Monday, May 16, 2022

Why I like sad things

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

When I was younger I thought I was strange, or maybe just misunderstood when I told people I liked sad songs and they looked at me like I was crazy.

My favorite SoCo songs were: me and the moon and Constantine. I loved Radiohead’s To crawlChopins Nocturnes, Homer’s very last line in the… Iliad, and all Shakespeare’s tragedies. But as I listened to these songs over and over and read these particular scripts, I was struck with a question: What did it mean to me, and why did it mean so much?

I’d wonder, how could something so sad make me feel so alive? How could Hector’s funeral rites in the fallen city of Troy move me so chemically? How could I want both happiness and melancholy?

When people think of a happy life, they often think of a life that excludes all sadness.

We are encouraged to live a happy life and usually try to do everything to stop feeling sad. But don’t we force an unnatural sense of happiness by intuitively avoiding things like sadness?

Of course people want to be happy. Utilitarians assume that more happiness and everywhere is always a good thing. It’s good to be happy. I’m sure I want happiness, but the complex truth for me is still that I don’t always want to be happy. This does not mean deliberately evoking sad feelings; this means that I allow myself to feel everything. When I’m sad, it often has a cause, but maybe in a sense emotionally “everything” is better than singularity.

I truly believe that grief has inspired some of my greatest thinking and work for me. It inspires me in a way that sitting on my bed and watching Netflix can’t.

It was Charles Darwin, in The expression of emotions in humans and animals (1872), who noted that grief manifests itself in the same way in all cultures. The work in this area focuses almost entirely on depression, and that’s not what we’re talking about here. But many theories have been proposed to contrast the striking difference between what is “sad” and what is “depression.”

As most of us know, depression is very different from just feeling ‘sad’. Depression is a disease that involves the body, mood and thoughts and affects the way a person eats, sleeps, thinks about themselves and thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a transient blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with depression can’t just “pick themselves up” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months or years (Medicine Net 1). Depression is like a cancer of the mind; it is not beautiful for those who have experienced or experienced it, but sadness can be.

According to science fiction author Adam Roberts, “if depression is a filthy miasma that envelops the brain, elegant sadness is more like a peacock’s tail, colored in gentian blue and rich sea green.”

It is also the insight of Virgil’s Aeneas, as he looks back on his difficult life and looks ahead to the troubles to come: sunt lacrimae rerum† the Latin expression for “tears of things” (Aeneid 1:462).

Sadness contributes to my whole being being full. If I only experienced sadness or happiness, every day would look the same to me.

Fullness is deep in the soul. It encompasses everything and provides the contrast we need. How else can we know true joy if we have never known sorrow? How can we feel and trust the deepest kind of love if we have never felt heartbreak?

There is a form of art within this context called chiaroscuro. It is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts that affect an entire composition.

I believe that two seemingly contradictory emotions can fit together and coexist. By courageously trying to squander negative feelings, we in a sense take over the shadow of our own identity.

I think the point is, to feel everything is better than to feel just one thing.

Anyone can be happy, but it takes more strength to live and be sad. Some sad things are terrible to see, some absolute tragedies, but I no longer see it as something that costs, but as something that can be beautiful. Happiness has the constant ability to be beautiful, but some kinds of sadness have access to beauties that happiness can never know.

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