In this passage, Kierkegaard, with tongue-in-cheek, discusses the evils of boredom and then proposes a wonderful idea to borrow money to pay off our debts. It’s all pretty funny, especially the last part. When you realize that this is exactly what the U.S. Federal Reserve is in fact doing right now, it perhaps is not quite as hilarious.
Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created man. Adam was bored because he was alone; thus Eve was created. Since that moment, boredom entered the world and grew in quantity in exact proportion to the growth of the population. Adam was bored alone; then Adam and Eve were bored together; then Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were bored en famille. After that, the population of the world increased and the nations were bored en masse. To amuse themselves, they hit upon the notion of building a tower so high that it would reach the sky. The idea itself is just as boring as the tower was high, and provides a terrible demonstration of how boredom gained the upper hand. Then the peoples were dispersed around the world, just as people now travel abroad, but they continued to be bored. And what consequences this boredom had!–mankind stood tall and fell far, first through Eve, then from the Babylonian tower.
On the other hand, what was it that delayed the fall of Rome? Was it not bread and circuses? And what is being done now? Is consideration being given to any means of amusement? On the contrary, our doom is being expedited. There is the idea of convening a consultative assembly. Can anything more boring be imagined, both for the honorable delegates as well as for one who will read and hear about them? The country’s financial situation is to be improved by economizing. Can anything more boring be imagined?
Instead of increasing the debt, they propose to pay it off in installments. From what I know about the current political situation, it would be an easy matter for Denmark to borrow fifteen million rix-dollars. Why does no one consider this? Now and then we hear that someone is a genius and therefore does not pay his debts; why should a nation not do the same, provided we are all agreed? Borrow the fifteen million; use it not to pay off our debts but for public entertainment. Let us celebrate the millennium with in games and merriment. Just as currently there are boxes everywhere for contributions of money, there should be bowls everywhere filled with money. Everything would be gratis: the theater gratis, the women of easy virtue gratis, rides to Deer Park gratis, funerals gratis, one’s funeral eulogy gratis. I say “gratis” for when money is always available, everything is in a certain sense free.
No one should be allowed to own any property. Only in my case would there be an exception. I shall reserve for myself an allowance of one hundred rix-dollars a day deposited in a London bank, partly because I cannot manage on less, partly because I am the one who provided the idea, and finally because who knows whether I shall be able to think up a new idea when the fifteen million are gone.
-Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or, EK p.51