‘A Weariness of the Flesh’: Towards a Theology of Boredom and Fatigue
Wardley, Kenneth Jason
This essay follows two impulses: Jean-Yves Lacoste’s suggestion that philosophy and theology should speak about boredom and about fatigue, just as they do about anguish or joy, and the Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s contention that theological anthropology and philosophy of religion are incoherent without them. Above all, it will try and offer a tentative answer to the question as to what it means to pray when one is tired or bored. To this end, I shall begin by examining some of the traditional theological and philosophical readings of fatigue and boredom (beginning with Jewish and Christian scripture), before turning specifically to Martin Heidegger and Giorgio Agamben, and finally to recent phenomenological accounts, drawing from them some suggestions for a possible theology of boredom and fatigue.