Tuesday, June 14, 2005

PeaceBang And the Blue Lady

Oh, my.
PeaceBang is depressed tonight.
No unusual reasons. Stress for congregants in extremis, sadness over the news of a metastisized cancer, awaiting the medical explanation for one young man's calamitous drop in white blood cells, beloveds who are in transition and would so much rather not be, rage at the vile iniquities of the "Bush Crime Family," knowing I won't be seeing my pals at GA this year, the heat (which finally broke this afternoon), the dog that didn't get adopted, an old chum's cheerful inquisition as to why I haven't had a date in a year, and a sick feeling that my beloved alma mater is on a very bad course for the future (at least so far as it concerns nurturing the health of the ordained ministry. Yes, that's a call to organize. Write me off-line if you like. Call me Rev. Deep Throat. I have dish).

But thanks to a Jungian author named Lyn Cowan, PeaceBang knows that she is once again visiting with Lady Melancholy and that there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there is nothing wrong with her consistently overly-sensitive, death-conscious, melancholic character. Unlike depression, which stifles the imaginal world and muffles creative potential, melancholy brings us more deeply into it. Melancholia is not a disease, but is a temperament that has gone completely out of favor in our manic, modern American culture, and is misunderstood, feared and unappreciated.

I'm not saying it's a bag of adorable floppy monkeys to be a melancholic, I'm just saying it's not necessarily a pathology. It's a typology.

If you are a melancholic or love someone who is, or if you work with the soul in your profession, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It does employ the rather cheezy convention of having several chapters "spoken" by Dame Melancholy herself (or her friend, a melancholic English curate), but even those chapters are very worthy.


An excerpt:

"Until the mid-19th century, melancholy was imagined as an affliction from the gods, a madness characteristic of genius, and a difficult temperament. At the height of the Renaissance, it was imagined in personified form as a majestic female figure; artists and poets looked to her as their Muse. But, in the 20th century, melancholy all but disappeared from the professional imagination, to be replaced by the diagnostic categories of depression."

By the way, Tom Cruise can go fffffffffffffffuuuu....lop on a pile of monkeys for saying all that incredibly inane, inaccurate stuff about Jung's involvement with the Nazis and for suggesting that Brooke Shields is a weak, misled moron for using medications to help her manage her post-partum depression. What a blithering idiot, as my father used to say.

[Oh my heavens. I hear cars honking and hundreds of teenagers screaming out on Main Street. It couldn't be the last day of school? Not at 8 pm? It couldn't be a football victory. What is it? Graduation was weeks ago. Michael Jackson's
verdict? A really good episode of "Scrubs?" What?]


Anonymous Kim said...

Are you familiar with the Enneagram? It's a system of personality typing, plus other stuff, that includes one type that is prone to melancholy. (Type 4)
You might want to look it up.

Blogger David said...

I'm sorry but the use of Rev. and Deep Throat in the same sentence, much less combined, is somewhat disturbing. Sorry, I left my mind in the gutter years ago and have yet to retrieve it. If one should locate it (its the small one next to the beer cans) please return it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Man With The Blue Guitar


The man bent over his guitar,
A shearsman of sorts. The day was green.

They said, "You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are."

The man replied, "Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar."

And they said to him, "But play, you must,
A tune beyond us, yet ourselves,

A tune upon the blue guitar,
Of things exactly as they are."


I cannot bring a world quite round,
Although I patch it as I can.

I sing a hero's head, large eye
And bearded bronze, but not a man,

Although I patch him as I can
And reach through him almost to man.

If a serenade almost to man
Is to miss, by that, things as they are,

Say that it is the serenade
Of a man that plays a blue guitar.


A tune beyond us as we are,
Yet nothing changed by the blue guitar;

Ourselves in tune as if in space,
Yet nothing changed, except the place

Of things as they are and only the place
As you play them on the blue guitar,
Placed, so, beyond the compass of change,
Perceived in a final atmosphere;

For a moment final, in the way
The thinking of art seems final when

The thinking of god is smoky dew.
The tune is space. The blue guitar

Becomes the place of things as they are,
A composing of senses of the guitar.


Tom-tom c'est moi. The blue guitar
And I are one. The orchestra

Fills the high hall with shuffling men
High as the hall. The whirling noise

Of a multitude dwindles, all said,
To his breath that lies awake at night.

I know that timid breathing. Where
Do I begin and end? And where,

As I strum the thing, do I pick up
That which momentarily declares

Itself not to be I and yet
Must be. It could be nothing else.

Wallace Stevens (poet)

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Only a true fellow melancholic would be up before dawn quoting Wallace Stevens. :-)


Post a Comment

<< Home