Friday, January 22, 2016

ennui

Today as we were watching Henri the cat with ennui, it made me very upset. I realized that we as people often feel the same way. We enjoy feeling sorry for ourselves, just as underground man did. We almost like to suffer, because then we have something to mope around about. Suffering, whether from boredom in first-world-problem style, or in something that is life threatening like not having enough clean water to drink, is part of the human condition. We are not able to work in an ideal situation like the Utilitarians believed, only because we are selfish individuals that are concerned with our own lives and happiness rather than the good will of everyone as a whole. We constantly suffer from our own self-pity, and are slaves to our emotions. Henri the cat made me understand this reality.

9 comments:

master123 said...

After talking about ennui in class I realized that I go to my mom almost everyday and complain to her saying, "Je m'ennui" (I am bored). Jaclyn, you bring up a good point, how can I be bored and dissatisfied and feel sorry for these emotions, when I have plenty of friends, objects, and activities at my immediate disposal. We (first-world people) live a jaded life, and from Henry's constant pessimism about his easy-going life, we should learn something about being more humble.

Jack Zheng said...

While suffering that is neither physical nor driven by mental illness seems like something only humans are capable of, I think that we can totally ignore it or get rid of it by creating a sense of purpose for our selves since there is no real underlying danger. This sentiment is expressed in Baudelaire's "Be Drunken," where the poet advises the reader to forget about the "burden of time" by indulging in a productive or emotional activity.
While being able to philosophize is a privilege only humans enjoy, I think that too much philosophizing over one's own worth and utter insignificance in the universe could be harmful because existential anxiety can really make us feel lost.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I personally very much enjoyed Henri el chat noir. He was very entertaining. I agree that there is definitely some truth to his attitude and how it relates to the human condition. But I feel that these people need to find their own fulfillment and "get drunk" so to say. Some people just find fulfillment from nothing, and others are not satisfied with anything. But I think there are more pressing matters. These people simply need to work harder to find their happiness.

Belin Manalle said...

Although the video did not have serious intentions, it actually made me very sad. The personification of this cat and his feelings is meant to be a joke but it is actually very serious if you think about it. So many people actually feel this way and it's hard to determine why. Most of these people have the things that they actually need but are still extremely unsatisfied internally. Whether it's from loneliness or just plain boredom with this life it is an awful thing to think of.

madison kahn said...

This viseo made me feel bad for my cat to be honest. I mean at least as people, we can get out and do different things everyday, but my cat has to live the same exact life each day. (Eternal recurrence- Nietzche!) I don't know if my cat really understands that she's doing the same thing everyday, so maybe she's okay with it. However, the problem with humans is definitely due to the fact that we are aware of the repetition. I believe that if we don't try to "keep things interesting," so to speak, we are bound to fall into a state of ennui.

Madison Cummings said...

I definitely felt bad for poor Henri. Although we can find humor in a cat having these feelings, it really would be depressing to live with such a pessimistic view of the world. Going of what Jack said, I think this kind of mentality certainly comes from human's privilege to philosophize on life. If you tell yourself you are small compared with the world, and that life is meaningless than you would live in a constant state of ennui. I think this is why we set goals for ourselves, work for careers, work to further scientific discovery, form relationships with one another, follow a religion, etc. All of those things give life meaning. We should be drunk on life, and enjoy it while it lasts. There is no use wasting time moping around and thinking about how boring life is, because that won't change anything. The only way you could get rid of ennui would be to find something fulfilling in life.

Madison Cummings said...

I would also like to add that today, while watching the Kardashians, Kourtney claimed at one point on the show to be suffering from "FOMO". Now, I have heard this term a few times recently, but have never really bothered to look it up and figure out what it is. But, after looking it up, the definition is "anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website."Now the definition for ennui on google is "a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement." I think that FOMO can definitely be considered a modern or "first-world" form of ennui, because, if you are bored at home and see something exciting happening on social media, you are most likely going to feel more "dissatisfaction( from lack of occupation)" than you already do.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I saw multiple connections between Henri, the existential cat, and The Underground Man. Henri's disapproval with the world and his severe loneliness parallels that of the Underground man. I agree with Jaclyn's connection of Henri's lonesome and depressing living to the utilitarian idea of a perfect society. Just as the underground man expressed how utopia was impossible due to the corrupt and selfish motives and nature of humans. Henri's depressed outlook on life stems from his own vice and shellfish inhibition.

Jack Zheng said...

@Antonio
I don't really think that Henri has any shellfish inhibition. Most cats seem to love to eat fish as well as all kinds of shellfish, and you just have to make sure that the shellfish is thoroughly cooked to protect your cat from bacteria and parasites.