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: