Now let me get started by saying that I know that depression has varying degrees of intensity, and thank the heavens I have never had to deal with the full-blown, physically impairing type that can thankfully, nowadays, be tackled with the 21st century medications.
What I am going to talk about is the type of depression that a large chunk of humanity deals with every day, but is devalued as a non-topic. What is the absolute goal of society? Or rather, what is the goal we are told to pursue? Aside from wonderful things like life (it’s generally a good thing to be alive) and liberty (we can debate exactly how free any of us actually is), the pursuit of happiness is the forefront of, at least, western society. I say this because more often than not, even in western society, we don’t give a shit about happiness, we just want to survive and not end up in the streets destitute and abandoned by our increasingly inhuman representatives. So why bring it up? I think comedians are the philosophers of our times, and Carlos Valencia best put it when he said “If you’re not depressed, you’re not paying attention”. And ever since I heard that, I just felt so much better about this consistent and nagging “ugh” I feel every single day.
I never got that whole “ignorance is bliss” bullshit. It’s dumb, knowing is far better than not knowing. Yeah, more often than not, when you know something you didn’t your immediate reaction is “Aaah, I wish I didn’t know that”, but overall, knowing is what makes us grow, it’s one of the civilizing forces in society. Not knowing is far worse, and you can call ignorance to be bliss, it’s just a dumb and lazy way to excuse not wanting to find out more or to not care about anything outside of our own wee little bubble.
So I take time to know things, I care about what is going on in my country, I care about what is going on in my community, the country next door, countries around the world, humanity as a whole. I care about the old lady crossing the street, and whether or not I’m going to see her getting run over (something I don’t want to happen to the old lady, or to be scarred for life for witnessing) I generally care about a whole lot of things, especially in my personal circle. I care deeply and fundamentally about my partner, whether or not she’s OK, if she laughs, if she’s in pain, I care deeply about our making it to the end of the month with some money left over in the bank that we can save for our future, I care deeply about our life, so I care about knowing if I am doing well in my job, if my job has a future, if my country has a future, and I need to know when to pack our bags and bounce if things get bad in this country.
So how can you not be depressed when all sign show that work, people, communities, countries as a whole are not faring too well? How can you not be depressed when you see hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from the drudges of war or witnessing the horrors of hunger, conflict, poverty, persecution, apathy, inhumanity around the world? How the hell can I not be depressed when I have to pay taxes out of my ass to finance a state that is inefficient and does not guarantee my safety in case of a fire, how can I not be depressed when I have to work my ass off to make ends meet every month, and know that there are a whole lot of people who are waaaay worse off? Worse, knowing that there are a whole lot of people who are waaaay better off, not doing a 100th of what we have to do to survive?
So yeah, I am depressed, functionally so, but a depression nonetheless. But guess what, so are you, and so are millions of people around the world, cause at the end of the day, that cow ain’t gonna milk itself, that field ain’t gonna till itself, that spreadsheet ain’t gonna fill itself, and that bill ain’t gonna pay itself. We have to deal with life, and that’s hard. We have to witness what’s going on around us, and that’s harder. But we have choices every day that make us functioning human beings. We can laugh, we can experience momentary glimpses of joy, of happiness sitting on a couch after eating dinner with a loved one. We can experience the bliss of fleeting relaxation for a couple of hours before heading off to bed and repeating the grind all over again.
The world is depressing, but there is true beauty and joy to be had from it. It’s all momentary, and you need to know where to find it. It’s what makes most of us function. Keep your bliss all ye who choose ignorance. I am happy knowing.