“Weltschmerz, German for ‘world pain’, was coined during the Romantic era. It describes a world-weariness felt from a perceived mismatch between the ideal image of how the world should be and how it really is. In German philosophy it was distinguished from pessimism, the idea that there is more bad than good in the world. While pessimism was the logical conclusion of cool, rational philosophical pondering, Weltschmerz, was an emotional response. Though Weltschmerz and ennui are pretty close synonyms, ennui foregrounds the listlessness brought on by world-weariness (it can also be a term for more simple boredom), and Weltschmerz foregrounds the pain or sadness. There is perhaps a greater sense of yearning in Weltschmerz (part of the pain is that the sufferer really wants the world to be otherwise).”

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