The Darkness and The Light

I used to think that Sadness was something desirable, something to achieve. When I felt it, it had a strange power, a power to grip deeply, a power to overwhelm. Sadness is something so raw, so human, it reaches out in a way that nothing else can. Commercials looking to raise funds for hungry children ooze sadness that creeps into your soul straight from the faces recorded afar. Instead of saying “bring joy to these kids”, they prompt us to, “relieve their suffering”.

Lykke Li’s song “Possibility” is drenched in sadness, a sadness with a strange appeal. There is a certain beauty in this sad song, but is the beauty in the melancholy sadness itself, or is it the way in which the musical arrangement touches us. Can the grace of a lion capturing its prey be beautiful, despite the inherent ferocious violence?

Sadness broods a sensation, not unlike a flavor, one that commands your attention, dissolving and spreading through you, bringing a hunger, then a numbness, then calls for more. You retreat inward to seek a deeper feeling, more real than the first, only to be met with further numbness and more need, an unrelenting force that closes around you, caves in and flattens you, breaks you, your soul fading, until you become nothing at all but sadness itself.

What is this sadness, and should we answer its call?

Sadness can be a purely personal experience when focused inward, but it can also be projected outward empathetically for the suffering of another. It can be a caring that allows the hurt of another to wound you, and in so doing, shares in and diminishes that burden.

Sometimes sadness is a heavy form of quietness and loneliness, and the only way to escape it is to get up and leave it behind.

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