Melancholy either children of Polish Saturn

Szymon Wróbel


The article has a double task, considering the content of Mira Marcinуw’s book, which is important in two controversial topics: madness and its conditions on Poland and its societal psyche, in particular the specifics of Polish melancholy. The author’s views on the status of melancholy in culture and its unique position in public life are presented. The question is: does the melancholic doubt his life? A fairly justified hypothesis would be that the melancholic sees himself as a dead rather than a living body. The significance of the quoted book is that it raises troubling questions but doesn’t give easy answers. First of all, it becomes obvious an unclear – how to develop the epistemological history of melancholy, which is understood as a scientific idea that seeks coherence and adequacy of the medicine language while the political history of melancholy is interpreted as a symptom of this sociocultural context, in this case in relation to Poland. Science in this case creates or selects concepts, although it always systematizes them in a certain place and time. Secondly, it is not clear today how to distinguish the language of melancholy itself, which is the language element of the emergency state, from the language of medicine, which is a means of describing a certain medical disorder. Medicine to a greater extent than we might think refers to normality than to the problematic concept of health. Medicine, while managing human life, adopts a normative attitude, which does not amount to providing advice on how to live wisely, but allows to influence the physical and moral relations of citizens that connect them with society. Thirdly, it is argued that the very concept of melancholy remains dynamic and changeable. The proposed “erotic constellation of melancholy” shows that the subject of melancholy loses the ability to find new objects of love. This incapacity simultaneously leads a person to open nihilism, which is not only the “nothingness of the will” and the usual “will of nothingness”, but also the discovery of the nothingness of knowledge and the futility of the cognition process. The inability to find items worth loving is due to the difficulty of finding items worth the effort to know. Thus, the causes of melancholy go beyond the trivial case of loss and cover all resentments, rejections, failures, disappointments, including despair in the process of cognition. Melancholy brings the subject to ruin, so it is the limit of all medical knowledge, stating that there is no secret of «disorder» in clinical cognition, that there is no secret of madness, and that there is nothing but the study of madness itself. It turns out that madness is recognition of nothingness of the world.

Ключові слова

melancholy; doubt; anxiety; the language of melancholy; mental health; normative approach; nihilism; madness

Повний текст:



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ISSN 2523-4099 (online), ISSN 1810-2131 (print)