Tuesday, September 7, 2010
c. David Grim (taken 8/6/10)
There's no getting around the fact that general perspective and attitude affect mood. Or maybe it works in reverse. I guess it's a chicken-and-egg situation. Either way, once depression sets in, it's difficult to find your way out. And it doesn't help that hassles are virtually omnipresent in our environment. For reasons I'd really rather not get into on this blog, I feel like I'm walking around with a dark cloud in my head. It's obscuring my ability to see any kind of positivity, or have any real hope for the future. I know it defies reason, but perhaps that's the whole point.
The truth is that if I force myself into an objective stance, it's not hard to see that my problems are really kind of minor compared to most everyone else on earth. I live in a nation that is extremely self-indulgent, and of course I benefit from that posture all the time. We take more than our share of pleasures and are offered a disproportionate amount of protection. And within my country, my income level falls into the "above average" category. That means that my standard of living (assessed by a common and consensual measurement) is better than at least 50% of the population, even here in the US. So many folks would be glad to trade their lot in life for mine. What right do I have to be unhappy?
Unfortunately that's not the way it works. You can't just work out the numbers and decide to be content (or discontent) based upon where you come out on the distribution curve. Maybe that's a shame, or perhaps we are fortunate that's the case. What if there was no way to NOT be depressed if we weren't blessed in comparison to others? It would certainly alter the entire dialog about how we organize society. We'd definitely have to rethink our concepts of social justice. Imagine that.