In Defence of Inactivity: Boredom, Serenity, and Rest in Heaven
“Dynamic” views of heaven are currently popular, in which the blessed spend eternity progressing and developing, as opposed to “static” views, in which they do not. This is, in part, because dynamic views supposedly offer a plausible solution to the “Boredom Problem”, i.e. the claim that, given an infinite amount of time, existence would necessarily become so tedious as to be unbearable. I argue that static views actually deal with this problem more successfully than dynamic views do. I argue that the Boredom Problem itself rests on the assumption that, without activity to keep us interested, we slip into boredom by default. I examine the phenomenon of boredom itself to evaluate that assumption, and argue that it is false. It follows that a person in a state of “serenity” – who desires only to continue as they are – cannot become bored. I relate this to the Christian tradition of conceiving of heaven in terms of rest and inactivity, argue that it is consistent with the claim that the blessed in heaven are embodied, communal, and virtuous (in some sense), and conclude that boredom poses no more problem to this conception of heaven than exhaustion does to the dynamic conception.
Copyright (c) 2018 Jonathan Hill
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