The miracle of melancholia – L.A. Times

Here’s a passage which pretty much speaks for itself, and which I’ve quoted at length below, from the L A Times:

“Melancholia, far from error or defect, is an almost miraculous invitation to rise above the contented status quo and imagine untapped possibilities. We need sorrow, constant and robust, to make us human, alive, sensitive to the sweet rhythms of growth and decay, death and life.

This of course does not mean that we should simply wallow in gloom, that we should wantonly cultivate depression. I’m not out to romanticize mental illnesses that can end in madness or suicide.

On the contrary, following Keats and those like him, I’m valorizing a fundamental emotion too frequently avoided in the American scene. I’m offering hope to those millions who feel guilty for being downhearted. I’m saying that it’s more than all right to descend into introspective gloom. In fact, it is crucial, a call to what might be the best portion of ourselves, those depths where the most lasting truths lie.”

Read more here. It’s well worth the time.

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2 thoughts on “The miracle of melancholia – L.A. Times

  1. Glad you commented on this….people should really talk about this more often or at least be more aware of the issues surrounding your thoughts in this post. Medically diagnosed depression is a terribly debilitating condition – but without what you call “introspective gloom” the human race would have no perspective on what it actually is to feel joy. Thanks!

  2. This reminds me of something an old Czech professor told me, “only those who experience extreme sadness can possibly know the meaning of true joy…”. This is a guy who lived through decades of Soviet oppression, failed revolutions, and the perpetual fear of being snatched up in the middle of the night by the secret police to spend the rest of his days in a Siberian prison. His statement was made in reference to today’s youth, who will never experience his world, and who (in his opinion) are trying to experience some form of depressive chaos through violent video games. Interesting theory – that people who have the privilege of living their whole life in a world of “good times” have a subconscious attraction to the world of anarchy and violence, only to understand why they should feel happier than they actually do. I guess we all need a frame of reference.

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