“In mourning it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia it is the ego itself.”


In mourning it is the world which has become poor and empty; in melancholia it is the ego itself.

― Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia"



In this essay, Freud argues that mourning and melancholia are similar but different responses to loss. In mourning, a person deals with the grief of losing of a specific love object, and this process takes place in the conscious mind. In melancholia, a person grieves for a loss he is unable to fully comprehend or identify, and thus this process takes place in the unconscious mind. Mourning is considered a healthy and natural process of grieving a loss, while melancholia is considered pathological.


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