We have lost our Melancholia and our Black Bile and we’re the worse for the eradication. We now seek happiness through the pit of a pill and the trough of psychotherapy instead of actively working to remove ourselves from despair and founding ourselves in happiness and contentment even though they can never truly be achieved.
It is that struggle to raise our bodies and our thoughts that makes the life worthy of the living. Melancholia has a rich and deadly history in the mark of humankind and no other state of being has been rendered so beautifully in art than that of the Melancholic mind. It’s fascinating how “head on hand” is the rich semiotic used throughout antiquity to indicate this mournfulness of the memory for the living:
Why is the darker side of the human condition memorialized in our shared, universal memories in art and music and poetry and performance and sculpture?
There are few purely joyous renderings of the human experience in the canon of Arts, Literature and the Humanities and the reason for that is we were all born into suffering and despair.
It is our inborn depression and darkness — as necessary and as involuntary as breathing and blinking — that defines our Melancholia and indelibly links us to each other.
Melancholia must be celebrated, not cured or tamped down or made misbegotten with a pill and counseling. Melancholia, and all its pain and internal wounding, confirms who we really are as the brightest and the boldest indicators of living.
Melancholia, and its natural contretemps, creates the hallmark of a human life on earth.