(NCTG) “Why is it that people, who have progressed so far in science and thinking, are still confused about how to deal with sadness?”.

Watching: What is Metamorphosis

The ballet “The Metamorphosis” by Arthur Pita, adapted from the novel of the same name by Franz Kafka

1. In 1915, Kafka published the novel “The Metamorphosis” (The Metamorphosis) about a guy named Samsa who suddenly turned into a bug. Thus begins one of the greatest mysteries in the literary world: what is it? deliberately kept the image of that animal a mystery. Kafka used the ambiguous word “Ungeziefer” instead of the word “Insekt”, confusing many translators. Kafka also told the book illustrator not to draw bugs at all, so the cover of the first book is completely devoid of “incarnation” at all. Popular culture often envisions it as a cockroach. But “Lolita” author and microbiologist and microbiologist Nabokov insists it must be a beetle.2. During a dark period in my life, I suddenly realized that the key was not in the appearance but in the “brown fluid” secreted from the beetle’s mouth. In Ancient Greek, “melas” meaning “black” and “kholé” meaning “bile,” combined to form the word “melancholy” (commonly meaning “sorrow”, which in psychology also refers to a form of depression, i.e. severe sadness). I thought, maybe the liquid that comes out of Samsa’s mouth is sadness, and “The Metamorphosis” is actually a story about a person who is so sad that he disfigures his body. Metaphorically understood, Samsa is full of expressions. symptoms of a depressed person: he no longer wants to eat, drink, talk like a normal person. He could no longer connect with anyone, no longer find solace in things like love, knowledge, or art. He felt like he was enveloped in a membrane, isolating himself from life and life. Inside the membrane is a frozen, numb heart. Outside the membrane, the world drifted by indifferently, no one looked back or noted his sadness. When he tries to share his feelings, others see him as weak and a shameful burden to his family and society. Many depressed people have experienced feelings of self-isolation and isolation. so? At those times, are we different from a weird bug in the middle of the human world? I thought, maybe Kafka’s bug is actually just a human being distorted by sadness, to the point where humanity no longer (want to) recognize it as a human.

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Cover of the first edition of “The Metamorphosis”


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In literature and language, one seems to sense the ability to “transform” sadness very early on. We say “pain makes my heart iron” or “my heart breaks”. In the original Chinese word, the word “bi” (悲) in “tragedy” consists of the heart 心 (heart) below, above are two opposite wings 非 indicating separation. “Tragic” is a feeling of sadness that makes the heart feel like it is being torn in two. Around the year 700, the Japanese used this word “bi” combined with the word “she” in solitude to form the word “luyen” in circulation. love. Missing someone is embracing loneliness and suffering. Later, people used the word “love” differently, but I always wonder if the Japanese were the first to understand the painful nature of love?4. In 1991, Japanese medicine began to recognize Takotsubo (ink catcher) syndrome, commonly known in English as “broken heart syndrome”, in which a figuratively broken heart (due to emotional trauma) strong feelings such as loss of a loved one or separation from a loved one) causes the heart to literally break (structural rupture of the heart, the left ventricle bulging and dilating into the shape of an ink jug). That is to say, the state of inner sadness actually has enough power to affect and distort the external body structure. The point is, this syndrome has only really become known in the world of medicine since then. 2005, which means very recently. And before that, what do people do with sad people?

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Left → Right: Tim takotsubo vs. Normal heart. Photograph of sick heart + Ink catching bottle

5. The history of science seems to go hand in hand with the history of denial of sadness. In the 4-5th century BC, the ancient Greeks called “melancholy” “black bile” because they believed that depression was caused by the patient’s spleen secreting too much black bile. Hippocrates treats depression as a physical illness – giving the patient a bath, exercising, and adjusting his diet (administering a mixture of poppy flower extract mixed with donkey milk). Meanwhile, the ancient Mesopotamians, Chinese, and Egyptians considered depression to be possessed by demons and had to be cured by exorcism (beating, starving things). During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was thought that Depression is a form of demonic possession and is treated by drilling a hole in the head to release evil spirits. In the 17th century, Robert Burton wrote the first specialized medical book on depression – “The Anatomy of Melancholy”, which mentioned treatments for depression such as using herbs, enemas, watching music and dancing, and getting married. /husband. During the Ming Dynasty (18th-19th centuries), many who thought that depression was a genetic disease and had to put the patient in an asylum. In the early 20th century, Sigmund Freud was probably the first person to really get to the heart of the problem. Freud suggested that depression was a response to loss (which could be a real loss like the death of a loved one, or a symbolic loss like a major life failure), and suggested a treatment for it with psychoanalysis. study (listen to the patient). However, Freud was in the minority, and the popular treatment for depression at the time was electroconvulsive therapy or surgery to destroy part of the front of the brain (lobotomy), both of which appear in the film. Flying over the cuckoo’s nest” (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975) as very distorting measures and leaves many severe sequelae.

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Electric shock scene in the movie “Flying over the cuckoo’s nest” (1975)

During this period, a famous depressed writer, Sylvia Plath, recounted the process of her electric shock in “The Bell Jar” (1961) and its consequences such as personality changes, language ability, thinking and judgment – ​​the things that make up a person’s identity. Two years later, she committed suicide by putting her head in a gas furnace. Around the same time, Ernest Hemingway shot himself after being electrocuted. Virginia Woolf committed suicide after trying countless contemporary treatments for depression. Why is it that people, having advanced so far in science and thinking, are still confused as to how to deal with their grief? sad? Is the world of reason not ready to accept sadness as an emotional state that deserves attention and is easy to encounter? Have people been and still want to ignore depressed people as weak, whining and troubling?6.

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Humanity has reached the heights of outer space, but it may be a long time before understanding the depths of melancholy, where individuals struggle like empty inkpots lying on the ground. in the middle of the dark sea.