Published in  
March 30, 2015

Suffering is intrinsically indeterminate

The psychological turbulence we experience today – the feelings of inadequacy, depression, disenchantment from normative relationships, dissatisfaction with work, the inconsolable anguish that will not be conceptualized – are not indications that something is ‘wrong’ with us or, even more strikingly, that something is wrong with ‘society’.

They are indications that ‘we’ are larger, more prodigious than the happiness-seeking, meaning-craving, ego-bubbles we think we are; they are reminders, if you will, that what ‘we’ is cannot be contained, labelled, or comprehended in any final sense. Of course, clinical professions (on the presumption that they understand what it means to be human) thrive on trying to fix these cosmic outbursts with pills and diagnostic tools and cultural preferences; they survive on thinking these emotive disturbances are ‘wrong’ – but ‘wrongness’ (and the exclusive ‘versus’ binary it is part of) is part of our crisis of language. In a sense, we do not know what depression is, what grief is not, what that gnawing sense of self-doubt is – except by a predetermined apparatus with which we frame these cosmic dances. Perhaps, our moments of turbulence are no more ‘wrong’ than the withering away of leaves and the dryness that comes with autumn. Perhaps they are not to be resolved.

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