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Melancholy Is A Luxury

Updated on May 16, 2012

When we think about melancholy, we tend to mix it with depression. Yet it is not. It is one of the peak experiences of the world.

Just think about that how would you depict melancholy and how would you depict depression? Depressive people are always shown as they are worried and think about something, yet melancholics are not, they are artistic, they live as they are one with the world. But people tend to mix those two, and it is reasonable because never before in history was our collective consciousness so sensitive and refined enough to distinct melancholy from depression. In antiquity and medieval times, it was all just “sadness”. Romantic poets made the first step of distinction those two by exploiting sadness in a positive way, to make art. And so it has begun. Now we always link melancholy to art. Depression is classified as a “disease that needs treatment” and melancholy as “oh, he is a little grim person, he likes it that way, all is cool”.

Why can it be said that melancholy is a luxury? It is primarily because WHEN, WHERE and WHY does it appear! Geographically, North European countries like Finland tend to have high statistics on depression but so does India. Now, developed countries with pleased people who live in a pleased society like America are the most depressive of all, while African countries whose populace struggles to survive and not get killed by each other or wild animals – they have the least depressive. Seems like those people live from moment to moment, one day you are here and the next you might be gone – so they do not have time for depression! Unlike Americans, who have plenty of everything but their needs are bigger. It is always about the needs and inner conflicts because of them. Depression comes from a division: for example, I wish to remain in this house/state of mind/country but I also wish that inhabitants fulfill my expectations, but they cannot fulfill them (may be because they are not able or don’t want to) and then I fall into depression, reject food, don’t want to move from my bed, drink alcohol, smoke a lot… It is a division. And it is a sort of blackmail, because you threat them with a spontaneous suicide. But blackmailing is done only by the one who CAN blackmail! An African boy who finds himself face to face with a lion cannot blackmail him with anything, he just has to wake up his flight or flight instinct. Throughout history, depression and melancholy were considered the same and were meant for highly educated and wealthy people who have gotten enough of everything and now they cannot find ways to satisfy themselves anymore. It is so common, and it is reasonable. Modern times have invented depression as a melancholy for poor people. Usually depression appears among those who do not have enough of something but is still connected with bombastic needs.

Melancholy is also mentioned as a dysfunction of a certain energy centers, or chakras, precisely, it is a malfunction of 7-th, or Crown chakra, the highest, the one that provides man’s contact with the universal truth, so to speak. Depression is “to the ground” and it is completely dull, melancholy is “rooting” you in the existence. If you are melancholic, that means your Crown chakra is activated but is still blurry or that you have great potential there but the chakra is choked and waits to be opened. Why does all the finest art that human race admires for centuries always gets created by either a melancholic depressive madman or a man inspired by religion? We are not joking here. I am talking about works of art that have a great imprint on human spirit, they affect it’s spirit as if they have a secret knowledge about it, almost like if they were universally true and beautiful. And they all came out of melancholy, depression or whatever we choose to call it!

Finland is known as the most depressive country in Europe and it might be because of social withdrawal, because of lack of light that is common to all Scandinavian countries, surely it is not low standard. But it can be also said that most of that depressive people are not really that but they are melancholic. Finland has one of the greatest metal music scenes, it is known worldwide for it, and depression does not create good music. But melancholy does. Many people would like to live in Finland because it is peaceful and prosperous, yet it is statistically depressive. I would say it is rather melancholic. It is an example of pleased people in a pleased society – they have everything they need, have tried everything and feel like they are missing something or they are just wishing that they missed something. It is a pleasure to sit in a warm room and imagine snowy taigas and feel melancholic about that desolate land, especially if it inspires you for something more. But knowing that your life is not at stake is the necessary beginning point.

Melancholy is a depression for rich people. But neither depression is for those who live in total poverty, it is for those whose needs are somehow greater than the resources that are available at the moment. Melancholic people are those who are melted with the source of existence but still do not see it clearly, that’s why there is a feeling that something is missing. They are not missing food, shelter, money, security, even love, they just miss the notion and clear insight of who they are and this is one of the highest philosophical tasks – it is the most important to those who have achieved everything else but is of no importance to those who struggle to survive, living moment to moment.


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    • Gentle Fist profile imageAUTHOR

      Gentle Fist 

      6 years ago from Serbia

      Thanks for commenting! I agree that depression can be a chemical phenomenon also, and that depression generally comes from collision of expectations and reality while melancholy mainly is a feeling of "missing something" which is undefined...

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think it is true that there is such thing as chemical depression which can come from many things, including a discrepancy between expecations and reality. But melancholy is substantially distinct in that it is a longing for something that you cannot define. Good insights!

    • Gentle Fist profile imageAUTHOR

      Gentle Fist 

      6 years ago from Serbia

      Yes you are right, and I totally agree. People often have different visions about what needs to be done so sometimes they are not so motivated to help others,but I hope that will change for the better and that humanistic feelings will dominate. Thank you for commenting!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Melancholy may become less so if those people choose to give of themselves to help others. Do they have less to stimulate the mind? Perhaps so...


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