Wallowing in unhappiness A significant word in daoism is 解 (jie); this term can be translated as “liberation,” “freedom,” “deliverance,” or “release.

” Daoist ecstasy (樂 le) is based on this ability to break free. 解 includes the capacity to be often happy, but more importantly it expresses a freedom to explore all affective conditions: happiness, unhappiness, rapture, terror, serenity, suicidality, etc. 解 is the freedom to capriciously alter one’s mood. It is the liberty to creatively employ external circumstances to explore and reconfigure internal moods. It is to have a wide variety of choices with which to react to any particular event. One moment a delivered person might want to escape her depression, the next moment she might choose to self-indulgently wallow in it. Faced with death she is equally able to chuckle or wail. 解 is the splendid freedom from the notion that there are internal behavior norms, it is freedom from the idea that there are right and wrong moods to be in. Riffing off Ecclesiastes— 解 is a dance of all seasons. Kick off your shoes and indulge yourself.

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