Charles Baudelaire said that he could barely conceive of a type of beauty in which there is no melancholy. Aristotle went as far as to say that great men are always by nature originally melancholy. Perhaps this begins to explains why melancholy can be just as seductive as ecstacy.
As someone who is melancholic by nature (and thus partial to Aristotle’s above-quoted take on the matter ^^) I tend to agree with Italo Calvino that melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness. One of the hardest but most important lessons I have had to learn in this respect is a configuration of the classic “too much of a good thing” mantra. When it comes to melancholy, excess makes what could be a catalyst for reflection and creativity collapse under its own weight.
Melancholy is, to my mind, the signature spirit of our time because of its irrevocable link to change. Anatole France said, “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” If I were to attempt to describe, in the most rudimentary of terms, what is simultaneously the key difference and connecting factor between my experience of the world and that of my parents I would bring it down to the way we relate to change. For my parents change had, when they were finding their way in the world, been exceptional. As they raised me I found my perspective on change dually shaped by their experiences and the ever-changing world we faced together. At the turn of the 20th century Henri Bergson prophetically formulated what is now almost an identity status quo: “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.”