Ancient Word of the Day: Weltschmerz

Ancient Word of the Day: Weltschmerz

Weltschmerz: n: (literally) World Pain (from German). The feeling of sadness at the suffering that surrounds you in the world. The pain of being an empath and sensitive to all despair and distress in the world. An ill-defined weariness at the burdens carried universally by all of humankind.

The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels
The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels

“Sickness brought me this

Thought, in that scale of his:

Why should I be dismayed

Though flame had burned the whole World, as it were a coal,

Now I have seen it weighed Against a soul?”

W. B. Yeats, ‘A Friend’s Illness’ (1916)
About Neon Art and Loneliness http://wp.me/p41CQf-aU
About Neon Art and Loneliness http://wp.me/p41CQf-aU
The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels
The Sensual World of The Unseen By Photographer Duane Michaels

Weltschmerz comes into English usage via ‘The Life of Byron’ by Karl Elze (1872).

“It was Byron who introduced world-sorrow (Weltschmerz) into modern English literature, though in English it may be remarked that we have no expression for such a thing. On the other hand, in the literature of Germany, world-sorrow plays a far more important part. This world sorrow rests primarily in the ever-present grief of the human race at the transitoriness of all things earthly, the gloomy destiny and uncertain lot of man,” ~ Karl Elze.

‘The Life of Byron’ by Karl Elze (1872).
The odds in favour of you being born were slim
Poetry and music from the film ‘Wings of Desire’ (Der Himmel uber Berlin)

When the child was a child,
It threw a stick like a lance against a tree,
And it quivers there still today.

Read more

Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

6 thoughts on “Ancient Word of the Day: Weltschmerz

    1. Yeah it’s amazing isn’t it….pretty much sums up how many people are feeling at this moment in time, or perhaps it’s a part of what it means to be human to feel this way? Thank you for the comment 😊

      Like

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