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A Philosophy of Discomfort
by Jacques Pezeu-Massabuau
Reaktion Books, 2012
Paper: 978-1-86189-903-3 | eISBN: 978-1-86189-949-1

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK

A hard chair. An embarrassing conversation. A mosquito bite. All these provoke in us a sense of discomfort, whether an irksome sensation or an experience of unpleasantness. While we normally define “discomfort” simply as a lack of comfort, it is unclear which came first—comfort or the lack of it.


A Philosophy of Discomfort explores comfort and discomfort as historical and philosophical concepts, viewing these ideas as a constant push and pull of opposing forces. Arguing that comfort is a relative state that changes as our concept of well-being evolves, Jacques Pezeu-Massabuau observes our notions of comfort over time, with particular consideration to examples of housing and interiors—in Japanese housing, the Moroccan casbah, and modern city apartments, some aspects of discomfort, or the physical lack of well-being, are tolerated and accepted. Despite the human instinct to avoid discomfort, Pezeu-Massabuau contends that people must recognize the uncomfortable as necessary to existence and suggests they learn to use discomfort as another kind of pleasure, a new hedonism, or simply a new way to achieve well-being. Unraveling the myths of modern comfort, this book serves as a guide to integrating disorder into our daily lives.

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