What are you living for?

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Greta » June 20th, 2018, 6:56 pm

chewybrian wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:56 am
That part about an attempt to garner support--if no support arrives, it seems like it could become self-reinforcing and lead to severe depression. I think depressed people selfishly expect the world to be able to see how much they are suffering, but most other people are actually rather immune to the signals. The depressed person sends out ever stronger, yet still too subtle signals, getting ever more distressed that others are not picking up on them. I know 'selfish' sounds like a harsh way to describe a depressed person. But, that incorrect assessment of the world and their place in it is a huge element of the problem, and they would ironically be happier, as you say, if they could realize they matter less, as expectations could be more easily met at that point.

Leaving out the small percentage of people with serious wiring problems, I think our American lifestyles lead to depression, much as they lead to heart disease and diabetes. We reinforce the physical and mental causes of depression in many ways. We put people in jobs that are repetitive and non-rewarding (see Marx), keep them out of the sun, enable them to avoid exercise, offer them mostly poor food choices. Our culture often values material things over people, and makes people the means rather than the ends. Perhaps most troubling is the unrealistic expectations we put in peoples' minds from an early age, through television and other means. Top it off with the fact that depression sufferers here are likely to be surrounded by enablers who will reinforce the problems, or other depressed or self-absorbed people. You can 'inherit' depression, for sure.

As with heart disease and diabetes, the cures which would probably work best for most people are not medicine. Medicine alone may only mask the symptoms while allowing the causes to continue their work underground. It puts the disease in partial remission without curing it. It is the perfect answer for the physician who wants a speedy, lawsuit-resistant answer that allows him to ring the register each time the prescription must be renewed. And, it allows the sufferer the comfort of avoiding responsibility for either causing or needing to work to cure their ailment.

Real cures for depression would be found in psychotherapy, in really examining the patient's contribution to their suffering and their ability to contribute to the cure. They need to reset their expectations of the world and their place in it to a more rational level to avoid undue disappointment. If I think I should be a 9 and I think I am a 2, then the gap seems too big to overcome. If I realize that maybe I'm really a 4, and it's OK to be a 6, then I might have some hope of reaching my goal. Add exercise, a better diet, owning pets, getting outside, forming connections to others (even helping them instead of worrying about yourself)... These things, I think, would alleviate the symptoms for most people, and make their lives and the lives of those around them better in the process.

I'm not saying medicine is useless or that nobody needs it. I'm only saying it should rarely be the first answer, and most people would be better off with lifestyle and behavior changes. It's terribly difficult for the depressed person to see that they may have caused their own depression, or that they have the power to cure it by their own will, but that is my take. Yes, I have been there and I know how hard it is, but this is the real path out for the long haul, and worth all the effort if you see it through.

Finally, it would help if we could remove the stigma from the problem. People can talk openly about diabetes or some other ailment, but they are likely to keep their depression to themselves, which is exactly what they don't need to do. How comforting would it be for them to talk to others openly about their experiences with depression? "I was depressed, and here is what worked for me, and here is what you need to watch out for at this point", etc.
"Brain" would seem the more correct spelling of your name :) Terrific post IMO.

The stigma issue you raised at the end relates to the problems you highlighted early - attention seeking attempts to have one's pain acknowledged, validated and thus become somewhat of a "Get out of gaol free" card.

The plural and diverse nature of our giant societies confuses people. There are thousands of people out there who really do care about your problems (or would if they knew). However, there are many millions of others who truly do not care a jot.

With a big enough population, there will be thousands of hypersensitive people who seem to find room to actually care for many others, but there will be millions who are flat our caring for themselves and their own, let alone taking on extra baggage, and this is where depressed people miss out. They qualify as "baggage," whereas a person with a physical ailment might still be upbeat and enjoyable to be around.

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Greta » June 20th, 2018, 7:29 pm

Dachshund wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 9:50 am
There is only one possible way that depression can ever be eradicated and that is through love.
It's one way, though not the only one. Often changed circumstances - assistance given, a lucky break, a breakthrough realisation, relief from suffering etc.

Thing is, just looking into the sky can always be an extraordinary experience when we consider what the sky really is and our relation to it rather than just how useful or relevant it is - or most usually - isn't. We so often wander, bored and irritable, through a life filled with underappreciated wonders.

The same principle can be applied to anything, or anyone. With humans - which seems to be everyone's rather singular focus :) - when you observe what we actually are rather than just players in context of utility, then human watching and interacting becomes an enjoyable Attenboroughesque experience. Microbes are extraordinary if you consider deeply what they are. So are worms, beetles, rats, dogs, cows, dolphins. Human too, obviously. It's all there, available for us if we ever are content to "lower ourselves" to focusing on the dumb and insensate.

As much as anything, I see it as a matter of focus more than love, although the concepts are far more related than their semantics suggest. In some contexts they can be almost synonyms. So one meaning of life (there seem to be multiple) would be to extend the depth, range and sharpness of one's focus, which appears to be how life evolves in the long term.

Still, I'm sure we all would prefer to aim higher than non-depression. How do we filter this life to accentuate the good, deaccentuate the bad, and yet remain realistic?

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Dachshund » June 20th, 2018, 10:39 pm

Greta,

What a curious specimen you are, young woman! On the one hand we have you as a textbook philosophical pessimist ( aka nihilist) of the first order, fully convinced that the universe you inhabit is meaningless, ditto your own life .For example.......
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:10 pm
every time you see someone you love, imagine them decomposing in the ground, when you enjoy beautiful art, rest assured it will be reduced to its component molecules at some stage. Those molecules too will break into atoms and eventually all the atoms will break apart under the influence of dark energy. This emotional inoculation helps keep one from being quite so freaked out when the inevitable deaths, destruction - and then recycling :)
A chilling little passage ( I must say ) that would freeze solid the already gelid-blue -and barely- beating heart - of the most stringently objective and utterly disvalued professional empirical scientist.

On the other, you an "auto- enchanter" of this determinate mechanical world, forever seeking to embue it with an intense, lyrical "sense of wonder" of the type that would impress even Percy Byssche Shelley ( and that fearless French fighter of the absurd sensibility, Mon. Albert Camus) (!) For instance......
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 7:29 pm
Thing is, just looking into the sky can always be an extraordinary experience when we consider what the sky really is and our relation to it rather than just how useful or relevant it is - or most usually - isn't. We so often wander, bored and irritable, through a life filled with underappreciated wonders.
or, indeed.......


Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 7:29 pm
human watching and interacting becomes an enjoyable Attenboroughesque experience. Microbes are extraordinary if you consider deeply what they are. So are worms, beetles, rats, dogs, cows, dolphins. Human too, obviously. It's all there, available for us if we ever are content to "lower ourselves" to focusing on the dumb and insensate.



But you can't have it both ways you know, Greta; it's like having two strongmen pulling on the opposite ends of a 3 foot wooden rod -eventually it will go "snap" in the middle. Then where will you be, my dear ?! :)

Regards

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by -1- » June 20th, 2018, 11:10 pm

Dachshund wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 10:39 pm
.
But you can't have it both ways you know, Greta; it's like having two strongmen pulling on the opposite ends of a 3 foot wooden rod -eventually it will go "snap" in the middle. Then where will you be, my dear ?! :)

Regards
Sure you can have it both ways, Dachshund. Christians have, for thousands of years. On what grounds do you deny Greta this natural opportunity?
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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Dachshund » June 20th, 2018, 11:56 pm

She is simultaneously endorsing two contradictory worldviews. One is frankley absurdist ( i.e. disvalued, amoral and intrinsically stripped of any human meaningfulness), the other is the opposite ( i.e. value-laden, richly meaningful and implicitly "moral" i.e. desirable and good).

And what , BTW, do you mean exactly, when you say that Christians have had it "both ways for thousands of years" (??)

Regards

Dachshund

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Burning ghost » June 21st, 2018, 12:45 am

Sausage Dog -

Although I think you’re being a little OTT with your analysis you’ve touched on something I tried to address elsewhere regarding Buddhism and Nihilism. On the one hand you have a zen, ying-yang, Taoist lah de dah contrariness, and on the other you have the same kind of frivolous approach but imbued with fatalism and hidden resentment.

For me the funny thing is they are opposites hinged on one particular world view - that being addressing huma experience as either not living up to preconceptions or starting from down low and finding meaning in created, one could say “miraculously,” from the abyssal depths of an existential despair.

The nihilist thinks they should be god and when things turn sour they blame the universe for its lack of meaning and value, whereas he opposite position sees no meaning or value and seem to move in the opposite direction.

I am, of course, viewing both “Buddhism” and “Nihilism” in my own particular parenthesis in order to expose part of the underlying weltanschauung of each in its extreme. Both seem to approach “meaning” and “value” with equal disregard, yet the key difference appears to be the point from which they take up the task of life.
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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Greta » June 21st, 2018, 3:37 am

Dachshund wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 10:39 pm
Greta,

What a curious specimen you are, young woman! On the one hand we have you as a textbook philosophical pessimist ( aka nihilist) of the first order, fully convinced that the universe you inhabit is meaningless, ditto your own life .For example.......
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:10 pm
every time you see someone you love, imagine them decomposing in the ground, when you enjoy beautiful art, rest assured it will be reduced to its component molecules at some stage. Those molecules too will break into atoms and eventually all the atoms will break apart under the influence of dark energy. This emotional inoculation helps keep one from being quite so freaked out when the inevitable deaths, destruction - and then recycling :)
A chilling little passage ( I must say ) that would freeze solid the already gelid-blue -and barely- beating heart - of the most stringently objective and utterly disvalued professional empirical scientist.

On the other, you an "auto- enchanter" of this determinate mechanical world, forever seeking to embue it with an intense, lyrical "sense of wonder" of the type that would impress even Percy Byssche Shelley ( and that fearless French fighter of the absurd sensibility, Mon. Albert Camus) (!) For instance......
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 7:29 pm
Thing is, just looking into the sky can always be an extraordinary experience when we consider what the sky really is and our relation to it rather than just how useful or relevant it is - or most usually - isn't. We so often wander, bored and irritable, through a life filled with underappreciated wonders.
or, indeed.......
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 7:29 pm
human watching and interacting becomes an enjoyable Attenboroughesque experience. Microbes are extraordinary if you consider deeply what they are. So are worms, beetles, rats, dogs, cows, dolphins. Human too, obviously. It's all there, available for us if we ever are content to "lower ourselves" to focusing on the dumb and insensate.


But you can't have it both ways you know, Greta; it's like having two strongmen pulling on the opposite ends of a 3 foot wooden rod -eventually it will go "snap" in the middle. Then where will you be, my dear ?! :)
John, we are both curious specimens. Can you imagine a non-curious specimen on a philosophy forum? :) We are all weird in our own ways, and most are probably glad for it.

How about you? On one hand endorsing white supremacy, damning of the usual conservative targets and quoting Breitbart ... next you are waxing lyrical with some eloquence and sophistication about how love is what life is all about.

You no doubt have a way of defining the above so that has the apparent contradictions make sense, and ditto me.

I am actually exceptionally non-nihilistic. As one who at times bangs on about political correctness, I would have thought you'd approve of the brute facts of our lives being laid bare as I did above. Sure, pretty up the story in polite company, where delicate ears blanch at remembrance of mortality. However, on a philosophy forum we ideally to "face the demons", so to speak, rather than gloss over them.

The temporality of existence is no doubt a bummer, but without it there would be stagnation. A billion years ago the only biology on Earth was microbes so, considering what has happened since, it would seem that Mother Nature knows what she's doing. It's interesting to watch the patterns and wonder what may supersede us humans and how it may happen.

Note that the "mechanical world" I described is the one that has so far been verified by the boffins. Obviously there is much more to discover, but I am trying not to present anything I'm not very sure about as fact. After all, I spoke about everything being destroyed. In truth, the information actually isn't lost, just made unavailable to any species without the technology to trace events back and recreate them.

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Belindi » June 21st, 2018, 4:36 am

ChewyBrian wrote:
I'm not saying medicine is useless or that nobody needs it. I'm only saying it should rarely be the first answer, and most people would be better off with lifestyle and behavior changes. It's terribly difficult for the depressed person to see that they may have caused their own depression, or that they have the power to cure it by their own will, but that is my take. Yes, I have been there and I know how hard it is, but this is the real path out for the long haul, and worth all the effort if you see it through.
But most people cannot change their behaviour or lifestyles. Most people , I dare say "most", are sunk in poverty and exploitation. Most people have all their lives been sunk in poverty and exploitaion. Depression is a reasonable response in those cases even as it can result in suicide, and in fact, does result in suicides.

The sort of people you are imagining are the sort who can benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy accompanied by the lifestyle changes that you advocate. Not all people who are affluent are free from mental traumas. These traumas can be hard to trace to causes, causes which often arise from significant others in childhood.

Your analysis, Brian although it's good advice for anyone depressed or not, is too simplistic for dealing with deep seated depression. Not that I advocate antidepressant medications which are overprescribed.

Talking therapies are best, often music therapy, animal therapy, or art therapy. But not group talking therapy which although it's less expensive is open to blackmailers and soiling of reputations.

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by chewybrian » June 21st, 2018, 6:30 am

Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:56 pm
With a big enough population, there will be thousands of hypersensitive people who seem to find room to actually care for many others, but there will be millions who are flat our caring for themselves and their own, let alone taking on extra baggage, and this is where depressed people miss out. They qualify as "baggage," whereas a person with a physical ailment might still be upbeat and enjoyable to be around.
Another difficult aspect for depressed people to understand or acknowledge: they are no fun to be around much of the time. You are entitled to be self-centered if you are badly injured. But, if your imagination, self-esteem, or understanding of the world are injured, this is seldom visible to others, or difficult for them to understand if they do see it. If they see terrible injuries, they will indulge your selfishness, and bandage your wounds, or call you an ambulance. But if you are terribly depressed, all they may see is that you are boring, or not much fun, even 'depressing'.

The world is a fun house mirror. You won't get perfect karma, but you will get back a lot of what you give out. In that depressed state, it takes a lot of work to send out the right signals to get back what you need to move forward.
Dachshund wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 10:39 pm
But you can't have it both ways you know, Greta; it's like having two strongmen pulling on the opposite ends of a 3 foot wooden rod -eventually it will go "snap" in the middle. Then where will you be, my dear ?! :)
I don't see a contradiction. It all seems like pretty basic stoicism to me. You can't pretend the inevitable tragedies of life aren't coming for you, or they will come as awful surprises. Acknowledging the brutal realities of existence takes the worry off your plate. It's all outside your control, so there is no need to waste further energy worrying about it. You can then focus most of your energy on the small area of operation where you do have total control, which is your attitude and interpretation of events. A bit of leftover energy can be applied to your desires and aversions, where you have some control. I might be way off on the methods being applied in her case, but the task is put to every rational person: understand the tragic nature of your life, yet find reason to want to go on living it. Most people do it in one way or another.

If you are caught in a bear trap, you *could* fret and curse the Gods, or you could enjoy the sunrise, and why not?
Belindi wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 4:36 am
But most people cannot change their behaviour or lifestyles. Most people , I dare say "most", are sunk in poverty and exploitation. Most people have all their lives been sunk in poverty and exploitaion. Depression is a reasonable response in those cases even as it can result in suicide, and in fact, does result in suicides.
Depression is certainly an understandable response, like alcoholism and such, but I'm not sure 'reasonable' is quite the right word. These folks might have a harder road, but it does not seem impossible for them to rise out of their situation. I would argue with the word 'cannot', while acknowledging it might be incredibly difficult for them, and unlikely for most to overcome the difficulty. If we gave them better coping tools, their chances might improve a bit, though.
Belindi wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 4:36 am
The sort of people you are imagining are the sort who can benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy accompanied by the lifestyle changes that you advocate. Not all people who are affluent are free from mental traumas. These traumas can be hard to trace to causes, causes which often arise from significant others in childhood.
I was able to work through it with stoic philosophy and numerous lifestyle changes. Cognitive behavioral therapy is very much related. So, although I may be projecting a bit, I do maintain this approach should work for some people. If you add the extra layer of abuse to the equation, then I don't know how to do the math. They may need something additional, or may even be virtually incurable; I'm not up to speed on that aspect.

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by -1- » June 21st, 2018, 7:03 am

Dachshund wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 11:56 pm
She is simultaneously endorsing two contradictory worldviews. One is frankley absurdist ( i.e. disvalued, amoral and intrinsically stripped of any human meaningfulness), the other is the opposite ( i.e. value-laden, richly meaningful and implicitly "moral" i.e. desirable and good).

And what , BTW, do you mean exactly, when you say that Christians have had it "both ways for thousands of years" (??)

Regards

Dachshund
The Christian paradox (one of many Christian paradices) is that God created everything, yet god has nothing to do with evil.
This is a paradox because evil did not exist forever, so somebody had to create it, and only god is capable of creation (according to Christians). Yet, Christians will never admit that evil was created by god. Therefore 1. Evil either got created by spontaneous creation (which is against Christian dogma), or else God created it (which is also against Christian dogma).

You asked, I answered.

Greta has the right to have two opposing and contradictory views as long as they are not in the same aspect and at the same time. She is scientific in her basic attitude to explain the world; and morality has nothing to do with hard sciences, it has to do with social sciences. Many people can't come to terms with morality, and therefore they create moral systems that don't work even in theory, much less in practice. Christianity is no exception.

There are aspects of the world in our understanding, certainly in Greta's as you describe it, which on one hand is sober and ruthlessly logical, and there are other aspects, which can only be come to terms with if you employ emotional agents in the working theory. The two systems don't apply to the same system of reality; reality comprises many disparate systems in our view of it.
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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Greta » June 21st, 2018, 7:16 pm

-1- wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 7:03 am
There are aspects of the world in our understanding, certainly in Greta's as you describe it, which on one hand is sober and ruthlessly logical, and there are other aspects, which can only be come to terms with if you employ emotional agents in the working theory. The two systems don't apply to the same system of reality; reality comprises many disparate systems in our view of it.
Yup, scientists are emotional beings who discipline their emotions in the course of their work - as most of us do.

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Re: What are you living for?

Post by Greta » June 22nd, 2018, 1:35 am

chewybrian wrote:
June 21st, 2018, 6:30 am
Greta wrote:
June 20th, 2018, 6:56 pm
With a big enough population, there will be thousands of hypersensitive people who seem to find room to actually care for many others, but there will be millions who are flat our caring for themselves and their own, let alone taking on extra baggage, and this is where depressed people miss out. They qualify as "baggage," whereas a person with a physical ailment might still be upbeat and enjoyable to be around.
Another difficult aspect for depressed people to understand or acknowledge: they are no fun to be around much of the time. You are entitled to be self-centered if you are badly injured. But, if your imagination, self-esteem, or understanding of the world are injured, this is seldom visible to others, or difficult for them to understand if they do see it. If they see terrible injuries, they will indulge your selfishness, and bandage your wounds, or call you an ambulance. But if you are terribly depressed, all they may see is that you are boring, or not much fun, even 'depressing'.

The world is a fun house mirror. You won't get perfect karma, but you will get back a lot of what you give out. In that depressed state, it takes a lot of work to send out the right signals to get back what you need to move forward.
Well put.

Back when I was suffering from episodic depression (which is at least preferable to being constantly miserable), I would reach a rock bottom point where I felt as if my ego "died". At that point I stopped caring so much about everything and my emotional needs quieted. I would simply go through the motions and while in this quiet, passive mode people would start being pleasant again; I wasn't being an overbearing autistic annoyance. Then things would go smoothly, and I'd start achieving and socialising again - and building up an ego again - until I again became a pain in the neck again, and again suffered rebuffs and hard treatment, and again fall into another hole until ...

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