"The Sorrow of Being"
Nicola Masciandaro (CUNY)
Thursday, November 12th, 6:30 p.m.
19 University Place, room 224
(non-NYU guests, please bring photo ID to sign into the building)
Sorrow seems universally related, in one way or another, to the principle of evil or privation. Sorrows of love, of loss, of pain, of disappointment, of conscience—all are barely thinkable without reference to some problematic object, the negative thing that one sorrows over. This relation is exemplified by Augustine’s definition of sorrow as counter-volition or refusal: “cum . . . dissentimus ab eo quod nolentibus accidit, talis voluntas tristitia est” [sorrow is the will’s disagreement with something that happened against our will]. But is there a form of sorrow that remains or emerges when all possible objects of sorrow are taken away, when there is nothing to sorrow over, a sorrow of being? The idea of such sorrow, a sorrow that takes sorrow beyond its own possibility, appears at once obvious and absurd. Existence simultaneously is and is not the greatest “something that happened against our will.” A pure sorrow, a perfect sorrow, a sorrow whose meaning is infinite? In dialogue with The Cloud of Unknowing and other late-medieval mystical texts, this lecture speculates about the nature of such sorrow and its relations to facticity, actuality, work, interpretation, and ecstasy.
If you have questions, please contact:
Liza Blake (elizabeth[dot]blake[at]nyu[dot]edu),
Katie Vomero Santos (kathryn[dot]vomero[at]nyu[dot]edu), or
Sarah Ostendorf (sco229[at]nyu[dot]edu).