Depression is a Sane Response to Our Times
I haven't been posting any essays of late. There are a number of reasons for that, some personal. But the prime cause of my absence here can be summed up in one word: depression. Since last year, I have been struggling with that condition on a daily basis. One could call it a mental disorder were there not so many reasons, so much that has happened and continues to happen. To my mind it is a sane response to an insane world.
I feel old today, and I am a very sick and tired human being. I've struggled with depression most of my life, but my current condition rivals the worst periods of despondency and feelings of helplessness I've ever known. I do my best to put on a brave face for my family, my wife and children, but it becomes more and more difficult each day.
I look at recent events and all I see is chaos, madness, anger, hatred, deceit, greed, violence, war, denial, cruelty, the destruction of our planet and death, both death in the present sense, and the multitude of deaths that will come. And I see no way to prevent the path our species is taking, here in this country or around the globe. I fear we are heading into an inferno of our own creation, one that we have long passed the ability to escape.
Death from extreme weather events caused by climate change, with the promise of more to come from mega-droughts, massive wild fires, heat waves, storms, floods, plagues, water scarcity, famine, migration to escape the ravages that are becoming worse by the day and other horrific consequences that I cannot foresee.
Death from the myriad wars and armed conflicts that are ongoing, many, if not most of which, our country has played a leading role in its determination to retain its imperialistic control.
Death from violence caused by hatred of anyone not like ourselves, hatred promoted by those who have everything to gain by keeping us divided and weak.
The coming deaths Trumpists and other right wing movements around the globe are planning for so many people in their war against the most vulnerable among us.
Deaths caused by law enforcement and by criminals, alike (though these days law enforcement is just a legalized form of criminality).
Death from the wars that so many among the powerful desire and, indeed, revel in, wars that destroy nations, kill and maim millions of people, but which provide profits to those who engender them.
I see no answers to the authoritarian, militaristic state that the USA has become since the end of WWII, but especially in the years following 9/11.
And I see no answers to the corruption of our political system, where the corruption among both major parties far surpasses any that our nation experienced in its history, even that which occurred during the gilded age following the Civil War. Corruption that extends to all our major institutions from governments at all levels, our judicial system, our news media, so-called charitable organizations, the police who protect the rich, and our military establishment to name but a few.
What we need is a powerful counterweight to this corruption, but I don't see one forming yet, at least not one that can match the power of those who control the puppet strings, our oligarchs and their boot-licking servants.
I confess, I may be unable to see any hope because of my deep despair over the course of current events, and the seemingly intractable problems we as a species face. Problems that our political and oligarchic leaders ignore or encourage to grow as they drive us ever closer to extinction, producing ever more misery for ever more of us, all so they can squeeze money out of their the destruction of our planet, even as they work tirelessly to weaken our ability to come together to confront their self-imposed death march.
My only hope, if you can call it that, resides in the younger generation, for it is clear that those of my generation, and those who hold power, have failed miserably in foreseeing the consequences that the actions they have taken based on their beliefs, compromised values and ideological blind spots. Only the young have the energy to combat the forces of darkness that are threatening our lives. You may think my use of the the phrase "forces of darkness" is gross hyperbole, but as I have grown older, and have learned more about the true nature of the powers that be and their agenda, it seems an understatement to me. Last year, when I worked so hard against these forces, and saw many of them for what they were for the first time, has broken my spirit for the time being.
I hope that, at some point, my depression will lift. I also hope that a coherent, well organized movement of people across the globe will arise who see the true nature of the problems we face, and have the courage to stand up and fight for human dignity, respect and our very survival. History tells us that such movements are rare, but perhaps the dire straits in which we find ourselves, and the great awakening so many experienced last year will create the conditions for such a movement, one that ignores our differences and unites us based on our shared humanity and love, if not for other people, at least for the future of all our children.
But forgive me if I am not an optimist regarding humanity's chances at this moment in time. May those of you still in the fight, still seeking to create a way to change the path that the powerful elites are driving us down like so much cattle, a path that can only lead to more misery and slavery for most of us and, ultimately, the catastrophic collapse of civilization and society, not lose hope in your efforts. They are sorely needed in this time of tribulation. Perhaps at some point in the future I will rejoin your ranks.
Until then, good luck to all of you.