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What Really Is There to Overcome?

Audio Version

Since the advent of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals, and grandiose illusions of purpose, meaning, and happiness, those who do not fit neatly into “normal” behavior have faced stigma and violent prejudice. We have also dehumanized large segments of society in favor of political, ideological, economic, or dogmatic ignorance and stupidity.

Antidepressants are as common today as depression and attention deficits. Granted, some souls are arguably broken and pose a threat to themselves or others. The entertainment media would have us believe that this is far more common than it is; they routinely glorify the truly sick and disturbed. Depression, like other “mood disorders,” is a natural emotional response in humans. Our rush to diagnose, label, fix, or therapize these unacceptable moods and cognitive behaviors undermines what could otherwise be a natural, healthy process of deeply personal actualization and discovery. Furthermore, whether we realize it or not, our cultural preference is to be productive and reap the benefits of social conformity (e.g., celebrity, fame, money, work hard, sacrifice, earn, compete, and win). If we took a patient, spiritual, and sensible approach to rebirthing a national (or global) identity, we would most likely see far less depression and social anxiety. Given time, we may be led by our emotionally intelligent sensibilities rather than the stunted, fragmenting paradigms and philosophies of the past.

I’ve experienced my fair share of depression and anxiety. It’s a terrible feeling of unworthiness, and depression can introduce and perpetuate other negative emotions. Fortunately, I’ve used it to support my artistic and creative endeavors (such as this journal). It doesn’t always work, and there have definitely been some difficult times. But I’ve always tried to give myself plenty of time and space to reflect, to better understand how certain ideas came to be and where beliefs came from, and to work through them slowly and persistently. I believe that if we are too quick to medicate (alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, exercising until we puke, etc.), we miss out on the essential flavors of life.

I’m not an expert, so this is not advice. I’m always trying to connect the dots and shed light on things in ways you hadn’t considered before — or to remind you that everyone has their own set of problems to deal with, and it’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to feel deeply.

Michael Rosner – Unsplash

A market system only cares about production, trade, and profit. Everything else must in some way support the market. This could not be more obvious in today’s world. We’ve been updating and modifying the system to account for ages of wanton waste and destruction of our inherent humanity and the planet, but that’s a long way from addressing broader systemic issues. The market requires a certain level of cognitive numbness and dissociative, psychologically diminishing complicity.

As a result, humans are largely relegated to a functional category with the same value and importance as a personal computer. Could this be the reason we’re terrified of machines taking over? Many of today’s jobs will be automated as soon as possible, while numerous new ones will emerge. Robotics and machine learning are rapidly advancing, and many of us are clearly concerned about our utilitarian obsolescence. Perhaps the market system has had its day, and we are all ready for something more advanced. However, one could argue that the solution(s) will not come from those who are indoctrinated in the existing system. And, obviously, there is no single, immediate systemic solution.

Our Western culture has only recently grasped the simple yet profound concepts of silence, self-reflection, meditation, and embracing a greater capacity for authentic identity. For centuries, patriarchal constructs have misled us with materiality, distorted masculinity, domination, and competition, not to mention spiritual and emotional manipulation and suppression. It’s interesting how we seem to want to slow down in order to reconnect with something more meaningful while also progressing exponentially in technological means. The complementary nature of our tools and our complete reliance on them appear to be at odds.

As a result, some of us want to better ground ourselves, replenish and regenerate the Earth, or reintroduce the archaic and ritualistic; to do everything we can to avoid — or at least survive — the supposedly inevitable collapse of ecosystems, economies, governments, and empires.

Amidst all of this apparent chaos and insanity, you and I must deal with our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, choices, and behaviors. We must be willing to explore extreme vulnerability in order to immerse ourselves in our personality dis-ordering and touch and build on a more solid foundation. We must somehow process massive amounts of information, attempting to separate what is true from the vast amount of utter nonsense and propaganda. We must struggle to make sense of a world that is changing by the minute and being artificially propelled toward self-destruction by a malevolent few; a world that is suffering. We must do all of this while supporting ourselves and our families and attempting to unravel and uncover the meaning of it.

And… breathe.

You’re not alone. This is a period of collective transition. It’s crazy, but it doesn’t have to be the end; it can be a fantastic start. If you need help and support, ask for it. If you can help, do so. Empathy, logic, and authenticity. Allow love to lead you.

Solvitur ambulando