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A Philosophy of Discomfort
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A Philosophy of Discomfort (Paperback)

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A hard chair, an irritating draught of air, an embarrassing conversation - all of these provoke in us a sense of discomfort. Normally we define 'discomfort' simply as a lack of comfort. But which came first, comfort or its lack? A Philosophy of Discomfort anchors the idea of comfort and discomfort as an historical and philosophical concept - a constant push and pull of opposing forces. It argues that discomfort is a relative state, changing as the idea of well-being shifts through epoques and civilizations. Discomfort, the author claims, is of greater importance, even as we maintain the constant struggle to evade pains and privations. He explores notions of comfort over time, and considers examples of housing and interiors, from Japanese housing, the Moroccan casbah to modern city apartments, in which aspects of discomfort - the physical lack of wellbeing - are tolerated and accepted. In so doing, he also unravels the myths of modern comfort. While instinct demands we avoid it, and habit tries to deny it, the author insists that we recognise the uncomfortable and the uneasy as central to our existence.He suggests we should learn to utilize discomfort as a means to another kind of pleasure, a new hedonism, or just a new way to wellbeing.

With solid reasoning and great imagination, A Philosophy of Discomfort offers ideas for integrating such disorder into our daily life, escaping some, changing others, and tolerating those whose causes we appreciate.

Jacques-Pezeu Massabuau lives in Tokyo and is the author of books on design and philosophy.

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