Melancholy Maaret’s Memo on Melancholia

PAPER BUTTERFLY by secretsaunasirens

“…scientists say melancholics are better lovers” /” ..happy people are forgetful suckers”/ “…Roget created his thesaurus to combat the funk”

Melancholy Maaret,  enigmatic contemporary visual & performance artist, and founder of Secret Sauna Sirens – a pseudonymous, experimental collaborative of multi-disciplinary artists – has some interesting insight into the subject of sadness.  In her poem “Paper Butterflies”, she solemnly urges us inward, in lilting, bird-like tones and delicately rolling Finnish accent,  to examine our melancholia and embrace these hermetic, suffocating feelings.

image via secretsaunasirens

Stop trying to be happy, she warbles.  After all, “…mental acuity flourishes in despair” and”…blue betties make fewer tactical errors”.  “I’m not making this shit up,” she insists.  Well…is she?  Perhaps not.  In Scientific American’s 2009 article regarding a study of depression’s evolutionary roots, it is suggested that depression is not a disorder at all, but a mental adaptation with some useful  cognitive benefits.

Depressed people often think intensely about their problems. These thoughts are called ruminations; they are persistent and depressed people have difficulty thinking about anything else. Numerous studies have also shown that this thinking style is often highly analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, which are considered one at a time.

This analytical style of thought, of course, can be very productive. Each component is not as difficult, so the problem becomes more tractable. Indeed, when you are faced with a difficult problem, such as a math problem, feeling depressed is often a useful response that may help you analyze and solve it. For instance, in some of our research, we have found evidence that people who get more depressed while they are working on complex problems in an intelligence test tend to score higher on the test.

Thank you, Melancholy Maaret, for validating us saddies. Viva melancholia!  Ditch the Wellbutrin.  Stay sad and homely, indeed.



4 Responses to “Melancholy Maaret’s Memo on Melancholia”

  1. OTB Says:

    I’m so happy you wrote this up. I feel validated indeed!

  2. Karri Rahkonen Says:

    “The Finns are not happy.” –Time Magazine, May 10, 1943

  3. V. Blame Says:

    Ironic that this made me so happy. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    In the interests of highly analytical and precise melancholia, I think the line she says is, “Stay sad and homey”.

  4. selizabeth Says:

    @V. Blame – Ah. I will have to give it another listen; I hemmed and hawed back and forth between the two and defaulted to “homely” based on Maaret’s “I’m not ugly, I’m just Finnish” post: