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2021-10-27 14:39:21    作者:网易首页



One of the great contributing factors to mental illness is the idea that we should at all costs and and all times be well. We suffer far more than we should because of how long it can take many of us until we allow ourselves to fall properly and usefully ill.


In a crisis, our chances of getting better rely to a significant extent on having the right relationship to our illness; an attitude which is relatively unfrightened by our distress, which isn’t overly in love with the idea of seeming at all times ‘normal’, which can allow us to be deranged for a while in order one day to reach a more authentic kind of sanity.


It will help us immensely in this quest if the images of mental illness we can draw on at this time do not narrowly imply that our ailment is merely a freakish and pitiable possibility, if we can appeal to images that tease out the universal and dignified themes of our state, so that we do not ? on top of every thing else ? have to fear and hate ourselves for being unwell. We stand to heal a great deal faster if there are fewer associations like those created by Goya (of madness as the seventh circle of hell) and more of men and women a little like you and me, sitting on the sofa, able to combine our inner wretchedness with other, more temperate and attractive qualities ? so that we remain every bit human, despite our terrifying convulsions, absences of mind, catastrophic forebodings and sense of despair.


The best philosophical background against which to wrestle with mental unwellness would be one that conceived of the human animal as intrinsically rather than accidentally flawed, a philosophy that would resolutely reject the notion that we could ever be perfect and would instead welcome our griefs and our errors, our stumbles and our follies as no less a part of us than our triumphs and our intelligence. It is Japan’s Zen Buddhism that has historically perhaps best put forward such notions, with its bold declaration that life itself is suffering, and its veneration in the visual arts ? and by extension in its psychology ? of what is imperfect and un-glossy: rainy autumn evenings, sadness, moss covered roofs, stained wooden panels, tears and, most famously, misshapen and irregular pieces of pottery.

与精神不健康作斗争的最好的哲学依据是,认为人类这种动物有着天生的内在缺陷 而不是后天偶发缺陷。这种哲学将坚决反对人类是可以完美的这种观点,而认可和接受人们的痛苦和错误。我们的失误,我们的愚蠢和我们的胜利,智慧是一样的。日本的禅宗可能是历史上最好的解释这样的理念的哲学,它强调生命本身就是一种承受,在禅宗的视觉艺术以及其延伸的心理学中,对不完美、不光鲜的事物表示崇敬:秋夜多雨,忧伤,青苔覆盖,屋顶,斑驳的木板,眼泪,以及最著名的形状不规则的陶器。

Against such a background, it becomes a great deal easier for us to accept ourselves in our unwell state. We feel less guilty that we are not at work and are not playing up to the roles demanded of us by responsible others. We can be less defensive and frightened, more inclined to seek out proper care ? and more likely to recover properly in time.


With a philosophy of acceptance in mind, we can recognise that whatever the particularities of our crisis (which will naturally need to be investigated in due course), our pains fit into a broad picture of a crisis-prone human condition. No one is spared. No life can escape significant troubles. Everything is imperfect. We don’t have to know the details of someone’s life to be able to guess at the scale of the difficulties they too will have encountered. We have all been born to inadequate parents, our desires will always exceed reality, we will all make some appalling errors, we will hurt those we love and anger those with power over us, we will be anxious and confused, woeful and lost. We should accept both that we are profoundly unwell ? and that our ailments are entirely normal.


Japanese philosophy has another lesson for us at this point: we will probably one day be fixed but there are likely to be substantial and ineradicable marks. And yet, these marks can be worn with pride and self-respect. According to Zen Buddhism’s tradition of kintsugi, an accidentally smashed bowl isn’t to be thrown away in embarrassment, its pieces can be carefully collected and reassembled with glue inflected with gold. The traces of repair are made obvious, celebrated and cherished, as if to suggest to us ? as we bring a cup to our lips ? that we do not have to give up on ourselves or be ashamed of our own brokenness.


We can confront our illness without panic or fear, with a quiet intelligent sadness perhaps best captured by the word melancholy. If we were searching for a patron saint of such a melancholy relationship to mental difficulty, we could do worse than pick the Welsh artist Gwen John, who combined a brilliant career as a painter with moments of harrowing mental collapse ? but remained all the while fundamentally on the side of life. From her self-portrait, John implies that she would understand whatever we might be going through, her eyes hint that she has been there too, that she could be our guide to the underworld of our minds ? and that, however much we might hate ourselves at this moment, we deserve gentleness, patience and respect as we feel our way towards repair.



审核:Leon Yong



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