meus intuitus

melancholic ability

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Recently, I have purposefully internalized certain philosophies that have proven effective in cultivating a very positive outlook on life. However, it has not been even a few weeks into my happy existence that I, just now, stumbled across a direct and poignant counterpoint.

That counterpoint came in the classical and modern understanding of melancholy… and its relation to creativity, insight, and focus. Melancholy causes us to withdraw from the world, away from distractions, into ourselves–into the dark domain of the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC). This is the area of the brain that goes into overdrive when distractions need to be snuffed, when a task needs to be addressed. The VLPFC allows the depressed to reflect and ruminate, endlessly; the poet to imagine and re-write, tirelessly; the scholar to study and ponder, masterfully. This is the area of the brain that is activated as I self-reflect and ponder for this blog.

As content as I felt these last few weeks, I also had the feeling that I was missing something. I felt a certain deficiency of competency–especially compared to what I felt capable of before.

A trite statement: Ignorance is bliss. Indeed, bliss is ignorance. Joy is carefree. Happiness is ADD. Ecstasy fails completely when you ask it to apply itself.

But Melancholy… ah, Melancholy… My old friend. How wrong I was to have attempted to abandon you. Little did I understand the things you did for me. Little did I know that… It was in the serenity of your embrace that I wrote my greatest reflections, that I prepared for my greatest trials, that I dared to contemplate my life, profound. I endeavored to escape you, my friend, because I perceived you as my greatest weakness. Little did I know that you are the essence of my greatest strength.

“Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain.” ~Jonah Lehrer

original article, here

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Written by meusintuitus

March 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Posted in contemplation

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