The feeling Smith wanted to describe was a kind of loss—the loss of her home environment in England. That year, the historic flood that washed England in the wettest winter England and Wales have seen since record keeping began nearly 250 years ago. Climate change has caused more extreme rainfall in the region. Such changes were stealing Smith’s steady predictability of his surroundings, the pacing of the annual cycle that made the English countryside an ecological home. She called the essay “Elegy on the Seasons of a Country.” “Elegy is a poem and mourning for the dead. Her, Smith wrote:
People of mourning tend to use euphemisms; likewise, guilty of shame. The most gloomy of all euphemisms: “The new normal.” “It’s the new normal.” I think of it as losing grip on the earth and tipping over as if a beloved pear tree was half-drowned. The Cornwall train line washed away – the new normal. We can’t even say the word “abnormal” out loud to each other: it reminds us of something that came before.
As climate change progresses, losses are accumulating. The psychological harm of climate change is starting to be investigated – papers are published on the suicide of farmers in India along with the heat of burning crops, and a paper on the mental health problems accumulating across the United States as average temperatures rise and storms intensify. became Last year, the American Psychological Association validated “echo anxiety” as a clinically legitimate diagnosis.
But where is the language of sorrow itself?
In the early 2000s, a philosopher named Glenn Albrecht of the University of Newcastle in Australia began looking for the word. “With my wife Jill, I sat at the dining table at home and explored the myriad possibilities,” he wrote in 2005. “The one word ‘perfume’ caught our attention because it was once a concept associated with a diagnosable disease associated with homelessness depression for people away from home.”
But what about those who are not geographically distant from the subject of homesickness? What words are there for those who are watching the ground element of their home transform into something that feels remote, and they stay put? Spatially, nostalgia was not right. Albrecht coined the term “sunbox” (probably with Jill, although she doesn’t appear another way in the paper explaining the term).
Solaston is a combination of three elements: “solas” refers to the English word “comfort,” which comes from the Latin root solari, meaning consolation in the face of wretched powers. But it is also a reference to “desolation”, of origin from the Latin solus and desolation, both meaning abandonment and thoughts of loneliness. “Algia” comes from the Greek root algia, meaning pain, suffering or disease.
Albrecht’s Sola Star Thor has the added benefit of being a “ghost reference” for perfume, and sounds similar enough to evoke the feeling of longing contained in the word. “Therefore, it is literally the pain or illness caused by the loss or lack of comfort and the feeling of isolation associated with the present condition of homes and territories,” he writes. Solastote is a very intimate word to describe psychic suffering that has a very specific origin. Here is the best part of Albrecht’s definition:
It is the pain experienced when there is a perception that where a person lives and where he loves is under immediate attack (physical devastation). It manifests itself in an attack on one’s sense of place, the erosion of a sense of belonging (identity) to a particular place, and a feeling of pain (psychological devastation) at the change.
Solastotte is not looking back on the golden past, nor looking for another place to “home”. “It is a “living experience” of the loss of the present as it manifests in a feeling of avant-garde; destroying the potential for solace that derives from the present. damaged by force. In a nutshell, Solastotte is “a form of homelessness when you are still at home.”
Other thinkers recognized the symptoms described by solastotons as a type of disease long before the word was coined. For example, Albrecht writes that he was influenced by Australian environmental thinker Elin Mitchell, who wrote a warning as early as 1946 of the damage done to society when humanity loses its stable coupling to the Earth’s cycle and system. In her book Soils and Civilizations, she wrote that when healthy bonds between people and their ecological environment are severed, “this unity of chasm is quickly evident in the lack of an individual’s “wholeness”.”
“Divorce from his roots, the man loses his psychic stability,” Mitchell wrote.
If our wholeness is grounded in our natural environment, then the sadness that Jadie Smith sees to see a pear tree drown is deep sorrow for the tree, the season, and himself. In 2018, life may feel more necessary for the whole world, with little to no language to write. As climate change reaches microscopic tendrils in every ecosystem, reshaping the corners of the planet and our lives in subtle or brutal ways, the lack of language to describe the sense of dislocation that comes with it is dislocating itself. We need more “intimate words” for this feeling. Solar Star is just the beginning.