Hypochondria - A Soupçon Of Seas (Vol III)
Frankfurt, 1797: at twenty-seven, Hegel plunged into a profound crisis. He no longer knew what he thought; he no longer knew what to think. The republic and the revolution had collapsed under the repeated blows of German history. Several years later, Hegel would speak of this episode as an attack of “hypochondria”. Hypochondria: literally, under the cartilage of the ribs, with one’s heart cramped. When the perception of the world is too closely concerned with chaos, the heart suddenly, without reason, sinks. Without any reason: one might say that reason gets muddled. Look closely at the letter in which Hegel, at forty, describes the crisis that overcame him in Frankfurt: ‘I suffered from this hypochondria for a number of years to the point of total exhaustion; no doubt every man experiences such a turning point in his life, the nocturnal point where his whole being contracts and he must force himself through the narrows until he becomes secure and certain of himself, secure in ordinary daily life, and if he has already made himself incapable of being fulfilled by that, then secure in a more inward, more noble existence. (emphasis added)’ (An excerpt from ‘Syncope: The Philosophy of Rapture’ (1994), by Catherine Clément). Listen in...
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