Ennui

“I hate feelings. I hate them!” said the person who feels them so intensely.

The feelings we hate are the ones that drive us into the dark corners and the basements of the psyche. The only thing worse than being in the grip of sorrow or grief is to feel nothing, or fool oneself into believing that the feelings aren’t there.

Ennui – a listless weariness and boredom – describes this hell.

Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, I listen to all the shouting of our time and feel that I’ve been there before. I prefer not to feel the loss of belief in history as the inevitable upward bend of progress. Listening to the sounds of ignorant armies clashing by night is not good for my sanity. I prefer ennui to constant turmoil, and, in the midst of ennui, I have nothing to say of any worth. No great word of hope.

“All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
or the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again;
there is nothing new under the sun.”
-Ecclesiastes, 1:8-9.

In times like these I go through periods of great sadness and move into the protective shell of ennui. Then something like Odetta’s version of “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child” breaks through again to the feelings I hate. Is it sometimes good to hate?