The mind of the blues

Author: John Monczunski

One of the ways in which the blues may help people psychologically is the way in which it deals with grief, says Notre Dame psychology Professor Scott Monroe, who studies depression. “It offers a way of sharing adversity and hardship without imparting the feeling that someone is merely complaining.”

Even though the English Renaissance philosopher and essayist never heard Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf or Bessie Smith, Monroe says Sir Francis Bacon understood the heart of the blues when he said: “But one thing is most admirable . . . which is that this communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects; for it redoubleth joys and cutteth grief in half. For there is no man that imparteth his griefs to his friend, but he groweth the less.”