Frédéric Worms: "Wisdom consists in facing the test"

How to leave the repetition of our sufferings and be reborn to life without denying its difficulties? According to Frédéric Worms, this is the stakes of our lives weakened by the perpetual agitation of the world.

Interview by Hélène Fresnel

Psychologies: According to you, we live in a period of "roller coaster". What do you mean by that? What is the link with "reliving"?

Frédéric Worms: My intuition is this: the profound ambivalence of the verb "to revive", which means both a repetition of the past and a complete rebirth, responds to a very contemporary, concrete and vital demand. We are in a maniac depressive age. The great political events of the last thirty years make us move very quickly from one extreme to the other. A wall falls in Berlin in 1989, but immediately begins a conflict in Bosnia, a war in the Gulf. A little later, a genocide takes place in Rwanda. We are not experiencing a period of lasting collapse - as with totalitarian systems - but not absolute freedom, pure hope, a bright future - like during the Glorious Thirties. We live in a permanent historical tension. And I feel that it's the same in our individual lives: mine, yours ...

This "extreme" environment would have an impact on our intimacy, accentuate our moods ...

F. W.: Yes. It is a risk and also a resource. I think that a person who lives to the rhythm of the news falling on his smartphone can get lost more easily than before, sickly swing from euphoria to melancholy, if it has no general direction. It is important to understand that we are all subject to ambivalence in our lives: joy and sadness. We suffer and are marked. Then we recover and are "relaunched".

We live in a period that tends to intensify these sensations and we must avoid this ambivalence becoming pathological. Through conversations, discussions with friends, relatives, I checked this feeling. And, oddly, instead of relying on these cyclothymic states, instead of using them to advance, to orient ourselves, we suffer them. We do not express them.

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