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Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface

Wish I Were Here: Boredom and the Interface

by Mark Kingwell
  • english-from-canada
  • general-other-non-fiction
  • history-politics-current-affairs
  • pop-culture

Are you bored of the endless scroll of your social media feed? Do you swipe left before considering the human being whose face you just summarily rejected? Do you skim articles on your screen in search of intellectual stimulation that never arrives? If so, this book is the philosophical lifeline you have been waiting for.

Offering a timely meditation on the profound effects of constant immersion in technology, also known as the Interface, Wish I Were Here draws on philosophical analysis of boredom and happiness to examine the pressing issues of screen addiction and the lure of online outrage. Without moralizing, Mark Kingwell takes seriously the possibility that current conditions of life and connection are creating hollowed-out human selves. While scrolling, swiping, and clicking suggest purposeful action, such as choosing and connecting with others, Kingwell argues that repeated flicks of the finger provide merely the shadow of meaning, by reducing us to scattered data fragments, Twitter feeds, Instagram posts, and shopping preferences captured by algorithms.

Written in accessible language that references both classical philosophers and contemporary critics, Wish I Were Here turns to philosophy for a cure to the widespread unease that something is amiss in modern waking life.


Mark Kingwell, author

Mark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto and has contributed to publications such as Harper's Magazine, the Walrus, the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, and the Detroit Free Press. He is the author or co-author of nineteen books, including several national bestsellers, and he has won many awards for his writing, including the National Magazine Award for both essays and columns. His previous books have been translated into German, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK).

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: McGill-Queen's University Press



rights available: World

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 216

publication date: 04/01/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book