While boredom in Infinite Jest leads almost exclusively to existential terror, addiction, and solipsism, the expanded notion of boredom in The Pale King holds out the possibility that boredom can lead to something positive, perhaps even constructive, even if it has been one of the underlying conditions for the neoliberal revolution.
The hope that boredom can be converted into something productive is entangled with the novel's preoccupation with concentration.
To be able to reach a state of total concentration means gaining the possibility of transcending boredom.
That it is during the act of storytelling that Drinion's literal transcendence occurs is highly suggestive of the power of narrative to counteract boredom and thus transforms the Meredith-Drinion conversation into an allegory of the relationship between author and reader in The Pale King.
Klapp states in Overload and Boredom, a "social function of redundancy for continuity" since it "surround[s] us with familiar cues assuring us that things are, and will continue to be, what they seem; that people are known and reliable; that debts will be paid, money is good, and so on.
In fact, [section]25 becomes an instructive readerly allegory for understanding how the theme of boredom plays out in The Pale King, both formalistically and conceptually, and typifies Wallace's "aesthetic of boredom.
In a strange way, this mysticism returns us to the original theme of boredom when we consider how the novel treats one mystic in particular, Saint Anthony.
For Saint Anthony and the Desert Fathers, giving in to acedia, or boredom, was a sin; in the secular world of The Pale King, giving in to boredom is ultimately irresponsible and childish--but, in both cases, boredom is an ever-present temptation and succumbing to it is a choice.
Nevertheless, the careful consideration that the reader must give The Pale King, which is put to the test by Wallace's "aesthetics of boredom," is analogical to the attention that American citizens must pay toward civic duty and maintaining their freedoms.
Experience Without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity.