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 Melancholy and the Daimonic.

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PostSubject: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:45 pm

Quote :
Saturn and Melancholy: The Force of the Daimonic

Nov. 29th, 2010 at 1:16 PM
"Gbeyn pushes the allegory even farther than Durer had done. He not only represents the nature of the melancholic symbolically but raises him to the stature of a semi·divine being, remote from all contact with the world of men, who yet carries his human sorrow with him into the spaces of the heavens."
- Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art

A step-dame Night of mind about us clings,
Who broods beneath her hell-obscuring wings,
Worlds of confusion, where the soul defamed,
The body had been better never framed...
- George Chapman, Shadow of the Night

Sometimes scholarship can lead one into a maze that resonates unto the farthest reaches of the mind's dark light. As I was reading Shadow of the Night by George Chapman I began a meditation on inspiration and the daimonic.:

As Barbara L. Lakin in a superb work The Magus and the Poet: Bruno and Chapman's The Shadow of the Night says:

"George Chapman's long allegorical poems puzzle, annoy, and frustrate most readers and have done so for nearly four hundred years. Our modern skeptical minds have little sympathy for, or patience with, the abstruse doctrines that fascinated Chapman."

Yet, for me, it is those very abstruse and arcane monstrosities of scholarly learning that awaken my imagination and bring forth visions that tilt the balance of my mind toward ideas and images that are both uncanny and full of that strangeness, or - dare I say it, weirdness, I love. As Dame Francis Yates once said in her book, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, speaking of those learned poets and scholars of The School of Night:

"That Saturn, the Saturn of the Renaissance, star of highest and deepest learning and of profoundly ascetic life, is the guiding star of this group gives the clue to their place in the history of thought. These Elizabethan noblemen and their learned friends are Saturnians, following the ‘revalued’ Saturn of the Renaissance in their devotion to deep scientific studies and lofty moral and religious aims.(p. 158)"

George Chapman has retained to this day the considerable reputation he achieved in his own lifetime. Playwright, poet, translator, he is still considered an exceptionally important figure in the English Renaissance. His plays, particularly, were adapted for the stage throughout the Restoration, and, though his reputation dipped during most of the eighteenth century, the nineteenth saw a marked revival of interest in Chapman's works, perhaps best summed up in John Keats's well-known sonnet "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer" (1816).



Chapman's poem explicates what Yates terms the three stages of Melancholy used by the poet following the path Cornelius Agrippa laid down in the three volumes of his De Occult Philosophia:

"Agrippa quotes the definitions of inspired melancholy from Pseudo-Aristotle and classifies the inspiration, or demonic power which emanates from it, into three types, or grades, or stages. The first stage is when the inspired melancholy fills the imagination, producing wonderful instruction in the manual arts, through which a man may suddenly become a painter or an architect or some outstanding master in an art. The second stage of inspired melancholy is when the inspiration seizes on the reason, whereby it obtains knowledge of natural and human things; through the inspired reason a man becomes suddenly a philosopher, or a prophet. But when, through the melancholic inspiration, the soul soars to the intellect, or the mens, it learns the secret of divine matters, the law of God, the angelic hierarchies, or the emergence of new religions."

The idea that inspiration brings forth the 'daemonic' is a powerful tool in the understanding of not only this poem but Renaissance thought in general. What is the daemonic?

Etymology
The genesis of the idea "daimon" is difficult to pin down. The term proper is thought to have originated with the Greeks, by way of Latin -- dæmon: "spirit", derived from Greek -- daimon (gen. daimonos): "lesser god, guiding spirit, tutelary deity".

For the Minoan (3000-1100 BC) and Mycenaean (1500-1100 BC), "daimons" were seen as attendants or servants to the deities, possessing spiritual power. Later, the term "daimon" was used by writers such as Homer (8th century BC), Hesiod, and Plato as a synonym for theos , or god. Some scholars, like van der Leeuw, suggest a distinction between the terms: whereas theos was the personification of a god (e.g. Zeus), daimon referred to something inderteminate, invisible, incorporeal, and unknown..

The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Empedocles (5th century BC) later employed the term in describing the psyche or soul. Similarly, those such as Plutarch (1st century AD) suggested a view of the daimon as being an amorphous mental phenomenon, an occasion of mortals to come in contact with a great spiritual power.

The earliest pre-Christian conception of daimons or daimones also considered them ambiguous -- not exclusively evil. But while daimons may have initially been seen as potentially good and evil, constructive and destructive, left to each man to relate to -- the term eventually came to embody a purely evil connotation, with Xenocrates perhaps being one of the first to popularize this colloquial use.

Some modern interpreters have thrown back to a more traditional understanding of the term. For example, the psychologist Rollo May defines the daimonic as "any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person... The daimonic can be either creative or destructive, but it is normally both... The daimonic is obviously not an entity but refers to a fundamental, archetypal function of human experience--an existential reality".

In Psychology
As Rollo May writes, "The daimonic refers to the power of nature rather than the superego, and is beyond good and evil. Nor is it man's 'recall to himself' as Heidegger and later Fromm have argued, for its source lies in those realms where the self is rooted in natural forces which go beyond the self and are felt as the grasp of fate upon us. The daimonic arises from the ground of being rather than the self as such."

The daimonic is capable of both positive and negative outcomes and is a naturally occurring human impulse or urge within everyone to affirm, assert, perpetuate and increase the self. It is capable of both positive and negative outcomes and must be integrated into consciousness through the process of therapy in order to be harnessed into creative energy.

If each Self possesses a process of individuation, an involuntary and natural development towards individual maturity and harmony with collective human nature, then its driver is the daimonic, the force which seeks to overcome the obstacles to development, whatever the cost, both guide and guardian.

The demands of the daimonic force upon the individual can be frightening, contemporarily unorthodox, and even overwhelming. With its obligation to protect the complete maturation of the individual and the unification of opposing forces within the Self, the inner urge can come in the form of a sudden journey (either intentional or serendipitous), a psychological illness, or simply neurotic and off-center behavior. Jung writes, "The daimon throws us down, makes us traitors to our ideals and cherished convictions — traitors to the selves we thought we were." It is no wonder Yeats described it as that "other Will", the incorrigible will of man to achieve his humanity.

In Literature
The journey from innocence to experience is not an idea that originated with this term; rather the Hero's Journey is a topic older than literature itself. But the "daimonic" subsequently became a focus of the English Romantic movement in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Typically, the daimonic tale centers around the Solitary, the central character of the story, who usually is introduced in innocence, wealth, and often arrogance. But under the masks of control and order lies a corruption and unconscious desire towards disintegration. Some event, either external or internal, leads the character towards some type of isolation where he is forced to confront his daimons.

The fall, or the descent, (from hubris) into the liminal world where light and dark meet is usually very dramatic and often torturing for the hero and the audience alike, and comes in myriad forms. In the depths, in hitting bottom, he ultimately discovers his own fate and tragedy ( catharsis), and in a final climax is either broken or driven towards rebirth and self-knowledge. The glory of the daimonic is in the humble resurrection, though it claims more than it sets free, as many a foolish men are drawn into its vacuum never to return. As Stefan Zweig writes, the hero is unique for "he becomes the daimon's master instead of the daimon's thrall".

The daimonic has always been, and continues to be, a great source of creativity, inspiration, and fascination in all forms of art. [1]

Harold Bloom, in the preface of The Anxiety of Influence, reminds us that within Shakespeare—and therefore within English-speaking culture—the word influence has two different, though related, meanings. One involves the troubling way an individual can be overtaken by something (traditionally, forces from the moon and other celestial bodies) or someone outside of self; the other more directly describes the welcome force of inspiration.

Bloom's theory of poetic influence regards the development of Western literature as a process of borrowing and misreading. Writers find their creative inspiration in previous writers and begin by imitating those writers; in order to develop a poetic voice of their own, however, they must make their own work different from that of their precursors. As a result, Bloom argues, authors of real power must inevitably "misread" their precursors' works in order to make room for fresh imaginings.

As he said in The Anxiety of Influence:

"Poetic influence-when it involves two strong, authentic poets-always proceeds by a misreading of the prior poet, an act of creative correction that is actually and necessarily a misinterpretation. The history of fruitful poetic influence, which is to say the main tradition of Western poetry since the Renaissance, is a history of anxiety and self-saving caricature, of distortion, of perverse, willful revisionism without which modem poetry as such could not exist."(p. 30)

As for inspiration bringing forth the 'daimonic' the poet, William Butler Yeats, wrote in his book Mythologies: "I think it was Heraclitus who said: the Daimon is our destiny. When I think of life as a struggle with the Daimon who would ever set us to the hardest work among those not impossible, I understand why there is a deep enmity between a man and his destiny, and why a man loves nothing but his destiny.... I am persuaded that the Daimon delivers and deceives us, and that he wove the netting from the stars and threw the net from his shoulder...." This idea of the daimon as a hard taskmaster who leads us through the difficult and painful initiations of life along the road to our destiny is a powerful symbol of all that ancient force residing within us. As Patrick Horpur says about Soul and Daimon on RealitySandwich:

"The daimon can be understood, like the ka, as a personification of the ancestors -- an apt metaphor because, like the daimon, the ancestors are both intimately related to us yet, like the dead, separate and remote. It can be thought of as a specific ancestor, as the Inuit believe, standing in for our fledgling souls until its wings are formed and it can fly for itself. It is like the voice of the unconscious, or of our ‘higher selves'. It is the ‘still small voice' we must listen for in the midst of the turbulence and earthquake of existence. If it is not itself a god, as it may very well be, it is the intermediary through whom we communicate with the gods and they with us. It can be a Doppelgänger whose estrangement means illness, madness or even death. It is most alive when we are dying, most conscious when we sleep. It directs the unfolding of our souls, but it does not itself develop. It is a paradox."

Matt Cardin on Demon Muse explains it this way: "this discipline of embracing your inner genius, is the alignment of your creative act with your deep creative intent. It’s about divining your daemonic passion and then letting this be your guide when you write..."

Cardin quotes a passage from H.P. Lovecraft's letters that relate an almost gnostic insight into the daimonic:

"the impulse which justifies authorship. . . . The time to begin writing is when the events of the world seem to suggest things larger than the world — strangenesses and patterns and rhythms and uniquities of combination which no one ever saw or heard before, but which are so vast and marvellous and beautiful that they absolutely demand proclamation with a fanfare of silver trumpets. Space and time become vitalised with literary significance when they begin to make us subtly homesick for something ‘out of space, out of time.’ . . . To find those other lives, other worlds, and other dreamlands, is the true author’s task. That is what literature is; and if any piece of writing is motivated by anything apart from this mystic and never-finished quest, it is base and unjustified imitation.

– H.P. Lovecraft, Selected Letters II (1925-1929)"

That objective reality becomes 'vitalised' when it begins "to make us subtly homesick for something 'out of space, out of time'" is the central paradox of modern gnostic literature. As Thomas Ligotti writes: "To perceive, even if mistakenly, that all one's steps have been heading toward a prearranged appointment, to realize one has come face to face with what seems to have been waiting all along — this is the necessary framework, the supporting skeleton of the weird."

In his book, The Gnostic Religion, Hans Jonas unravels the enigmatic instability which lies at the heart of alienation and homesickness:

“The alien is that which stems from elsewhere and does not belong here. To those who belong here it is thus the strange, the unfamiliar and incomprehensible; but their world on its part is just as incomprehensible to the alien that comes to dwell here, and like a foreign land where it is far from home. Then it suffers the lot of the stranger who is lonely, unprotected, uncomprehended, and uncomprehending in a situation full of danger. Anguish and homesickness are part of a stranger’s lot. The stranger who does not know the ways of the foreign land wanders about lost; if he learns its ways too well, he forgets that he is a stranger and gets lost in a different sense by succumbing to the lure of the alien world and becoming estranged from his own origin. Then he has become a “son of the house”. This too is part of the alien’s fate. In his alienation from himself the distress has gone, but this very fact is the culmination of the stranger’s tragedy. The recollection of his own alienness, the recognition of his place of exile for what it is, is the first step back; the awakened homesickness is the beginning of the return. All this belongs to the “suffering” side of alienness. Yet with relation to its origin it is at the same time a mark of excellence, a source of power and of a secret life unknown to the environment and in the last resort impregnable to it, as it is incomprehensible to the creatures of this world. This superiority of the alien which distinguishes it even here, though secretly, is its manifest glory in its own native realm, which is outside this world. In such position the alien is the remote, the inaccessible, and its strangeness means majesty.” (p 50)

If we are in exile in this loneliness, this alienation, lost amid the starry vastnesses of this great cosmic nightmare what else do we have but those inner guides, those daimones to help us along the way toward our true home among the stars? Maybe we should invoke their power as Chapman does in his poem:

All you possess'd with indepressed spirits,
Endued with nimble, and aspiring wits,
Come consecrate with me, to sacred Night
Your whole endeavours, and detest the the light
Sweet Peace's richest crown is made of stars,
Most certain guides of honour'd mariners,
No pen can anything eternal write,
That is not steep 'd in humour of the Night.

But before you go and get all googly-eyed remember the words of forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Diamond who tells us of the two sides of genius in his article on Phil Spectre:

"I term these two distinct types or personalities eudaimonic genius or dysdaimonic genius. While each have the innate capacity--like all of us to some extent--for both creativity and evil, in contrast to the dysdaimonic genius, the eudaimonic genius is the more mature, conscious, integrated, whole, balanced and self-possessed person. He or she has learned to deal relatively constructively with their inner demons, whereas the dysdaimonic genius has not. The dysdaimonic genius embodies a confounding combination of exceptional creative powers juxtaposed with equally strong tendencies toward psychopathology, perversity, destructiveness, cruelty and evil."

The idea that some artists are able to integrate their daimons in a creative manner, and that others are used by them to destructive ends should be a warning to all. As he says of anger: "An archetypal human emotion. Chronic repression or suppression of anger is counterproductive and, ultimately, futile and dangerous. This is why we as a culture need to encourage the acceptance of anger as a natural phenomenon, and teach children, adolescents and young adults how to manage and express it more constructively."

Sublime melancholy is that dark humor that since the early days of the Greeks has served artists of all types well in its ability to inspire. The term comes from the ancient Greek melas (black) and chole (gall). The Greeks believed that it was bile in the body that produced the despair and depression that so characterized the poets and artists of their time. In medieval times, scholars and artists formed "melancholy clubs" and in 1621, Briton Robert Burton wrote "Anatomy of Melancholy," the first systematic research into the phenomena.

Since Dürer's work appeared in Germany in the 16th century, no country has come to be so associated with melancholy through its literature, art and philosophy, particularly in the Romantic period following the Enlightenment which glorified the feeling.

"Melancholy characterizes those with a superb sense of the sublime," wrote German philosopher Immanuel Kant in his work "Observations on the Feelings of the Beautiful and Sublime" in 1764. According to his definition, sublime feelings arouse both enjoyment and dread.

German writer Heinrich Heine took up the theme later in his famous poem, "Die Lorelei."

"I do not know what haunts me, what saddened my mind all day," he wrote.

We have all experienced moments of melancholy when coming upon certain ruins or ancient buildings crumbling into dust. Ruins express the passage of time, and more specifically the qualities of impermanence and transience, all closely associated with melancholy. Ruins induce a contemplative state of mind, suggestive of events and lives from past ages that have come to an end. These decaying structures leave behind only fragments of past lives and events, enticing imagination to reconstruct narratives around, for example, well-preserved ruined abbeys, castles or the overgrown foundations of once-lived in stone cottages. The reflective stance may be part imagination, part memory, but, in any case, melancholy attaches itself to various aspects of the experience: the deserted places of many ruins, the way that ruins generally express the impermanence of culture, or more specifically to, say, the associations made between a ruin and events surrounding it. Here, again, we find shades of both positive and negative feeling in nostalgia for another time and place now gone, for the glory of past times, and so on. As surviving structures, many ruins symbolize human feats, but this is coupled with an awareness that as the forces of nature take control, no feat is immune to the ravages of time.[2]

When mourning transforms itself into melancholy, when the desperation of a loss has calmed down and is mixed with pleasurable memories, then we have an instance of melancholy, which in itself seems to create an aesthetic context of its own. The calmness and reflection involved in melancholy resemble the traditional requirement of contemplation in the aesthetic response. Melancholy in this everyday context may lack the intensity of artistic experience, but its refined harmony is no less a significant aesthetic feature. The pleasure of melancholy does not come from excitement or intensity, but indeed rather from overall harmony we are experiencing.

Melancholy is comprised of the two primary qualities of coldness and dryness - and it is the active quality of coldness that dominates its passive partner. As Scott Whitters shows us in the "Melancholy temperament, we see a tendency to conserve, condense and accumulate feelings, thoughts and experiences into a structured, compact and resistant way of life."[3]

This is where Saturn's influence comes in, for Saturn is naturally cold and dry, and has dominion over the seat of melancholy in the body - the spleen. The spleen was seen to be the receptacle of melancholy and its associated humour, black bile. Black bile, when attracted to the stomach, stimulates appetite and strengthens the retentive virtue of the stomach. It creates the want for food and the ability to hold onto that food until all of the nutrient is removed. Applying this to the melancholic mind, we can understand the craving for information and experiences, and the deep cogitations to which this data is then subject.

Lily said of Saturn that he was the "author of mischief", that as ruler of the Twelfth House(i.e., the house of Witchcraft) he was associated with the study of the occult. "So whilst Saturn finds joy in the house of "sorrow, tribulation, Imprisonments, all manner of affliction, self undoing etc." (CA., p.56), it must be said that it is equally at home with the occult mysteries and, from a modern point of view, the sub-conscious and its musings. Melancholic people may be high-minded self-lovers, but "the finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself". (Michel de Montaigne, Of Solitude)."

When a man of melancholic temperament is ruled by that other benefactor Mercury he becomes as Lily states it:

"... a man of subtil and politick brain, intellect and cogitation; an excellent disputant or Logician, arguing with learning and discretion, and using much eloquence in his speech, a searcher into all types of Mysteries and Learning … a man of unwearied fancy, curious in the search of any occult knowledge; able by his own Genius to produce wonders; given to divination and the more secret knowledge... (CA., p.77)"

So an artist formed of the daimonic force of Saturn and Mercury combines the depth, solitude and introversion with the fast pace searching, learning, and intellectual resilience that produces a "temperament that naturally lends itself to contemplative pursuits."

In Margot and Rudolf Wittkower's fine study, Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists, reads - as one critic stated it: "like Vasari’s Lives of the Artists rewritten as an appendix to Burton—a colorful tour of eccentricity and genius, populated by all manner of rogues, gentlemen, penny-pinchers, hypochondriacs, and enduring masters. Every page has a diverting tale, and the cumulative effect is to set the reader’s mind reeling."

What is interesting in their study is after the Wittkowers process all the available data they show that, in fact, artists were likely no more saturnine—or bizzaro—than anyone else. Like Harold Bloom with his theory of 'misreading' the Wittkowers discover that “misinterpretation is one of the great stimuli for keeping the past alive.” Though convincingly debunking the “mad artist” ideal, they recognize that “the notion…is a historical reality and by brushing it aside as mistaken, one denies the existence of a generic and deeply significant symbol.”

Julia Kristeva in On The Melancholic Imaginary states, succinctly:

"Melancholy is amorous passion's sombre lining. A sorrowful pleasure, this lugubrious intoxication constitutes the banal background from which our ideals or euphoria break away as much as that fleeting lucidity which breaks the trance entwining two people together. Conscious that we are destined to lose our loves, we are perhaps even more grieved to notice in our lover the shadow of a loved object, already lost."

It is this lost object, this forever gone liminal memory of something on the edge of awareness, that haunts us and awakens that daimonic force that keeps us wanting to recapture the lost paradises of our heart's desire. The nihilist would on the other hand tell us that there is no big 'Other', no lost object, either inside or outside to be recovered, therefore the only solution to the melancholic's temperament is either of suicide or murder. As Kristeva says, "The metaphysical meaning of these patterns of behaviour is, of course, the nihilist rejection of the supreme Value which provokes... the believer's revolt against this erasure of the transcendental."

At the beginning of our century the twin markers of our transcendental heritage of 'God' and 'Self' have been erased, yet they still haunt the limnings of our dark horizon, and still awaken that melancholic despair beyond which there is no escape. How best to live beyond this despair, this abject nihilism?

H.P. Lovecraft in the opening of The Haunter of the Dark relates:

I have seen the Dark Universe Yawning
Where the Black Planets roll without aim
Where they roll in their horror unheeded
Without knowledge, or luster, or name...

This repetition, this negative incision in the fabric of reality, this invocation of the black bile of a melancholic temperament forms the basis of that cosmic alienation at the heart of modern horror in all its forms. The artists that form this nucleus of melancholics have been called by Thomas Ligotti "a gallery of eccentric, for the most part grim-minded, and occasionaly demented figures in world literature... "[6]

As melancholy is the door to supernatural, terror, sadness, grief, unreason, madness, unconsciousness, even power of intellect, it challenges the boundaries of truth and reality. Shakespeare, who considered melancholy as a key to the truth, heightened the disease, whose symptoms were feared for many centuries. Thereafter Gothic literature embodied the nature of melancholy by a nostalgic attitude toward the old texts whose elements were of supernatural character and switched the power of literature on the melancholic side. Most interesting, all types of melancholy are to be found in every Gothic text, where the characteristics of both Gothic literature and characters are those of different types of melancholy and that is the explanation of finding the same elements in both contexts. Walpole took another step forward and made explicit the fruitfulness of melancholy on the trip to the Truth:

“The dead have exhausted the power of deceiving” (Watt, p.38)[7]




1 Encylopedia, reference.com
2 Melancholy as an Aesthetic Emotion, Emily Brady and Arto Haapala (Contemporary Aesthetics)
3 The Saturnine Temperament, Scott Whitters
4 Lilly, William, Christian Astrology. 1647. Regulus
5 ibid. The Saturnine Temperament
6 Writers of the Supernatural by Darrell Schweitzer
7 Gothic Literature Personified by Melancholy/ Malady in Literature (2005, The Netherlands) by Blerina Berberi

http://earth-wizard.livejournal.com/41840.html

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"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:43 pm

Heidegger wrote:
"Freedom is only to be found where there is burden to be shouldered. In creative achievements this burden always represents an imperative and a need that weighs heavily upon man’s mood, so that he comes to be in a mood of melancholy. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, whether we are clearly aware of the fact or not, whether we speak at length about it or not. All creative action resides in a mood of melancholy, but this is not to say that everyone in a melancholy mood is creative."

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:46 pm

Quote :
"Aware of more positive visions of melancholia in Euripides and Plato, Aristotle’s disciple coun- tered this unfavorable perspective. In the plays of Euripides, the most extreme symptoms of the black disease—delusion and dread—often vex great heroes. The madness of Heracles, Ajax, and Bellerophon results not from petty moroseness but from brilliant defiance.8 Plato developed this idea further when he associated frenzy, furor, with visionary ecstasy. In the Phaedrus (c. 380 BC), Socrates admits that frenzy is perhaps an evil, but it also is much more: “We receive the greatest benefits through frenzy . . . in so far as it is sent as a divine gift.” Hence, although Plato did not connect melancholy with holy madness—he in fact related the black disease to moral weakness—he married the main symptom of melancholy to greatness.


According to Ficino, melancholy is most likely to afflict not sullen neurotics but pro- found scholars. This is so for three reasons. First, meditative souls are born under the planetary influences of Mercury, “who invites us to begin our studies,” and Saturn, “who works them out and has us stick to them and make discoveries.” These planets pass to their children their natures: coldness and dryness—characteristics necessary for calm, lengthy study but also traits of black bile, associated with the frigid, desiccated core of the earth. To this heavenly cause of scholarly melancholy, Ficino adds a natural one. In pursuing knowledge, gloomy scholars must pull their souls from “external to internal things, as if moving from the circumference to the center.” To penetrate to the center of their beings, they must remain “very still,” must “gather [themselves] at the center.” Fixed on the middle of their beings, they dwell in a place very much like “the center of the earth itself, which resembles black bile.” One with the earth’s middle, these scholars descend to the “center of each thing.” Delving to the core, they paradoxically rise to the “highest things,” for the dark axis of creatures is in accord with melancholy Saturn, “the highest of planets.” The human cause of the scholar’s melancholy is inseparable from the heavenly and natural causes. Influenced by Saturn to migrate to the center, sad scholars contract their own beings and thus dry and freeze their brains and hearts, turning both “earthly and melancholy.” Moreover, this perpetual thinking, a movement between circumference and center, external and internal, exhausts the spirit. To continue in their difficult motions, tired spirits require the nourishment of thin blood. These spirits’ consuming of lighter, clearer blood leaves the remaining blood “dense, dry, and black.” Together, these causes of scholarly melancholy separate mind from body. Obsessed with “incorporeal things”—invisible interiors and vague interstices—melancholy scholars dwell on thresholds between souls and bodies. Holding to the “bodiless truths” of the invisible, they turn their bodies “half souls”; unable to escape bodies entirely, they remain partly corporeal.

Ficino, a student of Plato, does not believe that melancholy thinkers should engage in endless vacillations between boundary and center, depth and height, body and soul. He holds that dejected philosophers should end in spiritual tranquility—find rest on the still point of the spir- itual axis, in the untroubled air of Saturn’s sphere, in the palaces beyond space and time. Yet, until thinkers achieve these unearthly topoi—if ever—they must suffer the pains of his special geniuses, their double sights: mania. Recalling the theories of Plato and the Aristotelian author of Problems, Ficino admits that “the poetic doors are beaten on in vain without rage,” that “all men . . . who are distinguished in some faculty are melancholics.”

In his Book on Life, Ficino hopes to ease the pains of this furor without extinguishing its lights, to instruct sad geniuses to channel their nervous dispositions into salubrious directions. He offers remedies for debilitating melancholy, most of which center on the idea that saturnine interiority can be counterbalanced by exteriority. Sullen philosophers might eat foods associated with the social impulses of Jove or the amorous designs of Venus. They might surround themselves with colors imbued with joviality and flirtatiousness. They might, through the aid of magical talismans, draw nourishment from Jupiter’s conviviality and Venus’s libido."

The Melancholy Android

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:50 pm

Sloterdijk wrote:
Descents into foreign tunnels do not lead you back into the incomparable black monochrome background from which your life began to emerge as a vibrating figure long ago. Seeing in the only darkness that concerns you cannot be practiced on a different darkness; there is no alternative to confronting your own black monochrome. Whoever tackles this will soon understand that life is deeper than one’s autobiography; writing never penetrates far enough into one’s own blackness. We cannot write down what we begin as.” [Bubbles]
Quote :
In subjective human action, there is often a feeling that one is not merely acting, but both acting and watching one’s self act simultaneously. There is a feeling often, of being “With” one’s self, even when one is also alone. To unlock this perception means to feel that one cannot ever truly be “by” one’s self, but only ever “With” one’s self. To lose the sense of being “With” one’s self, is to undergo a sensation of betrayal and guilt, and to experience depression. During periods of intense melancholia, there seems to be a separate organ in the body, an organ of emptiness, like a lung with no function, exerting pressure in its emptiness. There is an abandonment of function within the body – a loss suffered internally.

Sloterdijk conjures a specific concept of the genius. The genius for Sloterdijk, is a protective spirit, a presence that accompanies each individual, beginning with time spent in utero. The genius is a sort of double of each individual – we each have an other that accompanies us throughout life, allowing us to feel as though we can exist both “by” ourselves and also “with” ourselves. Sloterdijk attaches intimate importance on the presence of the placenta, and the individual’s attachment to the placenta by the umbilical chord. “In terms of its dramatic content, what one generally calls “cutting the cord” is the introduction of the child into the sphere of ego-forming clarity. To cut means to state individuality with the knife.” (388 Sloterdijk)

The placenta functions as a tangible physical object that is capable of containing the abstract concept of the “With” that accompanies us from our earliest vibrations. The disposal and neglect of the placenta isn’t so much important in its physical action, as it is in what it says about our thinking about our intimate companionship with our genius and ourselves. The forgotten placenta symbolizes our forgotten genius, and introduction into an institutionalized individualism. “There are some indications that modern individualism could only enter its intense phase in the second half of the eighteenth century, when the general clinical and cultural excommunication of the placenta began.” (384 Sloterdijk)

“But where, as in the most recent part of the Modern Age, the With-space is annulled and withdrawn from the start through the elimination of the placenta, the individual increasingly falls prey to the manic collectives and total mothers – and, in their absence, to depression. From that point on, the individual is driven ever deeper into the fatal choice between and autistically defiant decent into loneliness and devourment by obsession communities, whether in pairs or larger groups. On the way into apparent willfulness, one arrives at something else: the human without a protective spirit, the individual without an amulet, the self without a space. If individuals do not succeed in augmenting and stabilizing themselves in successfully practiced loneliness techniques – artistic exercises and written soliloquies, for example – they are predestined to be absorbed by totalitarian collectives. For the individual whose double disappeared in the garbage always has good reason to prove to himself that he was right to survive without his With, rather than keeping his intimate other company in the garbage…they deny that they are constantly repeating a betrayal of their most intimate companion in their remorselessly autonomous being.”(386)

To regain a sense of connection to ones personal genius and sense of “With”, one must search the interior, confront a blackness that is different from where we began. The genius has to be trusted or else we risk losing ourselves in a misrecognized connection to a force more controlling of our bodies. We fall prey to the replacement objects of our genius. The genius aids us in efforts of resistance when facing the totalitarian collective that seeks to absorb, the genius breaths life into one without orders, accompanies one passively, as a protective spirit or force field. One is to locate genius, subjectively, and alone, each for themselves. There must be searching of the interior and a memory of always already being doubled. The intimate genius is always already there, just so often misrecognized, untrusted, or forgotten.

“Whatever the case may be, the presence of the genius ensures that the individual not only incorporates its psychological principle within itself like an isolated point of force, but in fact wears its innermost other around itself like a force field – and is equally carried and enclosed by it.” (426)

In the post-modern world the genius was compulsively substituted with various forms of self-recording; the tape-recorder, the video camera, the online profile, etc. We took new interest in the artist who was able to explain our feelings to us, for us. Unable to feel “With” ourselves we begin to build ourselves in new forms of otherness, augmenting our presence in ways that further isolate, carefully substituting a force-field of “With” with a fragmented mirage of our identity contained in objects and virtual space. This mirage slowly closes in around us, suffocating our ability to connect with the true “With” that we desire. We carry ourselves further from connection by our attempts at the creation of self-doubling. We desire to feel connected, but have no consciousness of where our feelings of abandonment come from. As humans, we fall prey.

“Falling prey to melancholia means nothing other than devoting oneself with undivided intensity of belief to the conscious or unconscious statement that I have been abandoned by my intimate patron, accomplice and motivator. Melancholia constitutes the pathology of exile in its pure form- the impoverishment of the inner world through the withdrawal of the life-giving field of closeness…The abandoned subject responds to the experience of a metaphysical deception with the deepest resentment; it was seduced into life by the great intimate other, only to be given up by it halfway.” (461)

My father once said that one of his core beliefs that aids his actions is that at the end of each day, he is left alone with his own conscience, and it tells him whether or not he lived each day to its fullest. This seems to be precisely the feeling of being “with” that is capable of accompanying us through life as a partner, helping us to steer a certain path and confront choices.
'Being With'



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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:03 pm

Quote :
"In his lecture On Melancholy,



Zizek claims that melancholia occurs not when we lose the object, but rather when the object is still here but we no longer desire it. According to Zizek melancholia as Freud defines it in Mourning and Melancholia shouldn’t be interpreted as if it is a product of the failure of mourning, but rather as the premature mourning of an object before it is lost. According to the orthodox interpretation of Freud’s essay, the work of mourning is to symbolize the loss and transcend it, so that one can go on with one’s life as usual. Melancholia takes over the subject if the work of mourning fails in rendering the subject capable of accepting the loss. A melancholic is s/he who cannot come to terms with the loss and turns the lost object into an unattainable object of fascination, and melancholia is the obsession with that which is not, or no more is. Against this interpretation Zizek pits Agamben’s reading of Mourning and Melancholia where he claims that melancholia is a premature mourning, that in melancholia it is not the object but the object cause of desire and consequently the desire itself that is lost. For Zizek this is precisely the Cartesian subject’s mode of being. The Cartesian subject lives under the shadow of a loss and that loss is the desire for God. God is not dead yet, but we no longer desire it. It’s not for nothing that Lacan once said “desire is a relation of being to lack.” But we are no longer in 1953 and as Zizek points out time and again there is a shift in Lacan’s attention from desire to drive, from symptom to sinthome, and from mourning to melancholia towards the end of his seminars."

contd....
Melancholia and the Cartesian Subject

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Sep 17, 2013 8:40 pm

Sylvia Plath wrote:
"I like people too much or not at all. I’ve got to go down deep, to fall into people, to really know them."[The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:42 pm

Lyssa wrote:
Nihilism and Melancholia.

Quote :
"In General Psychopathology, Jaspers' philosophical hermeneutics of pathological conditions, melancholy, depression, and schizophrenia proposes the existence of a correlation between pathology and creativity, metaphysical and religious worldviews. This correlation provides the existential ground for his notion of critical liminality (boundary or limit situation) as sine qua non thresholds to the dialectics of the abysmal and the transcendent. Jean Baudrillard and Thomas J. J. Altizer propose a cultural hermeneutic and a radical apocalyptic theology, respectively, that both investigate the significance of postmodern depression. Postmodern depression lacks creativity. While Baudrillard interprets it as a symptom of our virtual reality of simulacra that has lost its flesh, Altizer reads in it the signs of the end of Western self-consciousness and, ultimately, the herald of apocalypse.  Jaspers' hermeneutical correlation still stands: depression is a cipher for the critical liminality of our postmodern times, times of apocalyptic radical endings and new beginnings; a cipher and ground of a new axial age.

Introduction

In this essay I investigate the relevance of psychic pathos, found in Jaspers' philosophical speculation on melancholy as boundary existential situation,(1) the apocalyptic depression deplored by Thomas Altizer,(2) and the melancholy of systems noted by Jean Baudrillard.(3) Discerning the meaning of these three modes of being or interpretations will provide a privileged access to contemporary self-consciousness.

For Jaspers, mental morbidity is a paradoxical privileged locus of suffering and creativity, a boundary situation whose observation begins with case studies and develops into philosophical elaboration; for Altizer, the death of God is God's progressive self-kenosis into the world, hence the end of transcendence and the reign of immanence as the apocalyptic coincidentia oppositorum. Altizer detects a depressive mood or ontological boredom that is becoming the contemporary mood par excellence; this is not the existential dark mood, nor the Romantic melancholy, but a thinning out of consciousness, a growing emptiness that seems to correspond to a uniquely modern Nothing. He questions whether such uniquely modern human mood can still be redemptive, and what redemption may mean for late modernity. Baudrillard notes the postmodern "melancholy of systems" caused by the technological actualization of our poetic and theological metaphors, one that seems closed to any genuine deepening of self-consciousness.

... Baudrillard muses on the novum of postmodernity in the last chapter of SS, "On Nihilism":

"It is this melancholia that is becoming our fundamental passion…Melancholia is the fundamental tonality of functional systems, of current systems of simulation, of programming and information. Melancholia is the inherent quality of the mode of the disappearance of meaning, of the mode of the volatilization of meaning in operational systems. And we are all melancholic. [SS 162]"

... Kierkegaard's nightmarish Hegelianism, in which the spirit has marched over the individual in the infamous leap of Aufhebung, is being actualized in the taking over of the world by the systems, the web spun by the spider of Socrates' reason, thus realizing Nietzsche's apocalyptic and prophetic warning against the irrationality of excessive rationality; as if the cunning of reason is fulfilling our innermost desire, that of self-transcendence, in a perverse way; as if a malign demiurge demonically playing God, is mockingly fulfilling our petitionary prayers and actualizing our dream literally: self-transcendence as a leaping over ourselves, a going beyond our humanity, our own jumping over the moon (pace Kierkegaard); or as if an ancient Greek divinity is punishing by saturation our hubris. The hellish punishment, paradoxically, is literal fulfillment as a mock fulfillment ensured by a literally minded demiurge, a lesser god, or by God's Other, that thus ends dream, longing, and desire. Baudrillard calls this the saturation of systems, whose offspring is melancholia:

"Melancholia is the brutal affection that characterizes our saturated systems. Once the hope of balancing good and evil, true and false, indeed of confronting some values of the same order, once the more general hope of a relation of forces and a stake has vanished. Everywhere, always, the system is too strong, hegemonic. [SS 163]"

Contd.: Morbid Psyche and Apocalypsis

http://knowthyself.forumotion.net/t1303-comparative-study-nihilism-realism?highlight=nihilism

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:51 pm

Sloterdijk carves a fabulous account of modern alienation and melancholia from the loss of the personal genius that accompanied one and was venerated in I.E. culture, till J.-Xt. severed it...



Sloterdijk wrote:
"In early settlements, where being [Sein] consistently meant being related and existence [Dasein] meant being descended from, people had to learn to say which womb they came from and ins hat relation stood to their mothers and soils. It is through this, the greatest transformation of thought forms in the old world, that the Paleolithic religiosity of birth and life began to move towards the Neolithic, already para-metaphysically shimmering religiosity of power and death. Wit the shift to the genealogical compulsion of reason and allocation, the female womb, together with its portal and its hallway, is subjected to an incalculable alteration of meaning: from now on, it is no longer simply the starting point for all paths in the world, but also becomes a term for the great homeward journeys that must be undertaken for the sake of the now urgent search for ancestors, the interrogation of the dead and rebirth - in short, for the sake of self-identification. For the restless living, the womb becomes a place of truth; it imposes itself upon their thoughts and wishes as the most intimate Yonder with which mortals have any business; what awaits them there will never be any less than insight into their true selves. The womb idea exudes the evidence that truth has a secret seat which can be reached through ritual modes of approach. Hence by the end of the age of uttering compulsion, when the first enlightenment was surfacing in the etiological philosophies of the Greeks, people would descend to the mothers in order to find among them, and within them, something they would later refer to without the slightest blush as "knowledge".

The self of this knowledge is concerned to plant itself in the most powerful interior; all trees of wisdom point down into the woman's interior. Mortals, those who are born, have their beginning and their end in caves of origin. Whoever wishes to discover who they truly are under such conditions must, at least once in their life, travel to the source that is the only place from which grown life can understand itself. Once the female birth organ is no longer simply the exit, real and imaginary, but has also become an entrance through which the search for identity must pass, it charges itself up with ambivalent fascinations. All truth-seekers in metaphysical times are therefore returnees to the womb. They strive for what seems prima facie unattainable: they wish to tie the end of the search to the beginning of life and reverse birth through radical struggles against themselves. Who is the hero with a thousand faces if not the seeker who journeys out into the wide world in order to return home to his own most cave? The tales of heroic truth-seekers celebrate the womb-immanence of all being.

Wisdom is the realization that even the open world is encompassed by the cave of all caves. Because knowledge always leads home, and thus revokes birth or reveals its meaning in the first place, the heroic returned must fight the dragon at the entrance to the maternal portal one more time; now it is a matter of repeating the struggle of birth in the opposite direction. If this fight is won, the insight into life before life, prenatal death, enables the striving for illumination to come into itself - and this illumination naturally causes total darkening. The equation of the grave and the womb - the mysterious and evident spatial premise of all early metaphysical systems, which known only immanence - begins its long reign over the imaginary realm of the post-Neolithic human world; it would cast its spell on the thought and life of early cultures for no less than two hundred generations.

It was only the ancient metaphysical systems of light and heaven that ended the womb's monopoly of the discourse of origin, by granting a share of the origin function to the male as the "transcendent". From then on, the great homecoming also takes on aspects of yearning for the divine paternal home; for millennia, Christianity developed the attraction of the idea of the paternal womb.

The child, which naturally receives the lion's share of the attention, need emerges from the cave alone - it is followed by an inevitable organic supplement known in old France as arriver-faix or deliverance: the afterbirth, the after-burden, deliverance. Only birth and afterbirth together meet the requirements of a complete delivery. Since around 1700, the medical term "placenta" has become the standard word for the afterbirth in german and the other European national languages. The word is a learned derivation from the Latin word for flat cake or flat bread, placenta, which itself comes from the synonymous Greek plakous, whose accusative form is plakounta; this, in turn is related to Palatschinke, the Austro-Hungarian word for pancake. The term's metaphorical roots clearly lie in the imaginative field of the old baker's craft; its place in life was in the field kitchen of the Roman legions.

It goes without saying that the placenta, as the mother's opus secundum, an essential co-phenomenon of every birth was received with great esteem, even numinous awe. Every newborn child was given something unspoken on its way in the form of the afterbirth that seemed - especially for the female community in the district of birth - to be fatefully connected to the child's life. Often the afterbirth was viewed as its double, which is why the placenta could not possibly be treated with indifference. It had to be guarded like an omen and brought to safety like a symbolic sibling of the newborn.

Above all, it had to be ensured that no animals or strangers gained control of it. Often the child's father buried it in the cellar or under the staircase so that the household would profit from its fertile power, and sometimes barns or stables were also used as burial sites. in some cases the placenta was buried in the garden or the field, where it was meant tod decay as undisturbed as possible. It was a widespread custom to bury it under young fruit trees; one factor in this may have been the morphological connection between the placental tissue and the root systems of trees, as a sort of analogy magic. The habit of burying the umbilical cord under the rose trees also stems from analogy-magical ideas. If fruit trees were planted on top of buried lacentas, however, these were supposed to be sympathetically connected to the children for the duration of their lives; it was thought that the child and its tree would prosper together, fall ill together and die together.

Whatever the nature of the ritual and cultic procedures of placenta care may have been: in almost all older cultures, the intimate correspondence between birth and afterbirth was beyond doubt. Dealing with the child's placental double in an inattentive fashion would universally have been considered a curse-worthy neglect of the most necessary duty. It seems as if the beginnings of a disenchantment of the entire perinatal field, and thus also a de-sanctification of placate awareness, only appeared with the advent of Hellenistic medicine; but even these tendencies… were not sufficient to trigger a general de--sublimation of the fetus-placenta alliance in post-Hellenistic European birthing practices.

It was only in the second half of the eighteenth century, starting from the courtly and upper class sphere and its doctors, that a radical devaluation of the placenta took place. From that point on, obstetric literature standardized an attitude of disgust and embarrassment among child bearers and witnesses alike to that macabre object which comes out of the mother "afterwards". For the intimate "With", an era of unconditional exclusion began. Now the placenta became the organ that does not exist; in the light, what had been the authority of a first There-is becomes something that is itself absolutely without existence. The innermost second element becomes the unconditionally vanished, the repulsive reject par excellence. It was, in fact, only from that time onwards that those conducting births, whether in hospital or at home, became accustomed to treating the placenta as a waste product. Now it was increasingly discarded as carrion and "disposed of" as garbage - which means destroyed. In the twentieth century, the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries developed an interest in placental tissue because it came into consideration as a raw material for remedies and regenerative facial masks… If the placentas are not used for pharmaceutical purposes, it can happen that they are granulated together with stillborn fetuses and employed as combustive agents in garbage incinerators…

The tree of life is not only elevated to the integrative symbol of the sect; the spiritualistic counter-society, even more than the imperialistic first society, clearly needs to consolidate itself through a powerful psycho-cosmological symbol of integration - in this case an image of the arbor vitae, which acts as a world interior and communicating cave in one.
When Saint Boniface felled the Donar Oak near Geismar on his missionary offensive in 724 AD, or when the agents of Charlemagne, under the influence of Lullus, Archbishop of Mainz, destroyed the Irminsul at the eresburg fortress, the Saxon sacred pillar thought to represent a world tree, these gestures were more than simply expressions of the usual Christian polemic against pagan symbols. Rather, this war against the trees consisted of frontal attacks on the placentophanic integrative figures of the alien society, that is, strikes agains the imaginary and participatory resources from which the rival group had drawn the ability to create its symbolic and spheric coherence. Anyone seeking to introduce different structures of obedience must first replace the group's previous tape recorders. This is also evinced by the fact that the Christians tended to replace the toppled heathen tree symbols with their own arbor vitae: the cross, as the speaking wood on which death had been defeated.

The Roman genius is a representative from the immeasurable collection of soul companions and guardian spirits of which the mythologies of people and major religions tell. From a religion-typological perspective, it belongs to the morphological circle of outer souls which, like the Egyptian Ka or the Mesopotamian guardian spirits Ilu, Ishtaru, Shedu and Lamassu, were assigned to the inner life forces of individuals as external supplements.
Even the Socratic daimonion, though it already tended to articulate itself as an internalized guardian spirit, like an early argument for the conscience, still belongs typologically to the external or supplementary souls as a threshold figure; Socrates speaks of this subtle guest, which intervenes in his monologue , as if it came from an external space of closeness. Properties of the outer soul are also found in the character-daimon which, according to the great myth of the hereafter in the tenth book of Plato's Republic (620 d-e), is assigned to every soul that has chosen a new earthly fate by Lachesis, one of the three Fates.

Like most figures of this type, the Roman genius appears as an unmodulated fixture; it accompanies its charge's affairs like a benevolent silent partner with no claims or demands for development; its constancy stems from the fact that it is a spirit with few qualities. With an unchanging form and as a mysterious union of the wonderful and the reliable, it ensures that the psychological space inhabited by the ancient subject discretely and continuously borders on a proximate transcendence. Hence the ancient could never imagine the individual life simply as a distinctive soul-point, a trapped spark or striking flame; existence very much has a spheric and medial structure, because the subject is always placed inside a demigod-like field of protection and attention.

Each individual floats in ghostly surroundings, whether one imagines the guardian spirit as a person-like companion residing in an invisible vis-a-vis or conceives it in auratic-environmental fashion as a "divine-milieu" that wanders with the subject. Whatever the case may be, the presence of the genius ensures that the individual not only incorporates its psychological principle within itself like an isolated point of force, but in fact wears its innermost other around itself like a force field - and is equally carried and enclosed by it. The field creates closeness from within itself, because it is peculiar to the genius that it never moves far from its charge. (This is where the Roman idea of the protective spirit deviated significantly from that of many archaic peoples, who believe that outer souls can withdraw and go astray in the distance; the practice known as shamanism is, among other things, a technique for tracing stray free souls and bringing them back to their hosts - the historical prototype of all treatments for depression.)

It is not without reason that Censorinus describes the guardian spirit as "placed alongside", adpositus, the individual; this apposition clearly involves no internal modulations, let alone recastings or upgrades in the resigners of resonance. At most, the brief reference to the doctrine of Socrates' pupil Euclides concerning the two geniuses (bins genios) holds the seed for a dialectical view of the companion spirits; Euclides may have meant that there was a division of labor, perhaps even quarreling, among geniuses, where one of these could perhaps be envisaged as a good demon, the other as an evil one. But even with double accompaniment, the structure of the metaphysically imagined dual space remains unchangingly rigid.

A mature subjectivity would be one that had developed its geniuses from micro- to macro spheric functions without breaking the continuum.

The genius, the twin, the guardian angel and the outer soul form a group of elemental and enduring concepts for the second pole in the psycho-spheric dual.
Only if the subject has constituted itself in a structure of protective-permeable twinship from the start - and the prefiguration of this dual begins, in the prenatal space - can the enrichment of the subjective field through additional poles develop into a fitness for community: the adequate mother is not the direct second, but rather the third in the alliance of twins, in which the ego is the manifest and the primal companion the latent part. Mother and child always form a trio that includes the child's invisible partner. If the field is built up further, the figure of the father adds a fourth pole, while the siblings (as the close strangers) and unrelated persons (as strange strangers) form the fifth. Adult subjectivity, then, is communicative mobility within a five-poled field. It is the ability to enter differentiated resonances with the genius, the mother, the father, with siblings or friends and with strangers. At every stage, it is the companion that formats its subject and makes it available; a discrete genius evokes a discrete individual in an adequately defined world.

In traditional cultures, children must become at least as mentally spacious as their parents in order to move into the world house of their tribe. In advanced cultures, this factor is joined by professional spirits of provocation and soul expanders - which, in the case of the ancient Greeks, led to the discovery of school and the transformation of demons into teachers. (The teacher historically appears on the scene as a second father; he oversees the sensitive transition from the quartet stage - that is, to the minimum form of society. Since the advent of teachers, fathers have found themselves observing dissimilar sons.)

If psychologists were still allowed to speak in mythological forms , they could, in order to pinpoint the theoretical and therapeutic nuisance of the depressive or melancholic disposition, take refuge in the formulation that melancholia is the mental trace of a single twilight of the gods. The advantage of this wording would be that of explaining the melancholic-depressive disorder with an authentic bereavement in the subject's immediate vicinity, which would also deprive the supposed structural difference between mourning and melancholia.
Then the melancholic would first of all be a mourner like everyone else, except that the loss he had suffered would go beyond the usual interpersonal separations. It would be the genius or intimate god that had been lost in the individual twilight of the gods, not simply a profanee relative or lover; mourning a lost beloved person would only take on aspects of melancholia if this person had simultaneously been the genius of the abandoned individual. Both the loss of the genius and the loss of an intimate partner constitute psychologically real, and thus objective bereavements, and the task of a psychology that knows anything about spheric laws is certainly not to play off the reality of one against the unreality of the other, but rather to establish the psychodynamic causes for the subjective equivalence between the loss of a life-partner and the loss of a genius.

Depressive impoverishment is the exact depiction of the state of no longer having anything to say after the removal of the most important augmenter; that is why, in the ancient world, real melancholia was primarily the illness of the banished and the uprooted who had lost their families and ritual contexts through wars and pestilence. But regardless of whether an individual is forced to go without the cult of its gods or its divine partner, the depressive-melancholic subject embodies the certainty of the genius' no-longer-being. Falling prey to melancholia means nothing other than devoting oneself with undivided intensity of belief to the conscious or unconscious statement that I have been abandoned by my intimate patron, accomplice and motivator. Melancholia constitutes the pathology of exile in its pure form - the impoverishment of the inner world through the withdrawal of the life-giving field of closeness. In this sense, the melancholic person would be a heretic of the with in his lucky star - an atheist in relation to his own genius, or the invisible double who should have convinced him of the unsurpassable advantage of being himself and no one else. The abandoned subject responds to the existence of a metaphysical deception with the deepest resentment: it was seduced into life by the great intimate other, only to be given up by it halfway.

The sublime, the childlike and the sick - in his turbulent polemic against Christianity, nietzsche does not take the time to unravel the riddle of how these aspects could come together in a single qualifier, namely "idiotic"…
"Childlike" could refer to the willingness to interact with others without asserting one's own self, instead keeping oneself available as the augmenter of the other.
The idiotic subject is evidently the one that can act as if it were not so much itself as its own double, and potentially the intimate augmenter of every encountered other.
The idiot placentalizes himself…
The idiotic savior would be the one who did not lead his life as the main character in his owns tory, but had rather exchanged places with this afterbirth in order to make space for its being-in-the-world as itself. Is this a pathological excess of loyalty?
"Unless you become like children….?" Perhaps Jesus should rather have said: "Unless you become like this idiotically friendly thing…"?" [Spheres-Bubbles]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:22 pm

Lyssa wrote:
If fruit trees were planted on top of buried lacentas, however, these were supposed to be sympathetically connected to the children for the duration of their lives; it was thought that the child and its tree would prosper together, fall ill together and die together.

The With/genius accompanies one's life like a twin; when one gets affected, the other is as well, and when one prospers, the other does as well. I just recalled N. is a striking example of this.

Nietzsche wrote:
My father died at the age of thirty-six: he was soft, kind, and morbid, like a being destined only to pass by — more a goodly memory of life than life itself. In the same year that his life went on the decline, so did mine: in the thirty-sixth year of my life I reached the lowest point of my vitality — I still lived, but without being able to see three steps in front of me." [EH, Wise, 1]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:14 pm

Quote :
"Left to himself man generates, from within his own soul, an image of fulfilment which he cannot reach. It is the persistence of this authentic longing for happiness that renders everything unconnected with it dull and lifeless. It is the sense of loss of, and of longing for, a vanished perfection that repeatedly compels us to futile activity. ‘We are full of things that impel us outwards’, of ‘wants’ we unthinkingly attach to external objects whose subsequent possession we vainly hope will secure our lasting happiness. But the ‘depth’ of human longing is infinite and cannot be thus easily assuaged. ‘Man infinitely transcends man’ and as, for the modern world, neither nature nor religious ‘belief’ in the sense of a morally binding and universally valid account of the significance of human existence provides an intersubjective medium of transcendence, the human soul must fashion it anew from within the resources of each individual psyche." [Ferguson, Melancholy and the Critique of Modernity]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:15 pm

Quote :
"Melancholy is the empty depth of modernity. The sense of simultaneously being in a void and of enclosing a void—of being nothing but an arbitrary division within the formless immensity of space—is reflected in, and reflected upon, by the ironic form in which so much of the progressive literary and artistic culture in which Kierkegaard spent his prolonged student years was cast. Melancholy has become the emblem of modernity primarily because of its sublime self-sufficiency; as ‘sorrow without cause’, it is indifferent to the world and, therefore, unresponsive to all rational therapeutics. In the modern world this ‘holding back from an engagement with existence’ seems entirely justified as a primitive understanding of the abyss which has opened in the development of western society between the two opposed worlds of object and subject." [Ferguson, Melancholy]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:15 pm

Quote :
"For boredom means that a man who is used to changing sensations sees a void of sensations in himself, and strains his vital force to fill it up with something or other.’

This ‘oppressive, even frightening burden’ is not simply the tedium in which ‘nothing happens’, but is associated, rather, with an ever changing present, with a flux of appearances, that seem unconnected to any inner experience of ‘depth’. As life is contained on a depthless filament, is itself just a surface, its ever changing physiognomy cannot be interpreted as an expression of some ‘deep’ process. Kant feels an acute revulsion against this loss of depth, and thus of meaning, and mounts through his critical philosophy a heroic effort to retrieve for consciousness some link with a structured inner world. But every effort fails, and serves only to disclose the powerlessness of thought to penetrate beneath the surface which has closed off from itself either the sublime indifference of the object, or the authentic inwardness of the subject. For Kant the problem of thought is that it remains too closely bound to life’s surface, it can never really detach itself from everyday conventions and overcome the remoteness of the object or the subject.

The self, laminated upon itself, for ever reflecting itself, and others in itself, and itself in others, cannot escape the boredom of the modern age and is reduced to the experience of meaningless duration. And though ‘we equate anything that shortens time with enjoyment’ each distraction serves only to make more evident the void which presses in upon us from either ‘side’. ‘The void of sensations we perceive in ourselves arouses horror (horror vacui) and, as it were, the presentiment of a slow death, which we find more painful than having fate cut the thread of life quickly." [Ferguson, Melancholy]

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"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:16 pm

Quote :
"Where, for the former, passion was viewed almost exclusively as a disturbing element within a rationally conceived and intentional ego, and for the latter passion was conceived in terms of an ‘absence’ within the ego—and thus as a stimulating desire to possess something that would ‘complete’ and thus express the self—Kierkegaard regards passion as the multiplicity of differences which give structure and form to human experience. But in the Present Age, we might say, nothing makes a difference. No distinctions can withstand the dissolving tendencies of abstraction. The inner tension and ‘colour’ are drained from individual experience and, therefore, from social relations:

The coiled springs of life-relationships, which are what they are only because of qualitatively distinguishing passion, lose their resilience; the qualitative expression of difference between opposites is no longer the law for the relation of inwardness to each other in the relation. Inwardness is lacking, and to that extent the relation does not exist or the relation is an inert cohesion.

The citizen of the Present Age ‘does not relate himself in the relation but is a spectator’. Everything in consequence is trivialized: ‘Not even a suicide these days does away with himself in desperation but deliberates on this step so long and so sensibly that he is strangled by calculation.

The Present Age annuls passion and the contradictions essential to passion. It is preoccupied with ‘chatter’, which is the annulled passionate distinction between being silent and speaking. Where silence and speaking are linked in their essential relation to the person ‘chattering gets ahead of essential speaking’ and merely ‘reflects’ inconsequential events; it is nothing but ‘the caricaturing externalization of inwardness’.69 And as ‘loquacity’ the modern thinker, in hastily announcing a new philosophy, too easily elides the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity. By the same token it is an age of ‘principle’, annulling the distinction between form and content in a high-minded insistence on acting ethically. But ‘one can do anything and everything on principle’, because the principle lies outside the person, who may ‘personally be a non-human nonentity’.70 It is specifically an age of ‘superficiality’, which, as the annulled passionate distinction between hiddenness and revelation, is ‘a revelation of emptiness’. This superficiality manifests itself most clearly in an ‘exhibitionist tendency’ which is caught up in ‘the self-infatuation of the conceit of reflection’.71 The extensive and ever-changing surface of modern life is nothing but a kaleidoscope of reflections:

"And eventually human speech will become just like the public: pure abstraction—there will no longer be anyone who speaks, but objective reflection will gradually deposit a kind of atmosphere, an abstract noise that will render human speech superfluous, just as machines make workers superfluous." (Two Ages, p. 104) [Ferguson, Melancholy]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:16 pm

Quote :
"He is seduced by his own sorrow, and comes to love solitude. He speculates, for example, that:

"Perhaps nothing ennobles a person so much as keeping a secret. It gives a person’s whole life a significance, which it has, of course, only for himself; it saves a person from all futile consideration of the surrounding world." (Either, p. 157)

Melancholy is a kind of inwardness, and can impart through its indifference to the world something that might be mistaken for a spiritual glow. What is in reality a reflective sorrow which, like a toothache, he cannot let alone seems to him more immediate than the entire world of actuality that stands opposed to it. He is consumed by his own melancholy, which colours his every relation. He remains ‘locked up’ within himself, an object of his own psychological curiosity. It is without self-pity, therefore, that he can discuss the ‘Unhappiest One’, which (writing as the young man) is a kind of self-portrait. ‘The unhappy one is the person who is always absent from himself, never present to himself’, he writes, fascinated by his own fugitive nature. If he is not present to himself where is he? How does he live? His own answer is that he exists either for the future, as hope, or for the past, as recollection. His relation to the normal ‘flow’ of events has been disturbed. He hopes (hopelessly) for what should be recollected, that is he imagines the past to be changed even when he knows this to be impossible; or he recollects what should really be hoped for. He ‘lives’, that is to say, either in the past or in the future, and finds in the present only boredom.

This analysis is continued in an essay on ‘The Rotation of Crops’ which represents a new level of aesthetic self-awareness and a fresh effort to throw off melancholy. The present is oddly elusive. Immediacy, which seemed the least demanding of realities, has somehow slipped through his fingers. Immediacy, in reality, is nothing but boredom, that is to say nothing at all. ‘Boredom is the demonic pantheism’, he proclaims and falls into the trap of arguing that ‘it is annulled by amusing oneself’. But the error is quickly rectified: ‘amusement’ is only another form of boredom in a world of hectic and meaningless activity: ‘a mistaken, generally eccentric diversion has boredom within itself’. He regards boredom, as had Pascal, as neither inactivity nor repetition of the same task, but meaninglessness.

The vulgar notion of wrecking boredom ‘upon the boundless infinity of change’, where change is understood extensively as alterations in the external environment, is abandoned in favour of an aesthetic conception of variety, as a continuous internal modulation of the soul. This openness to variety depends upon mastering the art of forgetting, literally of forgetting who one is. One must ‘continually vary oneself’. He therefore advises against friendship, marriage and opening official post. And he is at least half-serious in doing so (as an aesthetic individual he resists becoming wholly serious).

‘Arbitrariness is the whole secret’, he says finally.

In living aesthetically ‘one enjoys something totally accidental’. In this way ‘everything in life is regarded as a wager’. The young man holds himself in a continuous state of expectation, ready ‘if something should come up’.

It is in this spirit of arbitrariness, and from a readiness (which in no way annuls his deep and secret melancholy) to utilize whatever ‘turns up’ in the quest to experience diverse moods, that he interrupts what might otherwise develop into a dangerously systematic psychology of sorrow with a review of The First Love, a play by Augustin Scribe. Every work of art represents in this sense a paradox in that ‘the accidental is absolutely just as necessary as the necessary’. Without the occasion inspiration remains a movement of the imagination alone: ‘the occasion is the final category, the essential category of transition from the sphere of the idea to actuality’.

An aesthetic conception of erotic love (and properly understood there can be no other valid conception of erotic love) accentuates the arbitrary, occasional and accidental. ‘The Seducer’s Diary’ provides a ‘running commentary’ on a love affair conceived in just this fashion. The fundamental preoccupation of the seducer is to realize his love as an ‘interesting’ moment. This is neither a Don Juan nor a Faust, but a peculiarly modern seducer, for whom ‘individuals were merely for stimulation’. He grasps the specific nature of the aesthete:

"His life has been an attempt to accomplish the task of living poetically. With a sharply developed organ for discovering the interesting in life, he has known how to find it and after having found it has continually reproduced his experiences half poetically." (Either, p. 304) [Ferguson, Melancholy]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Fri Jun 13, 2014 9:05 am

Quote :
"E Marânus, olhando a clara névoa,
Sonho doce do mar, ali pousado,
Meditava: aonde vai o sonho humano,
Quando de nós se afasta, já sonhado?
E ficamos mais tristes e sozinhos,
A cada sonho que findou, no mundo.
E, a cada etérea nuvem que se forma,
Torna-se mais salgado o mar profundo.

And Marânus, looking at the bright mist,
Sweet dream of the sea, standing there,
Meditated: whiter goes the human dream,
When smoothed away from us, already dreamed?
And we become sadder and more alone,
Every dream that finishes, in the world.
And, every ethereal cloud that is shaped,
It becomes saltier the deep sea."
[Pascoaes, 1920, p.219]"


Quote :
"Everything that was ever said. Listen. What do you hear? A melody. The orchestrations of carbon. You and me." [Hannibal, 2.13]


Quote :
"[M]elancholy... "the most sublime of human feelings." [Leopardi, Apud Ginzburg, p. 106-107]


Quote :
"Duende or tener duende ("having duende") loosely means having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco. The artistic and especially musical term was derived from the duende, a fairy or goblin-like creature in Spanish mythology. El duende is the spirit of evocation. It comes from inside as a physical/emotional response to art. It is what gives you chills, makes you smile or cry as a bodily reaction to an artistic performance that is particularly expressive.

Drawing on popular usage and Spanish folklore, Federico García Lorca first developed the aesthetics of Duende in a lecture he gave in Buenos Aires in 1933, "Juego y teoria del duende" ("Play and Theory of the Duende"). According to Christopher Maurer, editor of "In Search of Duende", at least four elements can be isolated in Lorca's vision of duende: irrationality, earthiness, a heightened awareness of death, and a dash of the diabolical. The duende is an earth spirit who helps the artist see the limitations of intelligence, reminding them that "ants could eat him or that a great arsenic lobster could fall suddenly on his head"; who brings the artist face-to-face with death, and who helps them create and communicate memorable, spine-chilling art. The duende is seen, in Lorca's lecture, as an alternative to style, to mere virtuosity, to God-given grace and charm (what Spaniards call "angel"), and to the classical, artistic norms dictated by the muse. Not that the artist simply surrenders to the duende; they have to battle it skillfully, "on the rim of the well", in "hand-to-hand combat". To a higher degree than the muse or the angel, the duende seizes not only the performer but also the audience, creating conditions where art can be understood spontaneously with little, if any, conscious effort.
The critic Brook Zern has written, of a performance of someone with duende, "it dilates the mind's eye, so that the intensity becomes almost unendurable... There is a quality of first-timeness, of reality so heightened and exaggerated that it becomes unreal..."."



Quote :
"Lorca writes: "The duende, then, is a power, not a work. It is a struggle, not a thought. I have heard an old maestro of the guitar say, 'The duende is not in the throat; the duende climbs up inside you, from the soles of the feet.' Meaning this: it is not a question of ability, but of true, living style, of blood, of the most ancient culture, of spontaneous creation.". He suggests, "everything that has black sounds in it, has duende. [i.e. emotional 'darkness'] [...] This 'mysterious power which everyone senses and no philosopher explains' is, in sum, the spirit of the earth, the same duende that scorched the heart of Nietzsche, who searched in vain for its external forms on the Rialto Bridge and in the music of Bizet, without knowing that the duende he was pursuing had leaped straight from the Greek mysteries to the dancers of Cadiz or the beheaded, Dionysian scream of Silverio's siguiriya." [...] "The duende's arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm." [...] "All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry, for these arts require a living body to interpret them, being forms that are born, die, and open their contours against an exact present.""


Quote :
"[The second way music can be new is] when it possesses duende: "black sounds", as Lorca called them, the dark counterpoise to Apollo's light, music in which we hear death sing.... Duende lives in blue notes, in the break in a singer's voice, in the scrape of resined horsehair hitting sheep gut We are more accustomed to its presence in jazz and the blues, and it is typically a feature of music in performance, or music in which performance and composition are not separate acts. But it is also audible in the work of classically oriented composers who are interested in the physical dimensions of sound, or in sound as a physical property of the world. Even if it is structurally amorphous or naïvely traditional, music whose newness lies in its duende will arrest our attention because of its insistence on honouring the death required to make the song: we sense the gleam of the knife, we smell the blood.... In reflecting on the key images of Western music's two-part invention – the duende of the tortoise and the radiance of Apollonian emotional geometry – we are reminded that originality is truly radical, that it comes from the root, from the mythic origins of the art.
(Note: in Greek mythology, Hermes killed a tortoise to create the first lyre, which he traded to Apollo who was enamored by its music.)."

Duende

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:12 pm

Quote :
"The hunt for melancholy examines faces, places, and also the haunts of time.The feeling of age and time passing in the landscape is vital for melancholy’s presence, and there are key times to look for melancholy.As suggested in the origins of humoral theory, particular diurnal and seasonal times are conducive to melancholy. Evening rather than morning, autumn rather than summer. Charles Baudelaire declares the ache of this moment,‘How poignant the late afternoons of autumn! Ah! Poignant to the verge of pain, for there are certain delicious sensations which are no less intense for being vague; and there is no sharper point than that of Infinity.’ The twelfth-century Japanese poet Jakuren offers a resonant meditation upon this moment, of day, of season, aligning it with the melancholy of solitude:

To be alone
It is of a color
That cannot be named:
This mountain where cedars rise
Into the autumn dusk.

John Milton’s Il Penseroso makes a plea to ‘Hide me from Day’s garish eie’ and instead to inhabit the time of the nightingales, and seek the ‘dimm religious light’. And melancholy persists through late afternoon, twilight, evening, and sometimes into night itself. Not the absolute darkness of night, but one which is moonlit, as the moon herself is the ‘sovereign mistress of true melancholy’, that time when ‘all the fowls/Are warmly housed, save bats and owls.’These threshold times lead from a period of lightness – the sanguine – to the darker times beyond: liminal moments of passing from one time to another, times of evanescence and senescence,of fading and ageing.

As is typical with melancholy, the situation is circular – do such times cause melancholy, or are melancholy feelings drawn towards these times? Hippocrates traced psychic disturbances to certain seasonal changes, and melancholy was experienced during spring and autumn. The seasonal affects were also believed by some to be physiological. As Hugo de Folieto, a monastic theologian from around the twelfth century, wrote, black bile ‘reigns in the left side of the body; its seat is the spleen; it is cold and dry. It makes men irascible, timid, sleepy or sometimes wakeful. It issues from the eyes. Its quantity increases in autumn.’

In addition to this physiological cause, there are inherent qualities of the times which seem conducive to feelings of sorrow and poignancy. John Keats ’To Autumn, with its reverence for ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ traces out the fugitive qualities of this time of year.The imminence of winter, the ending of summer, brings a sense of loss that is intangible, the unassigned sadness that melancholy embodies. There is something of the circularity of this in Žižek’s recounting of ‘the old racist joke about Gypsies’, that ‘when it rains they are happy because they know that after rain there is always sunshine, and when the sun shines, they feel sad because they know that after the sunshine it will at some point rain.’

There is a particular quality of light that infuses autumn
with poignant, intangible qualities, as captured in Giorgio de Chirico’s recollection of particular influences on his paintings, which included ‘the melancholy of beautiful autumn days, afternoons in Italian cities’.

Poet Emily Dickinson finds melancholy light in winter, writing of the ‘certain Slant of light’ on winter afternoons ‘That oppresses, like the Heft / of CathedralTunes – andWhen it comes –, the Landscape listens / Shadows – hold their breath /When it goes,‘tis like the Distance / On the look of Death –’

The Chinese find melancholy in autumn, as it is the time of the commencement ofYin, or negative, energy, captured in the phrase, ‘Moved by autumn, a zither musician contemplates the past’. A fusion of image and sound, this poetic fragment encapsulates the poignancy of autumn, as ‘the music of the zither is desolate and heavy, like the thud of autumn fruits falling on the ground.’

Autumn’s associative power is strong. This liminal season, sitting at the edge of summer passing into winter, metaphorically evokes allusions to our own lives. For Hugues, the tormented hero of Georges Rodenbach’s Bruges-la-Morte, it is October which suggests the melancholy metaphor of a dwindling life, and within it the poignant possibility of summer lingering, of his ‘belated passion, sad October inflamed by a chance of late-blooming roses!’ And for the unnamed ‘I’ of Gustave Flaubert’s novella, it is the eponymous November which encapsulates autumn, ‘that melancholy season that suits memories so well. When the trees have lost their leaves, when the sky at sunset still preserves the russet hue that fills with gold the withered grass, it is sweet to watch the final fading of the fires that until recently burnt within you.’

This sense of decay,of senescence,was experienced culturally for the Elizabethans, and their concern about the decay of the world itself was the origin of the ‘metaphysical shudder’. Sir Thomas Browne captured this anxiety over the apparent futility of mankind, of the inevitable, imminent end to things, in his Religio Medici, the precursor to his funeral sermon Urn Burial, in a passage which speaks of how it is ‘too late’ to be ambitious, how too much has already passed away. Browne re-cast the Pyramids as ‘mere pillars of snow’. This is what George Williamson called the seventeenth century’s ‘melancholy of living in the afternoon of time’.

So, in the wider sweep of history, as well as at the fleeting moments of autumn and twilight, melancholy intensifies at particular times.And the Renaissance is the prime time for the hunt – in the era known as Age of Melancholy. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a high point for melancholia,when the unlikely bedfellows of science and art both circled around melancholy, prodding, poking, hypothesising. Medicine, metaphysics and drama, religion, architecture and poetry: all troubled themselves with the furthering of the understanding of melancholy, whether as disease, temperament or mood.

Early Modernity saw some of the key works on melancholy emerge, as a symptom of the age.The vanguard of the time is Timothy Bright’s Treatise of Melancholy (1586), followed by Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which was first performed in 1600, and Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621. Alongside these landmarks are the poetry of Milton’s Il Penseroso (1632), and, moving into the eighteenth century, Alexander Pope’s Eloisa to Abelard, with its ‘deep solitudes and awful cells, /Where heav’nly-pensive contemplation dwells, /And ever-musing melancholy reigns’ (1717). A key shift of this time was the move from the concern with discerning melancholy in individuals as with Bright and Burton, towards the lyrical melancholy of non-human subjects, in music, atmosphere and landscape. Burton’s ‘love melancholy’ became an icon of the age of the Romantics, as one of the key co-ordinates of the idea of ‘sensibility’." [Jacky Bowring, A Field Guide to Melancholy]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:13 pm

Quote :
"Ubi sunt

Meaning literally ‘where are?’, ubi sunt is a lament over the imminent loss of things. The Latin phrase was used in medieval poetry to signal this type of sadness with its plaintive tone, and would usually be followed by a litany of lost things. It is shorthand for a longer phrase, Ubi sunt qui ante nos fuerunt? – ‘Where are those who were before us?’ The elegiac phrase is sung in the academic anthem Gaudeamus Igitur, the second verse of which begins, Ubi sunt qui ante nos/In mundo fuere? or ‘Where are they/Who were in the world before us?’

The ubi sunt motif persists as a form which announces a lamentation, or a sometimes nostalgic reverie. For example, from Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy: ‘“Where is Troy and Mycenae and Thebes and Delos and Persepolis and Agrigentum,” continued my father, taking up his book of post-roads, which he had laid down. “What is become, brother Toby, of Nineveh and Babylon, of Cizicum and Mitylenae?”’ And again in Shakespeare’s Macbeth: ‘The Thane of Fife had a wife: where is she now?’ And in John Keats’ Autumn, ‘Where are the songs of Spring? Ay where are they?’

Peter Schwenger identifies a contemporary ubi sunt in George Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual where the character Serge Valène, a painter, recalls a lengthy list of things which have passed through his years of residence in the apartment building: ‘Where were they now, the Van Houten cocoa tins, the Banania cartons with the laughing infantryman, the turned-wood boxes of Madeleine biscuits from Commercy?Where were they gone, the larders you used to have beneath the window ledge, the packets of Saponite…’" [Jacky Bowring, A Field Guide to Melancholy]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:03 am


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γνῶθι σεαυτόν
μηδέν άγαν
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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:53 pm

Portugal, Fado/Fate: Song of/from the sea



First song is Barco Negro/ Black [sail]Boat/ Black Ship:

Quote :
"They're crazy! They're crazy! crazy...

I know, my love,
That you have never really left*
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me
I know, my love
That you never left
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me

In the morning, that fear, that you would find me ugly!
I woke up, shivering, lying on the sand
But later, your eyes said that I am not,
And the sun entered to my heart
But later, your eyes said that not,
And the sun entered to my heart

After that I saw, on one rock, a cross,
And your black ship danced in the light
I saw your arm waving, between already loose sails
The old women from the beach say that you won't return:

They're crazy! crazy...

I know, my love,
That you have never really left
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me
I know, my love
That you never left
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me

In the wind that throws sand in the glass;
In water that sings in the dying fire;
In the heat of bed, in empty benches;
Inside my chest, you are always with me
In the heat of bed, in empty benches;
Inside my chest, you are always with me

( solo )

I know, my love,
That you have never really left
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me
I know, my love
That you have never really left
Because all around me
Tell me that you're always with me"

Alt:

Quote :
"In the morning, how I feared that you could find me ugly
I woke up trembling, laid on the beach's sand
But immediately your eyes told me the opposite
And the sun entered into my heart

Then I saw a cross stuck on a rock
And your black sailboat dancing under the light
I saw your hand waving goobye among the ready loose sails
Old women of the beach tell me that you will not come back

They are crazy... They are crazy...

I know, my love, that you, in fact, did not leave
because, everything around me tells me that you are always with me

You are in the wind, which spreads sand on the glass (of the windows)
You are in the water, that sings into the dying fire
You are in the warmth of the rest from empty seabeds
You are forever with me, into my heart/chest"

Other Fado songs:


_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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Lyssa
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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:51 am

Quote :
"Melancholy encompasses the processes of internalisation, introspection, isolation and introversion. The internalisation and isolation manifests in the traits of care, fear, mistrust, solitariness, dreadful imagining, suspicion, envy, spite and anger retention; introversion manifests as pusillanimity, obstinacy arid stubbornness. As you can imagine, the melancholic temperament wasn't held in particularly high regard. Culpeper, of himself, writes:

Quote :
I am exceedingly melancholy of complexion, subject to consumptions and chilliness of my vital spirits, a slavish and sickly life being allotted to me in his city. I had the Sun opposite to Saturn in my nativity, which probably may be the natural cause of it.
(A Physical Directory)

One of the most important traits of a melancholic person is that of introspection - melancholics were seen as the thinkers and the scholars of the Renaissance. Hence, with melancholy comes curiosity and deep cogitation. It was understood that they were privy to a deep understanding of the workings of the world. Perhaps this is why they are "vexed with dolours of the mind".

Melancholy is therefore a cognitive temperament, but of the three traditional functions of the brain (judgement, imagination and memory), it solely rules the function that is most internalised and is the least expressive in quality, the memory:

Quote :
Memory is seated in the hinder cell of the brain, it is the great register to the little world; and its office is to record things either done and past, or to be done. It is [in] quality cold and dry, and melancholick, and therefore generally melancholick men have the best memories, and [are] most tenacious in every way. It is under the dominion of Saturn, and is fortified by his influence, but purged by the luminaries.
(Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, Culpeper)

Memory was a part of the retentive function of the body, which also included the stomach's ability to hold onto food long enough for the digestive faculty to properly concoct it and separate the nutrients from what we ingest:

Quote :
The retentive virtue is in quality cold and dry; cold, because the nature of cold is to compress, witness the ice; dry, because the nature of dryness, is to keep and hold what is compressed. It is under the influence of Saturn, and that is the reason why usually Saturnine men are so covetous and tenacious.
(Pharmacopoeia Londinensis, Culpeper)

We are starting to see Saturn's influence over the melancholic temperament. Saturn is naturally cold and dry, and has dominion over the seat of melancholy in the body - the spleen. The spleen was seen to be the receptacle of melancholy and its associated humour, black bile. Black bile, when attracted to the stomach, stimulates appetite and strengthens the retentive virtue of the stomach. It creates the want for food and the ability to hold onto that food until all of the nutrient is removed. Applying this to the melancholic mind, we can understand the craving for information and experiences, and the deep cogitations to which this data is then subject.

But Saturn is not the only melancholic planet; Mercury, too, is cold and dry. When well placed, Lilly says that Mercury represents

Quote :
... a man of subtil and politick brain, intellect and cogitation; an excellent disputant or Logician, arguing with learning and discretion, and using much eloquence in his speech, a searcher into all types of Mysteries and Learning … a man of unwearied fancy, curious in the search of any occult knowledge; able by his own Genius to produce wonders; given to divination and the more secret knowledge... (CA., p.77)

This, of course, merely reinforces the image of a melancholic as a profound thinker. Within the melancholic temperament therefore we have the searching, learning, intellectual characteristics of Mercury coupled with the depth, solitude and introversion of Saturn to create a temperament that naturally lends itself to contemplative pursuits. Saturn, as the "author of Solitariness" (CA., p.58) is often associated with hermits, the embodiment of introspection, who draw upon a wisdom gained through contemplation of life's experiences.

With the melancholic temperament, there is an understanding of time, of preservation, and of the importance of the internal processes, not just the external displays.

The melancholy from the rest do vary,
Both in sport and ease and company refusing
Exceeding studious, ever solitary,
Inclining pensive still to be, and musing
A secret hate to others apt to carry.
Most constant in his choice, tho' long a-choosing
Extreme in love sometime, yet seldom lustful,
Suspicious in his nature and mistrustful.
A wary wit, a hand much given to sparing,
A heavy look, a spirit little daring.

Regimen of Health

Memory and Melancholy

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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PostSubject: Re: Melancholy and the Daimonic. Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:20 pm

Goethe wrote:
"There, for the first time, the meaning of song was unlocked for me. From a distance a voice sounds exceedingly strange, like a lament without sadness, there is something unbelievably touching about it, that even moves one to tears. . . . And yet one can imagine that a listener up close would derive little pleasure from such voices that have to fight with the waves of the sea. . . . It is the song of a solitary person sent out into distant reaches so that someone of like disposition may hear it and respond." [Italian Journey]

_________________


"ἐδιζησάμην ἐμεωυτόν." [Heraclitus]

"All that exists is just and unjust and equally justified in both." [Aeschylus, Prometheus]

"The history of everyday is constituted by our habits. ... How have you lived today?" [N.]

*Become clean, my friends.*
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