What is Weltschmerz and how to get rid of it?

Have you ever heard of the word Weltschmerz?  It’s an interesting word for which I’ve not been able to find an English equivalent (synonym).  Weltschmerz comes from the German for “world pain” and is a general sadness over the state of the world.  If you’re still curious about the word, you can find a little more at Wikipedia.

A combination of H1N1, macro recessionary economic conditions, and fashionably pessimistic friends have many of us walking around in the fog of Weltschmerz.  And who can blame us?  A person only goes to the moon for the first time once, right?  What is the next milestone in human achievement we can aspire to?  We all need something to put on a pedestal; that special something to give us hope that new opportunities exist right around the corner.

I’m pleased to say that over the last several days I finally shed myself of my Weltschmerz.  No, this didn’t happen by me being sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Rather, I discovered that the Kryptonite of Weltschmerz is connecting with people at a hyper personal level.  This singular act of understanding the human condition that governs other peoples’ lives makes the world seem a more joyous place to live in.  It is egoless empathy that enables us to replace the “world pain” with shared optimism.  When you can recognize the promise in those around you, it makes groundswell plausible.

I’m seeing the slow but steady adjustment in people’s demeanor.  People are starting to build (or at least talk about building) their own businesses.  I’m hearing whispers of a slow, but noticeable uptick in commercial activity.  I’m hearing people talk more about the things they cherish (rather than those they renounce). I’m witnessing incredible technological advances in computing, environmental awareness, and medicine.  What an incredible time to be alive!

If you want to free yourself of Weltschmerz, sit down with a couple of people and ask them what makes them hopeful. Ask them what inspires them and what they are working towards.  In the process, you might just find the optimism you’re desperately seeking.

UPDATE: You have to check this out if you don’t think the future holds anything new & exciting: http://www.terrafugia.com/index.html.

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