Enjoy the best Leonard Cohen Quotes at BrainyQuote. Quotations by Leonard Cohen, Canadian Singer, Born September 21, 1934. Share with your friends. Deep within the endless void Searching for a sign Kelly: The vessel forged inside me Watches over Like the death of the moon Dailor: Strike the shepherd, sheep will scatter Mountains of despair Dailor: I can see the pain It is written all over your face Kelly: The screaming arrows tear through my soul In the dawn your face is haunting. It fits all the despair and love he can carry into the smudged shapes of songs. These are tracks that flicker with love – illuminating a record that could have been unremittingly dark. The songs are heavy but also weightless, places where imagination and reality weave together.
The lost recordings of a phantom musician.
The text printed on the label of the Greek 78-rpm disc translated as “Alexis Zoumbas ~ violin, accompanied by young men of the Epirot village of Politsani.” Its significance, and the meaning behind its very existence, stymied all speculation. No one had heard what was etched into these grooves since they’d been pressed—the Greek title for the song was untranslatable, and the recording itself was undocumented, hushed into being for no perceptible reason other than to come into my possession.
A week before this record arrived at my post office, I’d finally untethered myself from Zoumbas and his recorded legacy. After two years of focused inquiry, I’d finished work on Alexis Zoumbas: A Lament for Epirus, 1926-1928, a collection of his recordings. I’d let go. But any comfort I found in that was lost when this disc came into my life.
The 78 rpm record was the dominant medium of auricular permanence and commerce for more than fifty years. These fragile vessels of sound are coveted by collectors who, like myself, have developed a precise yet vaguely sexual phraseology to describe their physical condition. This Zoumbas disc, for instance, was in excellent condition, but with a tight hairline crack and a slightly enlarged spindle hole.
And what of its artist? Alexis Zoumbas was a phantom musician, a violinist. Born in the hinterlands of Epirus, Greece, in 1883, he immigrated to New York City in 1910 and died practically unknown in Detroit in 1946. The myth surrounding his life maintained that he’d fled Greece after murdering his landlord, and that he himself had been gunned down by a jealous lover. Drawn in by his music and intrigued by these stories, I become obsessed with his life. I traveled to his home village, Grammeno, to interview his two surviving nephews, Michalis and Napoleon Zoumbas, both retired musicians in their eighties. In Ioannina, the capitol of Epirus, I unearthed biographical documents; in the U.S. I found immigration and naturalization papers, as well as a draft card and a death certificate. This trail of evidence, dispersed across continents, corrected the narrative of this powerful musician’s life. He did not kill his landlord, and he wasn’t offed by a jilted lady friend—those were apocryphal stories created to elevate his musical status and cultural legacy. Zoumbas had entered into the elite mythical realm reserved for more well-known American prewar musicians like the Delta bluesman Skip James and the Appalachian banjoist “Dock” Boggs, majestic artists surrounded by imaginary rows of corpses, stacked like cordwood, coolly dispatched in their dreams and in the stories told about them.
My fixation with Zoumbas—especially with his bow stroke and what it said about him, about his movement from traditional northern Greek melodies to an idiosyncratic expression of immigrant artistry—sprang from an earlier fixation with instrumental songs from Albania and Epirus. Zoumbas came from a musical tradition where the violin rarely led the entire performance and where the repertoire scarcely varied from one small village to the next. When he moved to New York in 1910, he found he could take this very old body of folk music and imbue it with his own story: his experiences of a strange land and his raw emotions. Zoumbas longed for Epirus, and this longing combined with his virtuosity to produce recordings of unfathomable misery and pathos. His music was colored by the Epirot concept of xenitia—a profound yearning for one’s home soil, and a corresponding ache for the emigrant by those left behind.
Villagers and musicians from Epirus believe that a unique body of melodies, played principally with the clarinet and violin, give psychological healing to all those who listen to them: a harmonic panacea. The two tunes most strongly identified with Epirus are the mirologi and the skaros, both improvised pentatonic instrumentals, with free melody and meter but regionally defined tonal emphases and embellishments. They’re ancient and primal. The mirologi was originally a vocalized funerary lament, sung over the body or next to the grave of the deceased for several years until the earth consumed the flesh; after that, the bones were exhumed, bathed in wine, and placed in the village. Mirologi are found throughout ancient Greek literature, in the epic poems and tragedies. At some point, the keening of mourning women was transformed into an instrumental that’s central to Epirot music and culture. This dark, melismatic piece is played at the beginning and at the end of the traditional feast-dances in Epirus, the paniyeria.
A skaros is a shepherd’s song, as old as the mirologi. The shepherd would play a special skaros with his flute to calm and gather his herd, essentially drawing them together in a hypnotic state. An especially well-crafted skaros, played in Epirus with the clarinet and violin, produces a kind of viscerally felt introspection.
I came to discover Alexis Zoumbas through two old 78 discs, one containing a mirologi and the other a skaros. Upon acquiring his Epirotiko Mirologi, “A Lament for Epirus,” I played it in my record room and a dark vastness opened; I wanted to uncover the instinct that created this music, this expression of despair. While his violin keened and wept, the horsehair on the bow of the contrabass maintained constant contact and dark tension, a tonal anchor. Zoumbas’s mirologi was the sound of a looming asteroid right before it smacks into Earth, ending all life and hope.
* * *
A map of ancient Epirus by Heinrich Kiepert, 1902.
As I unpacked his life and constructed a narrative, Zoumbas had inevitably taken on a corporeal form. The trek to Epirus to gather oral history from his family and village, the dossier of vital documents from the U.S. and Europe, and the shelf containing nearly all of Zoumbas’s twenty-odd instrumental discs seemed to imply closure. But then this record came.
An Albanian American and second-generation Bostonian, Steve John, had been graciously feeding me duplicate 78s from his collection. Three days after I’d finally finished the Zoumbas compilation, Steve called to inform me that he had acquired a stack of Albanian records and a very curious Greek disc, a twelve-inch record on the Me-Re label, established by an Albanian musician, Ajdin Asllan. I had acquired a 1946 catalog of the Mi-Re label a few days earlier and had scarcely thumbed through it. Now, looking up the disc, I shuddered in disbelief: Zoumbas was listed in a catalog the very year he died, sixteen years after his last documented recording. Typical of the time, the listings for the records were misspelled in Greek, so the title of this one was untranslatable. Only when I got the disc in my trembling hands did I realize that someone, probably Asllan, had etched the proper name of the song and the date of recording into the dead wax. It read: “O MENOUSIS (10-2-43).” After washing the disc, I glided the stylus into the groove and the old Greco-Albanian murder ballad echoed forth after having been unheard all these years. Slow, stark, and funereal:
Menousis, Birbilis and Resul-aga
Met at a taverna to eat and drink.
While eating, while drinking, while making merry,
They drifted into talk about beauties.
“A beautiful wife you have, Menous-aga.”
“Where did you see her, how do you know her and mention her?”
“I saw her last evening at the well—she was drawing water
And I gave her my kerchief and she washed it.”
“If you met her and you know her, tell us what she’s wearing.”
“A silver petticoat with golden coin.”
Menousis, drunk, went home and stabbed her to death.
In the morning, sober now, he wept her a lament:
“Rise, my duck, rise, my goose, rise, my blue-eyed one,
Rise and dress, put on your jewelry and join the dance,
That young men may see you and wither,
That I, poor man, may see you and rejoice in you.”
It was dizzying to hold the last disc, the only known copy, of Zoumbas in my hands, but perhaps it was more unnerving that this was barely a Zoumbas recording. The voices of four or five young men from Politsani—a village that’s almost wholly Greek Orthodox and Greek speaking, though it’s located about twenty miles within Albania’s border—dominate the recording. They sing in the iso-polyphonic style of Epirotes and Southern Albanians, in which one or more vocalists deliver the main melodic line while another singer or two add commentary, weaving in and out, creating dissonances and increasing the tension of the narrative. Another one or two people provide a constant drone an octave below the tonic key of the piece: a low, dark center. This tapestry of sound has its roots in Byzantine hymnody and Balkan epic song. Zoumbas’s violin and probably Asllan’s clarinet punctuate each verse, nothing more.
Questions flowed from this record, suggesting narrative detours that I must explore. Why, for instance, did Asllan choose to label and list this disc as a Zoumbas record when Zoumbas was no longer famous in the forties? His music, outside of Epirus, was too old-fashioned, reminiscent of a homeland that few longed for. Perhaps Asllan recorded Zoumbas out of friendship, maybe as a last glorious gesture before the void took everything away but this brittle piece of shellac. Because of rationing for the war, this disc wasn’t pressed until early 1946, implying either that Zoumbas saw and heard it right before he died—on February 7, 1946—or that he never saw it at all. And why had this disc found me? How had something so rare, so fleeting, ended up in my hands at exactly this time?
I’d thought earlier that the collection I produced was a proper lament for Alexis—he had never been mourned, and he died in a state of xenitia, yearning for his home soil. But as I sat alone in my record room, the needle trapped in the dead wax of the run-off groove, I realized that having stitched up a new suit of flesh for this specter meant I’d always have to look after him. In Epirus the dead are always with the living: they see them, they long for them, they care for them.
Lyrics translated by the Greek poet Demetrios Dallas.
Christopher King is an auricular raconteur and sonic archeologist. He produces CD and LP collections of music from old 78s through his studio, Long Gone Sound Productions, in Virginia.
Greta Thunberg at 2018 TED Talk on her climate worry: If burning fossil fuels was so bad that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before? Why were there no restrictions? Why wasn't it made illegal? To me, that did not add up. It was too unreal. So when I was 11, I became ill. I fell into depression, I stopped talking, and I stopped eating. In two months, I lost about 10 kilos of weight. Later on, I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD and selective mutism. That basically means I only speak when I think it's necessary - now is one of those moments.' ...
'I think my anxiety just reached a peak,' Ruttan Walker continued. It felt like there was nowhere to go, and although she had spoken to her primary care doctor about anxiety, she hadn't sought help with her mental health. Suddenly, she was contemplating self-harm. 'Though I don't think I would have hurt myself, I didn't know how to live with the fear of... the apocalypse, I guess? My son was home with me and I had to call my friend over to watch him because I couldn't even look at him without breaking down,' Ruttan Walker said. She eventually checked herself into an overnight mental health facility...
Maisy Rohrer, a 22-year-old developmental researcher at New York University, has been struggling to cope with climate change for years. 'I guess the despair started when I was 18, and I began learning about how much the earth was changing, and I'd have full-blown panic attacks about the arctic sea ice melting, and the polar bears starving, and I'd call my mom telling her life was pointless,' she said. She believed at the time that the human race 'should be wiped out.'I became very suicidal, and a large part of my justification for feeling like I'd be better off dead was that humans are hurting the Earth so much, and I as one person [couldn't] make enough of a positive impact so it would be better if I were not around to cause any more damage,' Rohrer said.
By Mike Pearl; illustrated by Annie Zhao
In the summer of 2015—the warmest year on record at the time—it was the literal heat that got to Meg Ruttan Walker, a 37-year-old former teacher in Kitchener, Ontario. “Summers have been stressful to me since having my son,” said Ruttan Walker, who is now an environmental activist. “It’s hard to enjoy a season that’s a constant reminder that the world is getting warmer.”
“I think my anxiety just reached a peak,” Ruttan Walker continued. It felt like there was nowhere to go, and although she had spoken to her primary care doctor about anxiety, she hadn’t sought help with her mental health. Suddenly, she was contemplating self-harm. “Though I don’t think I would have hurt myself, I didn’t know how to live with the fear of… the apocalypse, I guess? My son was home with me and I had to call my friend over to watch him because I couldn’t even look at him without breaking down,” Ruttan Walker said. She eventually checked herself into an overnight mental health facility.
Her case is extreme, but many people are suffering from what could be called “climate despair,” a sense that climate change is an unstoppable force that will render humanity extinct and renders life in the meantime futile. As David Wallace-Wells noted in his 2019 bestseller The Uninhabitable Earth, “For most who perceive an already unfolding climate crisis and intuit a more complete metamorphosis of the world to come, the vision is a bleak one, often pieced together from perennial eschatological imagery inherited from existing apocalyptic texts like the Book of Revelation, the inescapable sourcebook for Western anxiety about the end of the world.”
“Climate despair” has been a phrase used at least as far back as Eric Pooley’s 2010 book, The Climate War: True Believers, Power Brokers, and the Fight to Save the Earth, but it’s been in wide circulation for perhaps as little as two years. In more progressive Sweden, the term klimatångest has been popular since at least 2011 (the year a Wikipedia article with that name was created). In The Uninhabitable Earth, Wallace-Wells notes that the philosopher Wendy Lynne Lee calls this phenomenon “eco-nihilism,” the Canadian politician and activist Stuart Parker prefers “climate nihilism,” and others have tried out terms like “human futilitarianism.”
Whatever you call it, this is undeniably a real condition, if not one with a set of formal diagnostic criteria. (It may reach that status—it took decades for “burnout” to be declared an official “occupational phenomenon” by the World Health Organization.) It’s impossible to know how many people like Ruttan Walker have experienced climate despair as a mental health crisis, but despair is all around us: in our own momentary but intense reactions to the latest bit of climate news, in pitch-black memes and jokes about human extinction, even in works of philosophy and literature. There is now a fringe group of scientists and writers who not only take our imminent doom as an article of faith, but seem to welcome it.
This despair could be a consequence of climate change being on more people’s minds than ever before. According to social scientist and psychology scholar Renee Lertzman, author of 2015’s Environmental Melancholia, large numbers of people have recently come to the realization that climate change is real, scary, and not being addressed. “It’s a surreal experience because we’re still in the same system, so walking around, people are driving, and everyone’s eating a lot of meat [and] everyone’s acting like that’s normal,” she said. For some people, that feeling is incompatible with carrying on with the business of everyday life.
But climate despair goes far beyond a reasonable concern that a warming planet will make life more difficult and force humanity to make hard choices. Instead of rallying us, climate despair asks us to give up. In a 2009 study in the UK by researchers Saffron O’Neill and Sophie Nicholson-Cole, climate-related data visualizations were presented to test subjects who were urged, in fear-based terms, to take action or else. Most of the time these appeals produced “denial, apathy, avoidance, and negative associations.” Ultimately, the researchers concluded, “climate change images can evoke powerful feelings of issue salience but these do not necessarily make participants feel able to do anything about it; in fact, it may do the reverse.” In other words, if you tell people something must be done or we’re all gonna die, they tend to take door number two, however irrational that impulse may seem.
From a distance, climate despair may seem like ordinary anxiety and depression in patients who happen to be fixating on climate, but it’s hard to deny the unique effect climate change is having on mental health. On May 5, a group of psychologists and psychotherapists in Sweden published an open letter to their government that noted the perverse status quo of climate change—the concern wasn’t so much that the environment is breaking down, but that nothing was being done about it.
Specifically, the letter noted that children are aware that the grown-ups are leaving them a shitty world, and that’s a really messed-up thing to be aware of when you’re a kid. “A continued ecological crisis without an active solution focus from the adult world and decision makers poses a great risk that an increasing number of young people are affected by anxiety and depression,” reads the letter, in Swedish.
Simply reading facts about climate change can produce reactions not too dissimilar to Thunberg’s. The Uninhabitable Earth calls climate change “the end of normal,” explaining, “We have already exited the state of environmental conditions that allowed the human animal to evolve in the first place, in an unsure and unplanned bet on just what that animal can endure.” Last year’s UN report on humanity’s probable failure to stop warming short of the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold had a similar message, as did the one from May about how 1 million species are on track to go extinct due to human-caused environmental degradation, assuming we don’t change our course and stop generating greenhouse gases (alongside other forms of environmental havoc). Also in May, an Australian think tank called climate change “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization.”
These warning signs undoubtedly help spread awareness, but for some that awareness can breed hopelessness. Maisy Rohrer, a 22-year-old developmental researcher at New York University, has been struggling to cope with climate change for years. “I guess the despair started when I was 18, and I began learning about how much the earth was changing, and I’d have full-blown panic attacks about the arctic sea ice melting, and the polar bears starving, and I’d call my mom telling her life was pointless,” she said. She believed at the time that the human race “should be wiped out.”
“I became very suicidal, and a large part of my justification for feeling like I’d be better off dead was that humans are hurting the Earth so much, and I as one person [couldn’t] make enough of a positive impact so it would be better if I were not around to cause any more damage,” Rohrer said.
Even those who don’t have thoughts of suicide can be affected in profound ways by climate despair. Brooke Morrison is a 26-year-old radio host in North Carolina who chatters about pop music enthusiastically when she’s on air. Off-air, her world isn’t so bright. “I feel like I’m already grieving my life and my future,” she said. Even her life plans—she wants to move to Los Angeles—are colored by her pessimism. “I 100 percent believe that the West Coast will be underwater soon, and I’d like to experience it while there’s still time left,” she said.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.
End excerpt Full article here: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/j5w374/climate-despair-is-making-people-give-up-on-life
Here are Climate Depot’s small sampling of wacky mental health climate articles below.
Claim: ‘If Everyone Tripped on Psychedelics, We’d Do More About Climate Change’ – ‘In 1960s & 70s, frequent use of psychedelic drugs coincided with widespread environmental movements’ – Vice Mag: “Scientists are looking into what psychedelics do to inspire people to act pro-environmentally…After taking LSD, Bill stood in his kitchen in Merseyside, England, staring at a large tree. When the tree started to speak to him, Bill only found it strange that the tree didn’t formally introduce itself, he told VICE in 2017. During the rest of their 15-minute chat, the tree clued Bill into the profound fact that all life on earth—plant, animal, and human—was intimately connected. “It was as if someone was inside my head judging my feelings, my thoughts, and my emotions,” Bill said…
We’ve seen this before: In the 1960s and 1970s, frequent use of psychedelic drugs coincided with widespread environmental movements. Some propose that it’s not a coincidence that these things came about together. But proving that the drugs cause environmentalism is a tough claim to make, since perhaps the type of people who take psychedelics also happen to care about the environment…Psychedelics promote pro-environmental activity via a much-discussed phenomenon in the drug research world called ego dissolution…
Michael Pollan, the author of the recent exploration of the life-changing nature of psychedelics, How to Change Your Mind, acknowledged that psychedelic experiences could possibly address the “environmental crisis, born of our sense of distance from nature: our willingness to objectify nature and see it merely as a resource.” But he followed up with a dose of reality: “Then you need to stand back and say, ‘Wait, is it possible to prescribe a drug for an entire country?’” Psychedelics are still illegal, and not suitable for everyone—some people with a family history of psychosis could be at risk with these compounds.
This has been proposed before: See:Human Engineering: Meet NYU Professor Matthew Liao, who yearns to bio-engineer smaller, drug-ready humans
As his peer-reviewed study puts it, “Pharmacologically induced altruism and empathy could increase the likelihood that we adopt the necessary behavioral and market solutions for curbing climate change.” He emphasises there would be no coercion. The drugs would merely help those who want to be climate-friendly behaviour but lack the willpower.
USA Today documents how climate alarmism harms mental health – ‘It is merely the fear of a climate crisis and feelings of guilt that trigger mental health harm.’
STUDY: ‘Global warming’ causing an increase in ‘ecological grief’ – Published in the journal Nature Climate Change – ‘Ecological grief as a mental health response to climate change-related loss’ — The journal Nature Climate Change – April 2018
The authors of the new study claim: “We anticipate, along with a small but growing number of scholars, that ecological grief will become an increasingly common human response to the losses encountered in the anthropocene.”
Study Makes Bizarre Claim That ‘Global Warming’ Could Alter People’s Personalities – A new Columbia Business School study is out with the latest bizarre claim about man-made global warming — it could alter people’s personalities. “As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality,” reads the study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday.
Foreign Affairs Mag: ‘The Problem With Climate Catastrophizing – The Case for Calm’ (Written by )
Climate researchers and activists, according to a 2015 Esquire feature, “When the End of Human Civilization is Your Day Job,” suffer from depression and PTSD-like symptoms.
The Washington Post offers “the 7 psychological reasons that are stopping us from acting on climate change.”
‘Catastrophism can also lead to the trampling of democratic norms. It has produced calls for the investigation and prosecution of dissenters and disregard for constitutional limitations on government power.’
‘And yet, such catastrophizing is not justified by the science or economics of climate change. Working with a catastrophic mindset and a century-long timeline, one can construct an apocalyptic scenario from almost any problem.’
Under a political advocacy campaign launched Wednesday, a coalition of physician groups will tell the public that their health is threatened by catastrophic man-made global warming, also called climate change. Participating doctors will also urge government action to reduce the damage believed to be caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.
On Wednesday, the consortium issued a report titled, “Medical Alert! Climate Change Is Harming Our Health.”
“Here’s the message from America’s doctors on climate change: it’s not only happening in the Arctic Circle, it’s happening here,” Sarfaty said in the press release. “It’s not only a problem for us in 2100, it’s a problem now. And it’s not only hurting polar bears, it’s hurting us.”
Sarfaty has made numerous contributions to Democratic candidates, including former president Barack Obama, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, according to the Federal Election Commission’s website. The consortium is run by The George Mason University Program on Climate & Health.
Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. responded with a ‘bullshit meter’ rating the claim as ‘total BS’
Warmist Meteorologist: ‘Climate Change’ and Trump Have Driven Me to Therapy – Meteorologist Eric Holthaus: ‘I know many people feel deep despair about climate, especially post-election.” And it’s because of this, “There are days where I literally can’t work,” and “We don’t deserve this planet.’
The peer-reviewed study by eight federal agencies can be found here.
‘Climate change also threatens mental health, the study found. Post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and general anxiety can all result in places that suffer extreme weather linked to climate change, such as hurricanes and floods. More study needs to be done on assessing the risks to mental health, it said.’…
John Holdren, Obama’s senior science adviser, said steps the world agreed to in Paris last year to curb emissions through 2030 can help fight the risks to health. “We will need a big encore after 2030 … in order to avoid the bulk of the worst impacts described in this report,” he said.
Aussie Study: ‘Climate Change’ Is Taking ‘A Toll On Farmers’ Mental Health’ (Based on survey of 22 farmers in one town) – “Increasingly variable weather was having a negative impact on many farmers’ wellbeing.”
Deep Despair: Soundtrack Crack Full
“Uncertainty about growing conditions is having a noticeable impact on farmers’ mental health, according to a recent study out of Australia’s Murdoch University. To understand how climate change is impacting farmers’ mental wellbeing, Neville Ellis, from Murdoch University’s Centre for Responsible Citizenship and Sustainability, interviewed 22 farmers from the Australian town of Newdegate.” “One subject referred to the state of farmers’ mental health as akin to seasonal affective disorder — except that instead of suffering from lack of sunlight, farmers are suffering from a lack of rain.”