We had a lot of trouble with western mental health workers who came here immediately after the genocide and we had to ask some of them to leave.
They came and their practice did not involve being outside in the sun where you begin to feel better. There was no music or drumming to get your blood flowing again. There was no sense that everyone had taken the day off so that the entire community could come together to try to lift you up and bring you back to joy. There was no acknowledgement of the depression as something invasive and external that could actually be cast out again.
Instead they would take people one at a time into these dingy little rooms and have them sit around for an hour or so and talk about bad things that had happened to them. We had to ask them to leave.
”—~A Rwandan talking to a western writer, Andrew Solomon, about his experience with western mental health and depression.
From The Moth podcast, ‘Notes on an Exorcism’. (via jacobwren)
“I was always attracted not by some quantifiable, external beauty, but by something deep down, something absolute. Just as some people have a secret love for rainstorms, earthquakes, or blackouts, I liked that certain undefinable something.”—
Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
My father can fix your plumbing or your grammar, restore an old radio or build a table and put a nice finish on it. Back in the 1970s he installed solar panels on our roof and devised the system that heated our water. One summer, my brother and I…
“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”—Bill Watterson (via alesthetique)
“I live my life, you live yours. If you’re clear about what you want, then you can live any way you please. I don’t give a damn what people say. They can be reptile food for all I care.”—Haruki Murakami - Dance Dance Dance (via murakamistuff)
“Go and get a job. Go and find a flat. Find somebody else. Put them in the flat. Make them stay. Get a toaster. Go to work. Get on the bus. Look at your boss. Say, “fuck”. Sit down. Pick up the thing. Go blank. Scream internally. Go home. Listen to the radio. Look at the other person. Think, “WHY? Why did this happen?”. Go to bed. Lie awake! At night! Get up. Feel groggy. Put the things on - your clothes - whatever they’re called. Go out the door, into work - same thing! Same people, again, it’s real, it is happening, to you. Go home again! Sit, Radio, Dinner - mmm, GARDENING, GARDENING, GARDENING, death!”—Dylan Moran (via alesthetique)
“Anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the battles of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives us mad. It is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.”—Richard Walker in Twenty-Four Hours A Day. Taken from writer, Austin Kleon's wonderful post: “Something Small, Every Day.” (via crashinglybeautiful)
The Book of Job enacts the most human and inevitable of tragedies. Job has love, wealth, solidity, community, certainty. And then his world is scoured, and the only purpose given for his harrowing doesn’t seem to even convince the great anonymous poet behind the poem. The poem’s a wrestling with a mystery, the ceaseless process of diminishment and loss.
For your lover to die is not to be guided by fire but immolated by it; to lose what you love, as Job loses his children, is to be entirely plunged into darkness, vulnerable, unprotected by any hedge. And we’re forced to the ultimate question of self-pity: why me? Why did I suffer? Why did I live to lose? Does this have any meaning at all, or is it merely the grinding down of ourselves, the grand arbitrary motions the spheres enact? […]
Remember: life is a breath;
Soon I will vanish from your sight.
The eye that looks will not see me;
You may search, but I will be gone.
Like a cloud fading in the sky,
Man dissolves into death.
He leaves the whole world behind him
And never comes home again.
A characteristically Old Testament vision of human life: a breath caught between two darknesses, a difficulty endurable only through submission to God. Submission to power and law, the acceptance of our lot – an expected stance, and one which Job all at once bracingly, completely belies.
“Therefore,” he says, “I refuse to be quiet…”
This is the opposite of acceptance. Job sees plainly and unflinchingly the unbearably human lot and says, No, I will not have it, I do not understand it, it is not just. Job and his friends need to believe – don’t we all need to believe? – the universe is sane, benign in its orders. Job’s upright friends – righteous men, good spiritual citizens – would have him accept that he must have sinned somehow, must have done something to deserve this. Or at least want him to accept, silently, an incomprehensible will greater than his own.
But Job’s humanity lies in his no-saying. No easy answer, no humble acceptance, NO – I rage against the excoriating process of loss in my life, I will not be silent in the face of it, I refuse to be quiet. I will look at the great black tree of the world through the window of bitterness, the window of misery, I’ll put my face to that dark, and I will say what I see. Silence is submission to the implacable order. For Job, silence equals the death of the self.