Salon magazine reflects on “The Puzzling Reality . . . that human depression is increasing in an era when environmental conditions are relatively benign. The average citizen in Western society now lives longer, is less likely to starve, and enjoys considerably greater wealth than his sixteenth-century counterpart. Presumably these objective conditions for survival and reproduction would cause depression rates to fall, not rise to nearly one in five citizens.”
“when environmental conditions are relatively benign”? Are they? In actual fact this may be a typical American perspective that overlooks much. It is not clear that wealth or even being well off promote the art of living well. The good life may be filled with junk of every sort. The vices thrive and the virtues decline. Salon is a rather middle brow, play it safe, on line periodical which promotes supposedly progressive things. Like Huffington Post it expresses enthusiasm for many things which ought to be taken with great care if at all. A less materially abundant society forces people to have discipline and appreciation and gratitude for the small goods that come along. People are more apt to be humble. America is a very arrogant place. It is not hard for me to see why depression is on the rise. It is brutally self evident. Bad diets, bad philosophies, low grade entertainment, sexual obsession, poor education . . . fluoridated water, nuclear waste, GMO’s, endless terrorist fantasies made up by the FBI and HLS . . . drivel for news . . . bad jobs . . . or no jobs . . . often very distorted versions of religions . . . the list is endless. Yes, depression is actually a healthy reaction to a bad society. But stopping at that feeling is no good. The next step is to transcend the common lot. To step away from the garbage.
I think the above great article by Bruce Levine is saying something similar to the article posted here in that the so called “mental health” profession can do more harm than good by bogus theories that cause people to be more self absorbed with lowered self esteem because they aren’t living up to some perfect standard of bliss whether it is some constant state of happiness or not qualifying for any one of over 360 bogus stigmas of the junk science DSM, which are mostly based on normal human behaviors that can occur in life crises or traumatic situations. The insanity of the DSM is that there is some supposed perfect state of being human, which is just one part of the fraud and menace of biopsychiatry since it robs us of our very humanity by pretending everyone but themselves is hopelessly flawed.
This article was also posted on AlterNet which deals with many injustices and agendas that cause people harm and it does not focus on the privileged, but rather does all to expose their excesses.
Anyway, I disagree with the above post by AgniYoga in that I think the article is pointing out that the misguided sole focus of always feeling that one must be totally happy or one is inferior or lacking if not always perfectly happy can just lead to more unhappiness and even despair due to such unrealistic perfectionism in the pursuit of happiness.
Here is another take on the constant pressure to be or at least appear to be constantly happy and positive, which can be not only maddening, but downright dangerous when we ignore the negative to our great peril. The author expresses her frustration when she is accosted for not being “positive” enough about her breast cancer.
Give me a break!
I think happiness is a byproduct of a well lived life, so chasing after happiness can be like a dog chasing its own tale. But, that’s my opinion.