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Is Depression a Sign of Intelligence?

Aug 17, 2007
Are you depressive? Congratulation, there is every reason to be. It is quite normal. I would say that only an insane person would not be depressive in a world like this. Open any magazine, newspaper, watch TV or listen to the radio. There is disaster, corruption, cheating, catastrophes, heart breaking cruelty, misery, drama, hatred, war and crime everywhere. What to speak of the common problems of life: Disease, old age and death.

The ancient Indian scripture called Bhagavta Purana describes modern reality as follows: "When there is a predominance of cheating, lying, sloth, sleepiness, violence, depression, lamentation, bewilderment, fear and poverty, that age is Kali, the age of the mode of ignorance."

It seems to be the reaction of at least a somewhat healthy mind to become depressive in the face of all these horrible things, in the face of death and disease, which might strike at every moment. In the same old Vedic scripture of ancient India it is said: "Padam padam yad vipadam na tesam. This is a world, where there is danger at every step." Who could deny it? This indeed is very depressing.

So, to me at least, it seems that each and every person not suffering from depression must be either blind or have found some other shelter in a place, which is devoid of all these calamities. I would suggest that the majority of people dragging along according to the motto "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die" fits into the latter category. It is a main ingredient of material life, especially its modern variation, to forget. Ignorance keeps the masses dragging on.

People are eager to numb their minds. Drug abuse, sex addiction, TV addiction, eating, drinking, everything just to forget the miseries of life, which would be unbearable otherwise. Their mind is so dull that they cannot afford to be depressive. They have taken shelter in ignorance and a superficial life of cheap, fleeting and unfulfilling sense gratification.

But there are those healthy people who dare to be depressive. While the former cannot be helped so easily according to the statement "It's folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss", the latter are more open for advice. They actually KNOW that this sort of life IS depressing. They do not deny it. They don't escape. They sometimes even do not respond to therapeutic treatment, which's only aim is to scatter the sane considerations of the depressive client to make him believe, against the obvious facts, that everything is alright.

It is interesting that those who blame metaphysically oriented people to be escapists all the while have nothing else to do than to use every and all means just to make them forget depressing reality.

Who is an escapist? The one, who sees life as it is, with all the war, disease, death and cruelty, or the one who refuses to do so? And nevertheless he calls himself a "realist"! And, admittedly, there are nice things in this world, too. But this does not change things for the better, but for the worse. It is like enjoying ice cream, delicious fresh ice cream, with sand in it. This could drive you crazy.

I remember an incident over a quarter of a century ago, when I talked with my eldest sister about happiness. Together with my father we were out for a walk at my grandma's place, when the discussion came to this subject. I said to her that people have no real standard of happiness. They actually take ignorance as a substitute. Therefore their enjoyment - hampered by the mode of ignorance - is very shallow and superficial. I added that it is important to enlighten them about this fact.

My sister did not agree at all. "If they are happy, leave them alone", was all she said. I grew so angry that my loud voice drew the attention of my father. At that point I stopped the conversation, being totally frustrated my sister.

Although I know that her response was the consequence of her own ignorance and fear, today I can at least appreciate one very important point she made. There is no use to force people to acknowledge the brutal facts of this material life, culminating in the fact that one day - and it could approach at every moment - we have to leave everything behind. They will not appreciate you pulling the carpet from under their feet. We have at the same time show them an alternative, a better way of life.

It is a sign of intelligence to be depressive. It shows at least that a person does not bury his or head in sand like an ostrich. He or she is too intelligent to believe the old saying "Out of sight, out of mind.".

But depression is no solution. It is even more intelligent to ask whether there is any other way out from this tragedy than just ignorance. And there is. But this is the second part of the story.
About the Author
Friedrich Asen has over 20 years of experience as a personal development expert. For more information on the different types and symptoms of depression and on depression treatment visit his Overcome Depression Site.
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