"I am not one who was born in the custody of wisdom. I am one who is fond of olden times and intense in quest of the sacred knowing of the ancients." Gustave Courbet

20 March 2013


At one time, stress was a name for ‘what was hard and had to be endured,’ as Robert Kugelmann has noted.  Stress demanded strength and fortitude. The image that was often invoked was that of a ship tossed about by the stress of bad weather, and in that image Kugelmann sees the difference between the stress of then and the stress of now. The storm-tossed ship represented something that neither challenged the forces outside it nor was wholly separate from these forces. Stress was what ‘proved the strength, power, and virtue of the ship and crew.’ It was occasional, like wintery blasts that assailed that metaphorical ship; stress signified hardship, and endurance was needed to deal with it.  Now, particularly in the middle class, we ‘work’ to overcome stress; we don’t suffer it. And stress is not considered a sometime thing in contemporary Western societies; it is believed to be constant. 

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