Uniquely human . . .

A comment on my earlier post ‘The Word’ suggests that, whilst words enable us

. . . to be uniquely human by allowing us to carve off pieces of what is in order to bring it into ourselves, they also dissect. Once we’ve created that division – identified what is, and thus what isn’t, there is always that rift…

I wonder, do the words create the rift or simply allow us to live with and explore it?

Interesting, too, how often we talk of human ‘uniqueness’ and ‘self-hood’. Does this not imply that there is a part of us that embraces separation? Is it possible to be ‘unique’ without being separate?

The dynamic between this desire for individuation and the desire for ‘oneness’ seems central to human experience:

The self may not be natural, may not be naturally at home with itself; . . . The depressive is a kind of mystic and depression is a mediation on a lost paradise beyond the prison of selfhood.

Michael Ignatieff, Scar Tissue

Are  ‘joy’ and this kind of ‘depressive mysticism’ the flip sides of this ‘meditation on a lost paradise’? If so, do we ultimately need to travel beyond both?

If we cultivate our capacity for joy, does it make it easier to live through the darker moments in recognition of their connection to each other?

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