There are certain days that come when I seem overly influenced by the weather—though I am sure there are other factors at work too. On days like these, I’m not particularly sad, just in a peculiar, quiet mood. ‘Melancholy’ is too strong a word for it—in fact, I don’t know if there is a word that approximates this feeling. However, I no longer see the need to resist these moments when they arise—as if I were something separate from the weather. Today it is a grey day with occasional rain, and I am simply an extension of the weather: today, I too am grey. And like all weather, it passes and changes.
Posts tagged emotions.
One is never happy once and for all and never unhappy once and for all. As long as one lives, there is no fixity. We know no definitive days. Melancholy has no more than a partial basis in reality, and the same is true of joy.
Leon Wieseltier, Kaddish
Let nothing be lawful to you while you are angry. Do you ask why? Because then you wish everything to be lawful.
Seneca, De Ira, Book III
Beneath this apparent diversity [of the different Greco-Roman schools of philosophy]… there is a profound unity, both in the means and in the ends pursued. The means employed are the rhetorical and dialectical techniques of persuasion, the attempts at mastering one’s inner dialogue, and mental concentration. In all philosophical schools, the goal pursued in these exercises is self-realization and improvement. All schools agree that man, before his philosophical conversion, is in a state of unhappy disquiet. Consumed by worries, torn by passions, he does not live a genuine life, nor is he truly himself. All schools agree that man can be delivered from this state. He can accede to genuine life, improve himself, transform himself, and attain a state of perfection. It is precisely for this that spiritual exercises are intended. Their goal is a kind of self-formation, or paideia, which is to teach us to live, not in conformity with human prejudices and social conventions—for social life is itself a product of the passions—but in conformity with the nature of man, which is none other than reason. Each in its own way, all schools believed in the freedom of the will, thanks to which man has the possibility to modify, improve, and realize himself.
One conception was common to all the philosophical schools: people are unhappy because they are the slave of their passions. In other words, they are unhappy because they desire things they may not be able to obtain, since they are exterior, alien, and superfluous to them. It follows that happiness consists in independence, freedom, and autonomy. In other words, happiness is a return to the essential: that which is truly “ourselves,” and which depends on us.
Pierre Hadot, Philosophy as a Way of Life, ‘Spiritual Exercises’
The Stoic aim of ‘apathy’ was not a lack of feeling, but freedom from passion (pathos); Seneca stresses that the Greed word apatheia cannot be translated by a single word. (Cicero had translated it as ‘imperturbability’). Language indicates that passion is something suffered, something in which man is passive, despite his restlessness, but love is active, not bound and powerless, but free—and the only effective prescription for love, says Seneca, was formulated by the Stoic Hecaton: ‘If you wish to be loved, then love!’
Villy Sørensen, Seneca: The Humanist at the Court of Nero (translated by W. Glyn Jones)
Reason will have accomplished enough if only she removes from grief whatever is excessive and superfluous; it is not for anyone to hope or to desire that she should suffer us to feel no sorrow at all. Rather let her maintain a mean which will copy neither indifference nor madness, and will keep us in the state that is the mark of an affectionate, and not unbalanced, mind. Let your tears flow, but let them also cease…
Seneca, De Consolatione ad Polybium
If you ever want to find out what a thing really is, entrust it to time; you can see nothing clearly in the midst of the billows.
Seneca, De Ira, Book III
Away with hope,
And no more sorrow.
Clouded is the mind,
Bound by error
Where these rule.
Boethius, Philosophiae Consolationis, Book I
No one makes himself wait; yet the best cure for anger is waiting, to allow the first ardour to abate and to let the darkness that clouds the reason either subside or be less dense. Of the offences which were driving you headlong, some an hour will abate, to say nothing of a day, some will vanish altogether; thought the postponement sought shall accomplish nothing else, yet it will be evident that judgement now rules instead of anger. If ever you want to find out what a thing really is, entrust it to time; you can see nothing clearly in the midst of the billows.
Seneca, De Ira (On Anger), Book III
Saudade (European Portuguese: [sɐwˈðaðɨ], Brazilian Portuguese: [sawˈdadi] or [sawˈdadʒi], Galician: [sawˈðaðe]; plural saudades) is a unique Galician-Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English. Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.
Saudade has been described as a “…vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist … a turning towards the past or towards the future.” A stronger form of saudade may be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing. It may also be translated as a deep longing or yearning for something that does not exist or is unattainable.
Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. In Portuguese, ‘tenho saudades tuas’, translates as ‘I have saudades of you’ meaning ‘I miss you’, but carries a much stronger tone. In fact, one can have ‘saudades’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.