The Personalist Project

The other day we visited Alice von Hildebrand at her apartment in New Rochelle, NY, where she has lived for more than 40 years.  Below is an audio clip of her speaking of an article she's been writing on the problem of boredom in modern society. "Gogi" is a nickname for her husband, Dietrich von Hildebrand. (The photo doesn't do her justice, but I wanted you to be able to picture her as you listen to her voice.)

Alice von Hildebrand boredom: click here to listen

We'll post more soon at the member feed. (Hope you'll join us there!)

Comments (3)


#1, Dec 13, 2011 10:53am

It's very interesting. Lots of people in the education business here complain that, with so many different video games and gadgets and electronic distractions, we don't allow children any time to be bored any more. They theorize that it's during those boring times when children must use their imaginations and develop their capacity for abstract thought.

Of course, these are not children that Dr. von Hildrebrand is discussing, but rather adults acting like petulent children. But the take seem to be that their bad behavior and attitudes stem from too much boredom.

I remember one of my highschool English teachers saying, "There's no greater way to insult yourself than to say, "I'm bored." What you're saying is that you are so dull, so unimaginative that even with all of your capabilities and environments, you can't find one measily thing to do, one paltry thing with which to occupy yourself. Carve your name into your leg if you have to, but don't sink so low as to let yourself be bored."

Jules van Schaijik

#2, Dec 13, 2011 9:00pm

Very interesting indeed. But I suppose the two views on boredom are not really incompatible. What unites them is the idea that persons cannot really thrive unless they live in harmony with the world of truth and values.

The "boredom" that the educators want more of is time without superficial distractions; time in which children are thrown upon their own resources, and given the time (unwanted, in most cases) to discover all sorts of values.

The boredom von Hildebrand regrets, and which leads to sin, is the boredom that accompanies a life given over to mere excitement and subjective satisfaction, the boredom Blaise Pascal describes so well in the Pensees.

Joan Drennen

#3, Dec 27, 2011 6:54am

I was looking forward to listening to this most graceful Lady von Hildebrand and I finally did. I love her voice and her thoughts ( and both of your reactions to her!)

I woke up early this morn seeking just what she said- Poetry-to feed, revive, and teach my soul, and here I have found a bit of inspiration.

Thank You! Encore!!

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