Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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Work and boredom.

When seeking work for the sake of the pay, almost all men are alike at present in civilised countries.  To all of them work is a means, and not itself the end; on which account they are not very select in the choice of the work, provided it yields an abundant profit.  But there are rarer men who would rather die than work without enjoyment in their work: the fastidious people, difficult to satisfy, whose object is not served by an abundant profit, unless the work itself be the reward of all rewards.  Artists and contemplative men of all kinds belong to this rare species of human beings; and also the idlers who spend their life in hunting and travelling, or in love affairs and adventures.  They all seek toil and trouble in so far as these are associated with pleasure, and they want the severest and hardest work if it be necessary.  In other respects however they have a resolute idleness, even if it should spell impoverishment, dishonour, and danger to health and life.  They are not so much afraid of boredom as of work without pleasure; indeed they require much boredom if their work is to succeed with them.  For the thinker and for all inventive spirits boredom is the unpleasant "calm" of the soul which precedes the happy voyage and the dancing breezes; he must endure it, he must await the effect it has on him: it is precisely this which lesser natures cannot at all achieve!  It is common to scare away boredom by every means, just as it is common to work without pleasure.  It perhaps distinguishes the Asiatics above the Europeans, that they are capable of a longer and profounder calm; even their narcotics operate slowly and require patience in contrast to the obnoxious suddenness of the European poison, alcohol.  

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