Tuesday, January 23, 2007
The inalienable right to Sadness
I need to talk about sadness AKA depression, melancholy, sorrow. Sadness is described by many poetic words. Some expletives and some slang. When I think of sadness the three words above is what I usually think of to describe it. Pessimism and cynicism are by product. When people think of sadness it is always in the negative as something to get rid of. I am by definition a sad person a trait that runs in my family and the two races that gave birth to me. I wonder why a race would be immersed in sadness, why a family would have it for a trait. Depression is a clinical disease I have yet I am known for my sense of humour. I had a relative who used to say "If it gets any worse I am going to need to laugh." I think it meant that when I reach my sadness saturation point I will need to find humour in the situation. I believe all great humour that is poignant, potent and penetrating is bourne of sadness and nursed in cynicism.
Among the sad we really enjoy gallows-humour that perky people find morbid or offensive. We poke fun at society because we like to jerk the chain of complacent happiness addicts and perky people. Sad people are angry because we are sad because sadness is painful and because society wants us to be perky people. That way we do not joke around at inappropriate times and poke fun at sacred cows. But we need to liberate our sadness. There is beauty in sadness look at all the great poetry and songs sadness has given birth to in humanity and we kick it around like an old dog or worse an old girlfriend or boyfriend.
I believe that before curiousity, it was sadness that caused mankind to develop. My cat is curious and she has yet to build a stone temple or learn to cultivate grain crops. Now I do suffer from Depression and do take meds. But I still am a sad person so I know that sadness is not a disease but depression and its inertia is. When in my twenties in the 80's I used read the success books of captains of industry. What I learned is that as they climb the ladder of success they are rarely bothered by sadness or deep introspection. Which makes it easier to throw competitors to wayside. Hey the successful accumulation of wealth does not mean you have the finer emotions. Just be happy with the next bright ball wealth brings you.
Depression is an illness. depressed is not feeling sad but being engulfed in sadness. Its like the difference between being highly imaginative or being delusional, like being pious and being obsessive compulsive about your religion that you need it plastered around you 24/7. It is not so much quantity of sadness, though it can be a sign, but the quality. High quality melancholy creates the blues, depression kills the singer with drug fueled excess. Alot of artists say they cannot create if they have a mental illness and treat it with drugs. BULLSHIT I have seen people who were talented become focused and great artists when they recover. In the old generation of medication most of them had a sedative affect that did hindered creative work and just living, but that has changed. The clearer the mind, the higher the intellect and the more focused the creativity. You can be on medication and use your sadness now at healthy level to create beauty in the world.
Sadness does not kill but to treat it as a anathema to the human soul creates a climate that kills people for they fear it, to the point were they deny it, allowing it to grow unhindered in a climate of fear and they die trying to self medicate. Or we teach people to medicate any uncomfortable feeling making children and adults complacent happiness addict spending their lives chasing the happiness fix.
I am getting off the merry-go-round and accepting my sadness acknowledging the pain and beauty of this emotion. In Asia the most compasssionate being and the most beautiful being in the universe is Kwan Yin. Everyday she sheds every tear ever shed or will ever be shed easing the pain of the sorrowful as she cries. I think of that as most kind and beautiful thing to do. That even though I am sad and crying that along with me cries Kwan Yin willing to ease my sorrow. Sadness also gives birth to empathy.