Opinion: On Melancholy
One of the most influential essays I have read thus far is Edmund Burke's On the Sublime and Beautiful. It has change my perspective on many things, or perhaps it has encouraged me to look at things through a different tint. Burke argues that pleasure and pain belong firmly in their own corners, so that when one is not in pain, it means not that they are in pleasure but rather in a certain state between these two emotions.
My thoughts are here because I have been thinking about the beauty of melancholy. I have always felt that there is a beauty to it. Especially when it is within matters of the heart, and there isn't any fear of immediate physical danger. Melancholy, to me has a lot in common with the sublime. In my mind's eye, melancholy often carries a sense of grandeur: one always make it out to be bigger than oneself——we often describe ourselves as being lost in it; overwhelmed by it; controlled by it; it sweeps us into moans which are pleasing to us in heavy ways. There's always a sense of unclarity like a fog to encourage the moodiness it embraces us in.
When one's sad, it's like little drops of water on the heart, where as when one is happy, it feels like little drops of sunshine on that same imaginary heart. Hence happiness is weightless and melancholy heavy. Hence one feels as though happiness is instant, no matter how long one is immersed in its airiness; where as every second of melancholy feels wet. And yet, it is often melancholy which reveals ourselves to us. And it is often our ability to feel this sublimeness within us which motivates our humanity.