“The reason we don’t feel the worst possible physical pain is because it either knocks us senseless or kills us. We don’t feel the worst sorrow while its at its worst; it stuns us, confuses or overwhelms us, makes us unrecognisable and unknowable to ourselves, estranges us from our feelings and the object of our feeling; we’re immobilised, our inner (and, so to speak, outer) life ceases to stir. Thus we don’t feel the worst sorrows, don’t feel them in their entirety, when they first befall, we know them, one by one, as we advance through time and space. And not just peak pain, but every peak passion, every sensation that, even if it’s not the greatest, is yet so extraordinary and (in whatever way), great, that our spirit can’t contain it all at once. Supreme joy would be just the same.”
March 4, 1821
from ‘Zibaldone di pensieri’, translated by W. S. Di Piero
I know this intimately. This is trauma - the body and mind immobilised in order to protect the subject’s ability to continue, to persist, during the now, and survive into the future. If you were able to experience all as it is right now you would go insane. You would be so close to the truth of existence that you could never go back again to any sense of ‘normality’. Afterwards you feel the urgency of this message from the universe, but you also feel somehow you have mislaid it. This is both beautiful and tragic.