We scale the heights of delight and despair to gain new perspective on Agony and Ecstasy. What role do bliss and ecstasy play in our personal and political lives? How do we navigate situations of extreme pain and torment? Does happiness lie in the pursuit of ecstasy or balance?
From dizzying highs of rapturous ecstasy to staggering lows of anguish and despair, a great many of us might be forgiven for feeling that modern life seems to increasingly trend towards states of extremity and immoderation. But where does that leave us in navigating our sense of self in the world, and our interactions with others in society? Are fleeting highs the best we can hope for in life? And what toll does the exhausting search for greatness take upon our wellbeing?
In French theorist Jean Baudrillard’s postmodern world, individuals flee from the ‘desert of the real’ for the ecstasies of hyperreality and the new realm of computer, media, and technological experience. With that in mind, Douglas Kellner analyses the war for attention on social media in the article The Ecstasy of the Hyperreal in the Age of Trump.
In The Ethics of Powerlessness, philosopher Béatrice Han-Pile brings forward the idea that while powerlessness is very painful, it can also be an important factor of change and growth (as in successful cases of recovery from addiction).
When we are ill, we can often find our strongest passion for life and lust. So why doesn't medicine acknowledge this? David Morris makes a case that Eros and Illness Make Good Bedfellows.