• Ladybug
    22
    Society instructs us that if we peer deep inside our hearts that we will eventually find what makes us happy. It almost seems that a magical inner voice informs us of our desires, hopes, and dreams. Our emotions dictate our lives. Also noted, throughout modern society, depression runs rampant. When we feel depressed, often symptoms appear as laziness, disability, and other disruptive behaviors; direct actions that sabotage our lives and usually based on emotions. Essentially, the brokenness of the individual’s will cause them to be “unable” to follow their hearts, or that the lack of opportunity to pursue their passions leads to said depression.

    There seems to be a strong correlation between depression and the ideology of “following” one’s heart. As a lack of responsibility and structure in one’s life decreases the sense of purpose, depression increases. Instead, society tells us to experiment with drugs (antidepressants) and chase false hopes instead of solving the problem. Shunning social obligations and familial responsibilities in order that one might increase a sense of individuality commonly occurs. Refusal to commit to nearly anything adds to the confusion. Preachings of “tolerance” and “open-mindedness” lead to an existential crisis and identity disruption. Instead of supporting a definitive sense of personhood, we are force-fed a mush of nothingness, unable to reach assertive conclusions and opinions.

    Thoughts?
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    Society instructs us that if we peer deep inside our hearts that we will eventually find what makes us happy. It almost seems that a magical inner voice informs us of our desires, hopes, and dreams. Our emotions dictate our lives. Also noted, throughout modern society, depression runs rampant.Ladybug

    As someone on anti-depressants who also has spent more than 50 years learning to be more self-aware and follow my heart, I think depression and spiritual searching are different, separate, but not necessarily unrelated. If that makes sense. I don't know where my depression comes from. Probably something organic, maybe even genetic. On the other hand, I think the world is a wonderful place. I like people. I'm smart and my intellect leads me toward self-awareness and a way of life with openness and without fear. So, is my spiritual search a search for a solution to my depression? No....Wait, yes...
  • Wheatley
    1.9k
    I think listening to your body and what you eat is more accurate that "listening to your heart" (whatever that means). I don't know what"Depression" is. All I know is that there's usually a good reason for why I am feeling down. Setbacks are inevitable, but sometimes I let myself go, not taking proper care of my body, such as eating junk food, and engaging in self-destructive behavior. I need to get a grip and go on with my life.

    Treat your body right, it will reward you with positive feelings.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Also noted, throughout modern society, depression runs rampant.Ladybug

    Not sure we can say that depression is more common now than in pervious eras. I suspect depression was always a strong feature of human life. Today people are more aware of the issue and it is a constant subject of media. There are many different types of depression and many potential solutions - medication does work wonders for some people. Some find volunteering or exercise helpful. Most people need a combination of factors to improve.
  • Joshs
    2k
    There seems to be a strong correlation between depression and the ideology of “following” one’s heart. As a lack of responsibility and structure in one’s life decreases the sense of purpose, depression increases. Instead, society tells us to experiment with drugs (antidepressants) and chase false hopes instead of solving the problem. Shunning social obligations and familial responsibilities in order that one might increase a sense of individuality commonly occursLadybug

    This part of the OP reminds me of politically conservative arguments about the connection between self-help culture and the decay of the values of social responsibility and obligation and personal character ( David Brooks). Is this what you had in mind?

    FWIW, I think depression is invariably tied to a sense of
    alienation and disconnection with respect to other people. I don’t think social responsibility and obligation is the answer so much as learning. better ways to relate to the thinking of others.
  • Nils Loc
    933
    There is possibly a very long list of the situations/factors/conditions which give rise to depression.

    Society is quite depressing from my point of view. Despite technological marvels everyone is continually being squeezed to propagate the cycle of economic growth. It's a kind of unsustainable ponzi scheme. We're told we need to be successful but at the same time that very drive for energy accumulation, enforced by our societal standard/status competition, is eroding global resources/stability.

    There is no job that can justify its gratuitous resource waste and yet folks cannot be allowed the right of the security to be housed, to sleep in a bed, clean themselves, et cetera.

    Life is insane. Why wouldn't depression be common?
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    There is a cure for individualism, which is to notice that it is impossible to be independent or self-sufficient. That depression is a social disease is demonstrated by the fact that it is greatly diminished by war.

    As someone on anti-depressants who also has spent more than 50 years learning to be more self-aware and follow my heart, I think depression and spiritual searching are different, separate, but not necessarily unrelated. If that makes sense.T Clark

    The rhetoric of the day demands that this is a single bio-machine that has gone wrong - an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. But I think it is the sensitive among us that manifest the sicknesses of society, like canaries in the coal mine. It is not a happy life being a canary in a coal mine, but it is a valuable life.
  • Hanover
    6.9k
    Thoughts?Ladybug

    The increased prevalence of depression in individualistic versus collectivist societies has been identified in studies https://www.futurity.org/we-beats-me-in-depression-battle/
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    There is no job that can possibly justify the way we waste resources and yet folks cannot be allowed the right of the security to be housed, to sleep in a bed, clean themselves, et cetera.Nils Loc

    A voice crying in the wilderness "Prepare ye the way of the Lord!"

    Businessmen, they drink my wine, ploughmen dig my earth,
    None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.
    — Bob Dylan

    How dare we be happy! And yet, how dare we not be happy?
  • MAYAEL
    115
    very well said .

    I have had depression off and on all my life and I can say that you are hitting the nail right on the head
  • MAYAEL
    115
    I completely understand
    I think I have a genetic disposition for it or something because I love life and I have an amazing wife and kid but there are times where I'm not sure if I can make it 5 more years and everything makes me bittersweet sad and then there are times that I'm not effected by anything and im like Thor in life emotionally. Certain time phases in life seem to be correlated to these "dips" in life happiness/ satisfaction
  • Banno
    14.3k
    Shamelessly plugging my new thread, individualism is the result of accepting the myth that our interactions are the result of a social contract. Mary Midgley discusses this increasingly fraught myth in the article about philosophical plumbing.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    The rhetoric of the day demands that this is a single bio-machine that has gone wrong - an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.unenlightened

    There is no doubt in my mind that at least some of the unhappiness I have felt in my life is organic, biological, maybe genetic. Based on temperament, attitudes, beliefs, outlook, feelings, circumstances, I was meant to be happy. I am living the life I was meant to live. I have a great family. I am one of the most fortunate people in the history of the world. I like people. I think the world is a wonderful place.

    But I think it is the sensitive among us that manifest the sicknesses of society, like canaries in the coal mine.unenlightened

    That may be true of some people, but I don't think it's true of me.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    I completely understand
    I think I have a genetic disposition for it or something because I love life and I have an amazing wife and kid but there are times where I'm not sure if I can make it 5 more years and everything makes me bittersweet sad and then there are times that I'm not effected by anything and im like Thor in life emotionally. Certain time phases in life seem to be correlated to these "dips" in life happiness/ satisfaction
    MAYAEL

    It's funny. I answered @unenlightened above before I read your post. You said just about exactly what I wrote in my response to him.
  • MAYAEL
    115


    I feel like depression has this way of convincing people that their problems are so unique and can't be fixed or understood by others when in reality the issues and feelings that we have are probably pretty common despite how much we convince are selves otherwise .
    It's also strange how the mind can not do what you want even though you are your mind lol example being me

    I can sit here and explain hundreds of different reasons as to why life is better right now then it has been for thousands of years and how lucky i am to be here right now and yet still be depressed and look at the world and think of the future and be negative and knowing that the problem is just my perspective because i was raised wrong and knowing that i still can't change my perspective almost as if there's "me" the experiencer abd then there's "me" the giver of feelings and the 2 are separated yet held within the same mind abd can some how disagree with each other . It's so odd how the human being is multifaceted
  • Shawn
    11.7k
    Being a individual, or even rugged individual is quite lonely, aloof, and not really social.

    Typically, individuals remain silent about what they believe to be better norms than what society accepts, and hence are called lone individuals, or schizoid, or unordinary.

    That's how I see it in the US where individualism is popular yet a drag on being poor and all that.
  • Banno
    14.3k

    You might enjoy the Midgley article cited in Philosophical Plumbing. It explores the link between overindulged individuality and the myth of the social contract.
  • T Clark
    6.4k
    I can sit here and explain hundreds of different reasons as to why life is better right now then it has been for thousands of years and how lucky i am to be here right now and yet still be depressed and look at the world and think of the future and be negative and knowing that the problem is just my perspective because i was raised wrong and knowing that i still can't change my perspective almost as if there's "me" the experiencer abd then there's "me" the giver of feelings and the 2 are separated yet held within the same mind abd can some how disagree with each other . It's so odd how the human being is multifacetedMAYAEL

    I understand what you are saying. One of the reasons I think that my unhappiness is at least partially biological is that it is so out of sync with everything I know and feel about the world. Intellectual and emotional resolution, acceptance of that kind of contradiction is required from a mature mind. Sometimes the way things are are just the way things are.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    You specify the role of individualism in depression as if human beings are really in a position of being able to follow their hearts. Even though depression is a complex topic, especially its diagnosis which is culturally variant, I think that you are missing the way in which even though we live in an age of supposed individualism, I think that for many it may feel that it is the exact opposite. Many people may feel that they are in an overcrowded, competitive world and that they don't really count for much, or have real identity. I think that in the Western world, the significance of the individual is becoming lost, and we are becoming mere numbers. Obviously, this varies so much, and I am cautious about generalisations about causes of depression, but I do believe that on a cultural level the insignificance of the individual affects many people in a detrimental way.
  • MAYAEL
    115
    I do think that individualism has a hand in depression at least here in the US that is.
    But from what I've gathered from anthropology and many other avenues is that the concept of "individual" is a relatively new social complexity and that for the majority of mankind's history the individual person didn't exist instead it was only the "tribe" that held an identity that was separate from the tribe on the other side of the mountain so to speak.
    Now i have no idea what level of depression people had back then if they even had any at all?
    My personal assumption is that depression wasn't even a thing back then and that's just my assumption basses on the few tribes still around today and the little bit that we know about them .
  • Kenosha Kid
    2.9k
    I think it's the other way around: depression causes individualism, introspection, selfishness. As do stress, fear and anxiety.

    There are lots of known causes of depression. In another thread we've been talking about the movement of humans out of equatorial regions into seasonal ones, which itself is a common cause of depression (see SAD: seasonal affective disorder).

    Certain pollutants have been linked to depression, as have certain physical disorders (e.g. thyroid disorders) and mental disorders (e.g. insomnia). Diet is also linked (e.g. lack of Omega-3).

    However I do think it's credible that how we (generally) live does increase the number of people suffering from depression. Loneliness is also linked, and our brand of individualist, anti-community liberal capitalism seems cynically designed to make us lonely, cut off, as well as lacking in what we need while bombarding us with endless choice (another cause of depression) about stuff we don't need.
  • unenlightened
    5.9k
    That may be true of some people, but I don't think it's true of me.T Clark

    Well you are the expert on yourself around here; I have no clue at all except what you write. And if the chemicals in your brain say its chemicals in your brain, the chemicals in my brain will just have to learn to accept it.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    Now i have no idea what level of depression people had back then if they even had any at all?
    My personal assumption is that depression wasn't even a thing back then and that's just my assumption basses on the few tribes still around today and the little bit that we know about them .
    MAYAEL

    There's no reason to think that depression is new. Symptoms are definitely mentioned by Hippocrates, Plato, Aristotle (as melancholia). The word depression is modern. The experience not. (Andrew Solomon's tome on depression - The Noonday Demon is pretty interesting on this.
  • dimosthenis9
    353
    Individualism and depression (even a light form ) are going together.If you choose to discover the most you can from yourself at some point you will face depression also for sure. The thing is to pass that state and then you will find bigger happiness. As Nietzsche insists those who suffered have the greatest potential. And biggest bad is absolutely necessary for the greatest good.
    Plus it goes the other way around too. Those who already suffer depression are most likely to follow individualism. It's easier for them. So for me you can't have one without having the other.
  • CountVictorClimacusIII
    63


    Society instructs us that if we peer deep inside our hearts that we will eventually find what makes us happy...There seems to be a strong correlation between depression and the ideology of “following” one’s heart.

    As someone who almost died because of a deep depression, I can relate to what you're saying.

    I think this is where reflection comes into a play a bit. Peer deep into your heart with your head. A rational approach to your hopes, dreams, desires perhaps. And instead of "happy", reframe it to meaningful. What is meaningful? Well, what do you want to do with your life? What represents your dreams, your hopes, your desires, your ideals? A deep introspection here and potential removal of external influencers like society / culture and authority figures like parents for example, through that process of looking inwards here can help. Finding the "goal" then, the "why" of your life that you really want, once you identify it as meaningful and authentic to you through that introspection, can then help with your next statement:

    As a lack of responsibility and structure in one’s life decreases the sense of purpose, depression increases.

    Commit yourself completely to the pursuit of your goal. This then gives you a sense of responsibility, purpose, drive. And most importantly, hope.

    Instead, society tells us to experiment with drugs (antidepressants) and chase false hopes instead of solving the problem. Shunning social obligations and familial responsibilities in order that one might increase a sense of individuality commonly occurs.

    Depends how you view individuality in my opinion. If you think that being an individual involves "finding yourself" by relating yourself completely to the outside world for meaning without looking inwards first, then yeah, perhaps experimenting with drugs doesn't seem like a bad idea. Then you shun your obligations because you feel that sense of "loss". A false hope is only false if you believe it to be that way. I think it's a perspective shift. And that introspection and identification of the "why" of your life is key.

    Maybe life isn't so much about finding yourself, but more about creating yourself, and actualizing your will to affirm the desire to create, and keep creating with all your being. You're your own canvas, and that journey of creation and re-creation is a growth that lasts a lifetime.
  • MAYAEL
    115
    among the philosophical Community yes depression seems to be a common occurrence however I was talking about before social hierarchies developed philosophers back when things were tribal
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    I was not referring to philosophical communities. Those philosophers were talking about people generally. Prehistory? I guess we'll never know given the lack of empirical studies from that period. My intuition is depression is a part of the human.
  • Manuel
    1.4k
    Human beings are so complicated, that I think it is almost impossible to find one main culprit for depression.

    Surely the prevailing ideology of individualism contributes in no small amount to such feelings. But the history of depression predates this ideology and depression has always been around. There may be more now, sure.

    Then again, as others have mentioned, we may simply be more aware of it, thus detection goes up. It was not until recently, in the US and Europe at least, that mentioning that you're going to a psychologist meant that you were totally insane.

    From my own experience, being involved in a social group may help. But if you're not feeling good, you won't react to the group your with.
  • New2K2
    52
    I suspect depression was always a strong feature of human life.Tom Storm

    I agree with you, I feel like we often downplay the effect of globalization in that it has made available to us information almost impossible to get on others prior. That means we now see the common flaws that we all share on a global level, rapists and psychopaths suddenly seem to multiply. And depression appears to be an epidemic.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k
    I think that the fast paced 'go getting' nature of culture contributes to depression, because we are often put into a position where meeting of goals is emphasised. Also, we are subject to standards and images in the media and online, which can lead people to compare themselves and often feel rather inadequate. I am not saying that any of these factors can be overcome, and development of personal goals is important for empowerment and self esteem.

    I also believe that a lot of people do feel depressed on account of suffering they come across and about the state of the world. There is the issue of clinical depression, but it is a whole spectrum ranging from sadness to depression which affect the ability to function, and often requires medical interventions. Depression can be clinical, but to some extent sadness and melancholy are 'normal' aspects of the panorama of human emotions.
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