The eloquence of sorrow

Tell the unhappy man that he ought to give up his unhappy books and go to those livelier, more joyful ones, and he shall not listen further to a word you say. For you do not understand him and his unhappiness. His unhappiness is invincible, and is as much a part of himself as is his soul; without his unhappiness, he would be no one; he takes pride in his unhappiness, holds it up like a silver plague, both wishing the world to see it and contriving to hide it behind vague metaphors and allusions. The unhappy wants to be unhappy and no one can convince him out of it. “But is it not so tormenting on the soul?” Asks one. Indeed it is, but the unhappy man cannot resist remaining in his unhappiness; it is his drug, his religion, his God. So all the unhappy man can and wishes to do is to continue to drown himself in all forms of unhappiness. He reads all the unhappiest books he can find, and listens to all the unhappiest music, and finds the outward unhappiness resonating with his inward unhappiness; and though he is far from the agreeable feelings of joy, he knows that he is at least close to himself, whereupon he finds himself.

Perhaps it is better to not have tasted joy than to have tasted it and have it leave you a short while later. Perhaps it is better to remain in the equilibrium where nothing happens; where emotion lies in dormancy; where the soul stares into a void; where the heart yearns for nothing, desires nothing; where passion is never birthed. A deprived passion is too much to handle.

Perhaps I really am strange; and the things that I talk about are strange, and only those to whom I am close have the fortitude and patience to withstand the strangeness of my talk. Thus, when I tried to talk to a new person, either I wouldn’t know how to proceed in conversation, or I start talking in such a strange manner that the person eventually walks away. Perhaps, the strangeness, which I have too often imagined to be alluring, is in fact repulsive. Perhaps that is why…

What breeds this unhappiness? Was it always somewhere within me; but only now, having found form in words? When I was younger, was I always unhappy too? Maybe I was too naive to realise my unhappiness, or could find no expression for it, and so shook it off as nonsense of the mind. Am I bound to be unhappy all my life? Worse still, am I bound to never know the reasons for my unhappiness? I am as unhappy as any man can be, and I don’t know why.

Because unhappiness is infinite and infinitely inventive, I cannot escape it. I keep yearning for more.


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