23 02 2016

In a way goodness and truth seem to come out of the depths of the soul, and when we really know something we feel that we’ve always known it. Yet also it’s terribly distant, farther than any star. We’re sort of stretched out. It’s like beyond the world, not in the clouds or in heaven, but a light that shows the world, this world, as it really is.  – from Iris Murdoch’s Above the Gods

You could say ‘somebody is unhappy’; you could say this is sadness, and in a way that’s right, depending on what we mean. But if you think of this as the words of a soldier encountering the realities of the life of combat, or a refugee fleeing from such a world, or just a bereaved ‘soul’ (as we say), it seems to me that it’s more than that. Perhaps the case of depression is not really one of sadness. Is it perhaps a soul sickness? Psychiatrists, after all the word means ‘soul doctors.’ – Iain McGilchrist