As far as we can associate melancholy with intelligence, the melancholy person keeps fury in check and maintains hope.
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In the Medieval period, melancholic people were said to have been born 'under the sign of Saturn' that is associated with cold, shadow, and death.
But melancholy was also associated with the power to inspire extraordinary achievements of understanding and curiosity. The melancholic were sad because they knew they dared to hold on to the tragedy of their insights.
Self-knowledge is the ultimate knowledge, and to know yourself is to know the meaning of life. There are millions of things we could know about ourselves, ranging from anecdotal to emotional or psychological matters. There are certain key bits of self-knowledge that we think might benefit us, like our work talents, or a partner who would be compatible with us.
Self-knowledge provides us with a route to a happy and fulfilling life. A lack of self-knowledge makes our lives accidental.
Working, in broad terms has always been a curse, especially in ancient times for a majority of people. Work is to be done for providing basic food and shelter, and in most cases, it does not provide any stimulation or reward.
In the 18th century, most of the working populations used to work on pipe-organ making, lathe and turning, baking, sugar refining, paper-making and bookbinding, soapmaking, mining and pottery, among other kinds of mostly unpleasant work.
The modern world equates the intelligent person will the well-read person. It's difficult to think of anyone arriving at any worthy insights without having read an impressive number of books.
But despite the pressure to read through multiple awarded and fascinating books, we might pause and reflect on an interesting aspect of the pre-modern world: Reading was important, but it never put people under any pressure to read very much at all. It was more important to read a few books very well and not waste time on a great number of volumes.
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