Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Conception of Despair

If we conceive of human beings as lacking unity, of having a divided nature that may or may not be united in its ends, if we conceive of value as consisting of whatever individual humans happen to love and desire, and if we conceive of happiness as a kind of satisfaction or indulgence of our loves and desires, then I propose a conception of despair.

Despair is the state one gets into where one or more deep fragments of one's nature desires what conflicts with one or more deep fragments of one's nature. The result is that harmony and satisfaction becomes impossible: every indulgence is simultaneously a wound and every satisfaction simultaneously a poisoning. Happiness eludes a person in such a state because their loves and desires cannot be altogether taken care of.

What hope would there be in such a situation? So far as I can see, only a self-recreation could save such a person. They would require a new nature so that they would love differently.

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