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Anodyne More Light: The Material Heaviness of Depression

It seems this Dysphoria thing has stimulated all kinds of reaction. One of the more interesting is Anodyne Lite’s firm bio-genetic rejection that depressive feelings can be a “good thing” or harvested in a powerful way, here. The image I have is of a black hole whose time/space properties, if you get too close, will drag you into certain event horizon. And in a sense, material limits, the gravity of the chain of being is just like that, a great density that eventually (and Spinoza would tell you, always) collapses your will into a definite trajectory. In the comments section it seems that we are talking passed each other, but the point I want to bring about here is that while our brain chemistry and material grounds definitely ARE us, we all have to learn how to surf what we are (and surf what others are), and the primary way that we do this is through the reading of intentional behavior. And intentional behavior (including our own) is read through an appeal to our beliefs, desires and wants, our reasons for action. One only reduces these mental predicates to causes at the risk of losing a valuable resource for telling us about the world. And yes, depression, like schizophrenia, can be a deep, debilitating disease, a strong distortive mirroring of the world such that it seems that the mirror is not quite a mirror any more, but this does not mean that the wealth of what is felt passes away into mute material. It rather represents, perhaps, the outer edge of our societal chaoplexic folding. For those though that see the state of the world as fundamentally dysphoric, be they political agendists, or medical depressives, one senses that there are more important things to do with that state than preach revolution. As Deleuze tells us, we start in the middle, not at the beginning.

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3 responses to “Anodyne More Light: The Material Heaviness of Depression

  1. anodynelite October 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Well, I didn’t firmly reject that good things can come out of depression (I think this happens), but I do firmly reject that MDD is a state that is “worth being in” from a political, social, or any other standpoint I can think of. I think this is the sort of thing only people who haven’t been in this state would say. I could be wrong, of course. But I have been in a lot of group therapy, and I’ve never heard a schizophrenic, bipolar, or clinical depressive say “oh, I wish more people could experience what I do everyday, the world would be a better place”…it’s usually more like “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”

    Ultimately, though, I agree with your conclusion.

    • kvond October 14, 2009 at 10:32 am

      I don’t know, is it “worth being in” cancer, or “being in” losing your family to a tragedy, or “in” schizophrenia, or “in” rape? And I don’t want to play the “wave the ‘I’ve been depressed’ badge” or that only people who have been clinically depressed can talk about depression, as in “Only people who have been the victim of ‘x’ can talk about x.” Lots of things in this world are of the kind that one wouldn’t wish to return to that state, or wish it on others, but good does come from terribleness – if only that you having experienced it gives you a powerful and empathetic position to others who are suffering.

      But it is more than this, the point is that even when people are in heavy depression, what they have to say, what they have to think IS of value. It is not “just the depression talking” any more than when someone is drunk “its just the alchohol talking”. There is something else super and above the thresholds someone is under. Does this mean that it is “worth being in” depression? That seems like a pretty odd way to phrase it. It is that people who are in depression are WORTH more than their disability, or even the possibility of what they can feel if they get out of it. They are WORTH what they are feeling (whatever the cause that it is attributed to).

      But I sense that you are significantly leveraging the reality of depression against the rhetorical use that it has somewhat been taken up by, by K-punk and Fox, and to that end I largely agree. But who knows, maybe they are self-medicating with Ideas.

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