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The Societal Dysfunction

I tapped into something yesterday morning as caffeine and nicotine quickened my mind, intense dreams waking me up to a path more worth taking. The self-help therapy that was my education in psychology granting me the words and concepts I would need for my self-discovery.

Born of darkness, surrounded by depression, anxiety and "failure", my path was harsh, but as I meet more and more similar souls, a foundational piece of our common puzzle fits more clearly now.

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Depression is a disease, I don't mean to minimize the awful desperation of it, but how much of this epidemic is truly ours to hold? If humans have certain needs, and those needs aren't met, how long can we suffer before our minds begin to fall prey to melancholy, anger, even despair? How long can a society steal away the joy our lives could hold before we fail to see joy in life at all?

Is this a failure of our person, or has something else failed?

A psychopathology professor once told me that depression prone individuals may actually be seeing their surroundings more clearly, and that those surroundings we're truly worthy of depression. A society that takes little responsibility for it's inhabitants well-being, often degrading even the concept of it, has many sins to answer for.

"Our job is to get you to a point that you can function. Quality of life is, unfortunately, not a focus," a clinical psychiatrist once told me. To be fair, the well meaning professionals I've dealt with did just that. The rest truly was "up to me". I took action. I stayed employed, I read psychology books like there was a time limit, or else they'd disappear, I meditated to youtube videos, I tugged the ears of most everyone I had a chance to. In short, I functioned. But there was only the pride I felt at doing that, and little else. My self-discovery, while illuminating, was only part of an interaction, and my perpetual self-focus could only heal my psyche, but not provide me with what I truly sought. My focus shifted, and that confluence of events has made all the difference.

I began to ask myself, "What would truly make me content?" The answers we're childlike at first, but evolved over time. I wanted safety, but not in the physical sense of free from danger, but safe from the financial distress of scarcity. I wanted to eat well, food always being a focus of my Italian heritage, and my human heritage as well. I wanted a piece of the world to call my own; the distress I felt when my father sold his house in an idealistic community due to perpetual refinancing, showed me that. But above all else, I wanted to connect to other people.

Many of us are born into dysfunctional families. Familial connection, despite being a basic human need, often goes unmet. Our societies, especially that of our United States, prizes individuality above the communal connections that heal the familial dysfunction so many of us are born into. It is not surprising that we go from unmet need to unmet need and feel nothing can fill the voids. Truly lost, we become desperate, likely at a time we know little about the consequences of our actions. And who can guide us when we all sit dumbfounded, with the only professionals we have access to charged with "function", "quality of life, unfortunately, not a focus,"?

So we bounce between extremes, from substance abusing drop outs, to complete conformists, the subject of our personal experiment in finding something worth living for. Our lives devoid of any meaning, but focused instead on making money to consume, the greater part of our consumption unnecessary and distracting. We artificially create "economic growth" in the blind hope that more and more of it will supply more and more jobs, while those jobs often guarantee exactly the lives we don't want. We aspire to be unconscious cogs in a machinery that is easily manipulated by a caste we don't belong to. Our work degraded to employment purely for financial gain, when the technology to create what we'd need to buy is simple and affordable. We trade community, and all the financial and emotional benefits it offers, for blind obedience to someone else's economic theory. Our bible written by Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes.

We forget simpler times, when families and communities provided for each other directly. We forget that we have spent much more of our history successfully doing just that, and that economic experiments on a populace are, in fact, immoral games played by immoral people. We forget that no man servicing the economy deserves more wealth than those that create it. The only green that has worth grows in the ground, and pieces of paper serve us only as an antiquated tool of exchange.

Then we remember. We remember that helping others is the same as lifting us all. We remember that living is the meaning of all our lives, and only by enabling each other, are we enabled. We remember that we had this in us all along, but our natural inclinations we're driven from us by thieves and beggars. We remember that all organisms mature from competition to cooperation. We, when the paths laid before us, their destinations made clear, remember we have a choice to take a less trodden path. At least, less trodden lately.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 05/19/2018


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