Sehnsucht is a German noun translated as “longing”, “pining”, “yearning”, or “craving”, or in a wider sense a type of “intensely missing”. However, Sehnsucht is difficult to translate adequately and describes a deep emotional state. Sehnsucht is a compound word, originating from an ardent longing or yearning (das Sehnen) and a long or lingering illness (das Siechtum). However, these words do not adequately encapsulate the full meaning of their resulting compound, even when considered together.
Sehnsucht represents thoughts and feelings about all facets of life that are unfinished or imperfect, paired with a yearning for ideal alternative experiences. It has been referred to as “life’s longings”; or an individual’s search for happiness while coping with the reality of unattainable wishes. Such feelings are usually profound, and tend to be accompanied by both positive and negative feelings.
It is sometimes felt as a longing for a far-off country, but not a particular earthly land which we can identify. Furthermore, there is something in the experience which suggests this far-off country is very familiar and indicative of what we might otherwise call “home”. In this sense it is a type of nostalgia, in the original sense of that word. At other times it may seem as a longing for a someone or even a something. But the majority of people who experience it are not conscious of what or who the longed for object may be, and the longing is of such profundity and intensity that the subject may immediately be only aware of the emotion itself and not cognizant that there is a something longed for.
released July 2, 2016
Music by Andrey Vasilyev
[electric guitar, digital piano, software effects & synthesizers]