Depressive Realism, the World Today, & Me

I've been around, you know. There was a time I could see. And I have seen boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn't nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit; there is no prosthetic for that. - Frank Slade

I have a lot of friends who’ve “been around.” I’ve had the pleasure of running around with brilliant and exceptional men and women from all sorts of backgrounds through my time at Pepperdine and my brief involvement with the interfaith youth core and the foundation for the defense of democracies.

I’ve travelled a bit myself. I’ve lived in the suburbs; I’ve lived on a farm; I’ve lived in Malibu, Italy, and a concrete jungle. No, I’ve never been to Africa. I’ve never really been to a third-world country unless you count Tijuana or Frayser, TN. 

I honestly don’t think I needed to. I’ve been all over this Empire. I’ve been to its borders and it’s forgotten corners. I’ve sat in the backyards and cafes of its most elite districts and neighborhoods. I’ve stared up at the sky in its last few empty places. Perhaps most importantly I have spent the last three years of my life in the training school of its oft-maligned bureaucratic enforcers: lawyers. 

I have seen many beautiful things. A cloudy sky above while backstroking in the galilee. The sun setting over the Santa Monica Mountains. Families. Children. Forests. Deserts. Mountains and Oceans.

But what I have seen of the current state of mankind in the major, I have found repugnant and even nauseating. 

I’ve seen walls going up everywhere. Walls around the neighborhoods and houses of the rich. Walls around my homeland. Walls through the heart of the Holy Land.

I’ve seen good people struggling to get by burdened by tremendous debts.

I’ve seen our environment raped, burned, and spit upon by shadowy things called “corporations” or “embodiments” which you cannot touch, you cannot see, and most importantly you cannot call to justice in a jail cell or on a gallows.

I’ve seen us all running against the wind. Running. Running. Running.

There is a theory in psychology called “depressive realism.” This theory holds that people like myself, with a moderate or borderline depression, have a more accurate perception of reality because we are not blinded by positive illusions. 

In my case I’m not sure which came first: the chicken or the egg, the depression or the realism.

It doesn’t really matter. 

I have seen. 

I’m not sure if the state of our world is objectively worse than it was 5 years ago, or 10, or 100. I know there have been steps forwards and steps backwards. 

What I am sure of is that the winds of change are blowing and that my generation grew up in a doldrum or perhaps just in the eye of the storm.

I am also sure that while this is certainly not the worst of all possible worlds, it is also not the best.

I have hope for tomorrow.

But not the blind, bullshit hope that we were sold in the 90s. Not the blind, bullshit hope that we were sold in 2008. 

I have realistic hope.  I thank God for the opportunity to have tasted failure, to have felt impotent, and even worthless. If you’ve never been there I’m sorry. I’m sorry because someday you will. 

If your there right now, I congratulate you. If you have lost something or everything, I congratulate you. 

It’s not just a platitude: freedom really is just another word for nothing left to lose. 

Depression is a burden, but its also a gift. 

If your interested in learning more about the joys of sadness, I’d encourage you to pick up the book “Against Happiness” by Eric G. Wilson. 

Here’s the blurb: 
We are addicted to happiness. More than any other generation, Americans today believe in the power of positive thinking.  But who says we’re supposed to be happy? Eric G. Wilson argues that melacholia is necessary to any thriving culture, that is is the muse of great literature, painting, music, and innovation- and that is is the force underlying original insights. 

When you take off your rose-colored glasses, or have them ripped off you, you can see the world as it really is, both beautiful and broken.

I’d also like to point you to two other depressive realists: Thomas Krenshaw of Freedom Guerilla and Mike Ruppert.

The documentary “Collapse” concerns both Rupert’s personal history and his worldview.

Here’s the trailer:

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