Intellectual depression is a term that I have been thinking about for some time. It’s not the same as true depression, although can be, but it is the darkness that gets attached to intelligence. That knowing more causes you to enjoy less or see the deficits in the world.
If you have read much of this blog, you will see big ideas being thought about, poverty and human nature. They interest and fascinate me but their outcomes are less than ideal in most circumstances. The world we live seems to give more and more examples to be intellectually depressed about.
It may be a sign of the time, after all there are forces in the world who exist only for pain. The good guys go bad so easily, and the moral are ambivalent at best. Although I don’t believe this is distinct to our period of history, there was a period called the great depression. Compared to that we are doing good, that is the curse of intellectual depression. Knowing you don’t have it as bad as others, makes you feel ungrateful.
My mind works in threes as you have probably guessed at this point. Therefore there are three ideas that I focus on when trying to unravel intellectual depression.
1. Frustration with the World
Frustration with the world is at the heart of why I feel dark at times. The idea that we live in a time with such marvels, electricity and our understanding of the universe. There has never truly been a better time to be alive. Everyday I can be amazed by something I never knew, that history was ignorant to until very recently.
With this fantastic advancement of our knowledge, why do we continue to fight wars with motivations set millennia’s ago? The reasons we fight have not changed, greed and religion, but the weapons have. The cruelty with which we can inflict pain and death on each other goes against all we have learned.
It is not just at the international level either, I get frustrated as the people around me act as they would if they spoke middle english. There lives considerably better but there motivations remain. They fight with each other, unable to see past their own noses. The same people who demand we end war?
The frustration with the world is that it forgoes logic for the indulgence of emotion. Living in the human body, soon to be optional thanks to Elon Musk, makes emotions a mandatory. What it also does is give you the ability to think. There needs to be some sort of balance.
I am frustrated at a world that exists only to stroke ones emotions. That a person who feels upset is as valid as a person who is right. Your emotion does not make you right yet we treat it as such. It is frustrating that someone can influence a government’s policy because they “feel” something.
This reliance on the emotive is prehistoric at best, with such advancements, how do we not expect more? How do we not see that if we did expect more there would be a better world at the end of it? Yet the intelligent sit there with their logic overridden by someone who is upset.
2. Intelligence messing with emotions.
It may seem a strange point having read the last and it is. The human species needs the ability to indulge in emotions, its how we regulate hormone release which makes us happy. Intelligence messes with this, it is intellectual Grinch to emotions Christmas.
If the world was fair you would get a big old dopamine release when you had a great idea, not when you felt illogically happy. Don’t get me wrong, when I have a great idea there is a high. This happens less and less though, as my expectations are greater and greater. The further down the logic hole, the harder the high. Perhaps this is why writers are famed alcoholics.
Intelligence also messes with the way you experience emotions. You see the logic and therefore the “magic” is revealed. I think this is a prime reason that I often seem like Eeyore, “that’s great you feel happy”. (I bet you did his voice.)
I am not void of emotional high’s, I get them from my wife, dog and bunny, they sustain me. I do not get them from the many other places that others seem to. My inability to turn off my analytical capability makes it quite hard to feel giddy at bird song.
The first time I got drunk was not as fun as everyone else’s. With every drink I analysed its effect, keeping a mental log. As you can image this took away a great deal of the buzz, and took me a long time to get drunk.
Our bodies have evolved to gain pleasure from feeling and not logic. If you are intelligent and focus on logic, you can miss a great deal of the happiness. There are a number of people who I would consider intelligent who do illogical things. They become addicts or indulge in high risk behaviour, an attempt to circumvent the coldness of logic.
3. Happy Religious People
One of the most depression things that exist in the world is religion. It is not the ideas themselves, it is that the ideas need to be had by humans. The idea of being peaceful is a great one, but the only way that humans can contextualize this is if not being peaceful means you’ll be tormented for all time. The idea is great, humans just aren’t good at engaging with ideas.
Then we go to war to encourage peace. I don’t just mean the west, because we like to batter our democratized countries. How does a muslim majority nation have any human rights violations? It is a religion of peace we are told. Than how are such horrors of humanity done in its name.
This is the idea that bigots grip onto when trying to say all muslims are bad. They forget the crusades, they were just as horrific but they had less advanced weaponry. The problem is not with Islam, Christianity, Buddhism or take your pick. The problem is clearly religion.
We abuse each other in the name of our god, while I watch on utterly depressed at the illogical nature. It’s as if one country believes in Spiderman and the other Batman, Spiderman appears to fly by web and Batman by cape. They kill each other because they argue how each others god is not the true flying god. The truth, neither are flying gods, they are men in costumes.
It reduces me to rage when I watch people debate their religion like it is a real thing. That we should implement policy because your imaginary friend told you to. That is utter insanity. Two men not being able to marry, your god doesn’t like it, so no? Be truthful you are a bigot, YOU don’t like it.
There are very few people who actually live their religious ideals. Think of the many absurdly rich religious people; I do Jesus’ work, how? He was all about poverty. Then you abuse your fellow-man to become richer and further from God. How about a war because some other religion is being mean.
Happy religious people are usually hypocrites, and the disconnect between reality and their “belief” is frustrating. This is the problem, the logical intelligent person, expects the religious people to engage logically. That is an expectation never to be fulfilled. To be religious is to be illogical.
Religion is about understanding a world thousands of years ago. Our advancements are beyond that but the collective mind is not.
If you live your life by logic, you are a minority in the world. If you seek to regulate your emotions, you also take away human joy. Don’t look to close at the world because what you see is not what other people feel and you will consistently be at odds because of it.
The world is dark at times, and it does not seem to get better. The intelligent must push forward, because the only hope for the next generation is that we don’t let the illogical dominate.
I haven’t even touched on conspiracy theorists, aka idiots. This would have been a large post if I had to engage in the ideas of climate change deniers or chemtrails.
I don’t know what the answer to the problem of intellectual depression is. Perhaps it is the price you pay for questioning. To exist outside of the human animal and exist as the human being. If I can make a suggestion get a pet, they provide the greatest joy for me. My life is never better than when I hug my dog or bunny. I have written an article about my Chihuahua Lily and Bunny Button.
Keep being inquisitive and hold the illogical to account.
Mental illness is a serious problem, it is something you should treat just like a physical illness. I ask, if you do feel that the world is too dark, or you are struggling please seek help. An intelligent person is a gift to the world, and we need as many as we can get.
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