of restoring our ability to act. Empirical illustrations of this thesis are drawn from World War I and from the Bush administration's global War on Terror.