The Atmosphere
of Anguish

Notes, Mar 13


Cascais, 2017

“First it snowed
Then it snowed
Then it snowed and it snowed and it snowed and it snowed.

Then it rained
Then it rained
Then it rained and made it worse as it froze against my face.”

- Snow, Mark Sandman
    With the appearance of the new discipline, the psychoanalysis, at the beginning of the 20th century and its founder Freud and his followers, some feelings, that maybe were left on the margins of the existence, in the modern and contemporary literature have taken the primary place. Above all it comes about feelings, although the psychoanalysts would say neurosis, such as fears, phobias, paranoias, nauseas, anxiety. Although they have had their roots since the beginning of the humanity, the contemporary and accelerate way of life pushed up all these feelings, i.e. neurosis, on the surface of the modern human being. Moreover, the social environment of the fascism and the communism, that lead the humanity into two world wars, the speed of the industrialization, the wish for fast gain and becoming rich for ones, and the struggle for surviving on the other hand for the others, pushed the human being into isolation and loneliness, which underlined the mental disorders of the individuals. Even contemporary capitalism and life-rush have provoked the human frustrations to reach their maximum.

    Jean Paul Sartre in “Nausea” writes about his own (un)comfortability in the world. In his work, the nausea appears as a result of an instant boredom, an apathy towards the presence and admiration for the past. The question about existential conditions and that nothing is eternal, gives hard times to the main character, the diary’s owner, Antoine Roquentin. Digging into his soul and life, Sartre personifies the nausea. The nausea becomes the man’s second body, something very much present around even in the everyday’s dust. The nausea lies in the most sensitive existential reflections through which this character undergoes and his believe that he is alone on the path of searching the answers.
    Freud was blaming the culture for all. The culture is the Super Ego that provokes  the nausea and troubles the fragile Ego. The culture is attempting to frame the man in the model, framework accordingly given rules and regulations. The human being is the one that is trying to stay on the path of its often unfair demands. Every attempt for a rebellion against the culture ends up by guilt of conscience and a fear of not losing the love from the most beloved around us, fear of punishment and danger from the super-powerful Obedient who accept the rules of the culture. In the Museum of contemporary Arts in Barcelona, during an exhibition about the punk movement I saw a visual label that said: “La cultura no me interessa” or “ I am not interested in the culture”. The letters are in different size, made from different kind of paper and it is something that does not require a special technology to be done, which has a sense because the punk is known like: “The Do-It-Yourself Subculture”. The punk emerges as explosion from gathered dissatisfaction of a generation young adolescents that strives for alternative style of life, different from the society’s given rules and regulations. 

    In “Notes from Underground” Dostoyevsky writes that to the wise man everything is allowed. He supports his philosophy of “everything allowed” explaining the mathematical fact of two plus two that always equals four, but the life is when this two plus two equals five. So individuality, opposite rationality, he says. And then, there is a scene in which his character feels remorse or nausea, tormenting himself about the action he has done. His characters are permanently in a feeling of drunkenness, caused by their actions or “sinful” thoughts.

    The character of Josef Kafka in “The Trial” faces with the regime that literally enters into his room in the most intrusive way. Such a “violent acting” changes a man. For Kafka, this regime equals his father who always was too tough on him. Kafka because of the impossibility to be accepted in the world of his own father, feels loneliness in the world. To him and his characters the whole world is a theatre with some kind of a hidden audience. In order to avoid this paranoia Josef K. does everything to find out how the system functions, as the same way Kafka was trying to find out why is his father acting the way is he acting. In his short story “The Judgement” the main character obeys at his father’s punishment to drown himself in the river, believing that he is guilty in his eyes and in the eyes of the dominant father. Professor Jasna Koteska writes that Kafka ‘s characters are terrorists: “The terrorism, we believe, relies on the subject about The son and his systematic anxiety. The decision of Samsa to turn himself into the bug has very much with his wish to prostitute the capitalistic idea: never leave yourself without anything to do. His strategy is the metamorphosis, and his final goal is to ruin the system.”

    “Those are faces with too much roughness, tiredness and exhaustion”, writes the Spanish author Isaak Rosa in his novel “The Dark Room” describing the new generation. This faces are obsessed with present problems and needs of the contemporary individual, but at the same time they show anxiety about the future life. They are lock in the labyrinth of the Anguish. Moving to a new place for Sartre was a sign of salvation, very close to the romantic ideal to run away to the country and in nature, but now when it seems that the nausea is everywhere, it seems there is no escape. Even though is obvious that the key of anguish is somewhere inwards, migrating from a place to place always feels like starting anew. Julia Kristeva writes about the depression like a hidden face of a Narciss: ”against the love idealization there is a shadow above the self-being and the lost of “the necessary other”. At the end is all steps backwards and steps inwards.


Dostoyevsky, Fyodor. Notes from the Underground. Skopje: TRI, 2013.
Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontent. Skopje: Magor, 2008
Kafka, Franz. Dearest Fathar. London: One World Classics, 2008.
Kafka, Franz. The Judgement and Other Stories. Skopje: IK, 2007.
Kafka, Franz. The Trial. Skopje: Detska radost, 2010.
Koteska, Jasna. Communist Intimacy. Skopje: Templum, 2006.
Kristeva, Julia. Black Sun: Depression and Melacncholia. Novi Sad: Svetovi, 1994.
Rosa, Issac. The Dark Room. Skopje: Magor, 2015.
Sartre, Jean Paul. Nausea. Zagreb: NakladniI Zavod Matice Hrvatske, 1983.


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