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the good life in a digital age

book: against happiness by Eric G. Wilson

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy was not what I expected.

Some quotes:

“what is existence if not an enduring polarity, an endless dance of limping dogs and lilting crocuses, starlings that are spangled and frustrated worms?”

“we wonder, then, if the obsession with happiness, is at the end of the day, a kind of unknowing necrophilia”

“we all know of this,the mind’s winter. No leaves now hide the nakedness of the branches. We stare at the gnarled and exposed limbs. They shiver in the wind. The oak and the elm, the maple and the birch: all these formally regal trees resemble poor souls desperate for clothing. No one meanders through the lanes radiating affection. The trees simply stand there, alone. They are the failed rules of a bleak land. Their domain is one of emptiness. Nothing stirs in the excruciating stillness. We have the feeling that there is room for almost anything to fill this wintry void. Something surely is going to happen out there in the vast spaces drained of all meaning”

I *think* that at least part of his argument is that without melancholy we wouldn’t get great art, poetry etc. I’m not sure his prose makes the point very well.

Written by Karen

May 28th, 2008 at 7:57 am

Posted in books,happiness