Sehnsucht: Longing for the Far Country

This is the 16th in the series “The Case Against Physicalism.”

Nikhil Prasad on upslash. Mythopoeic writers and friends C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien shared an understanding of sehnsucht, the German word they used to express the intense longing for “a far country.” Sehnsucht is a nearly universal human experience but little discussed today. The failure to understand its origin and meaning leads to many heartbreaking disappointments. But works such as Lord of the Rings bring focus to this experience and suggest its true meaning.

Sehnsucht is one of those marvelous, untranslatable words. As a second-generation Frisian, from the northern Dutch province of Friesland, I learned the word “gezellig” at a very early age. (The “gs” are pronounced softly as if you are clearing phlegm from your throat.) It is usually translated as “cozy,” but everyone who has ever heard…

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Gerald R. Baron

Gerald R. Baron

Husband, father, grandfather, mostly-retired, farm advocate, author, communicator. Deeply curious about science, nature, spirit and history.