The realities of some people’s lives make them acutely aware of the meaningless and pointless nature of existence on earth. They are aware that to live in body is to live only to die. They are aware that body is nothing (body has no worth and value). The affairs of the body fill them with disgust. This awareness makes these persons depressed. This occurs very early in their lives, in my case before age six. These people are existentially depressed.
They seek ways to avoid the awareness of their existential depression. One way to escape from existential depression is to use the mind to construct an idealized self, idealized other people, idealized social institutions and idealized world.
Having posited ideals of everything that exists they embark on pursuing them. Their lives are characterized by desire to bring about the ideals of their mental creation. They go to school to become their idealized selves, and help bring about idealized other people, institutions and the world. They are on a mission to make the world an ideal, perfect place; they see the world as nothing and want to make it what they think is its opposite, something important. They find the world depressing and are seeking an idealized uplifting version of it.
The pursuit of ideals leads to wishful thinking and living in fantasy and, in some cases, to delusion disorder (if the idealized self is seen as real and one behaves from its parameters, instead of the mere wished for self it is).
The pursuit of ideals means that these people have rejected their bodily selves, what is, seen it as not well enough and want to replace it with what seems good enough, a new self-constructed by the mind.
One has rejected the real and seeks the unreal. This means that one is depressed. The depressed person rejects himself and the world because he sees them as not good enough and wants to replace them with an idealized version of them.
They want to replace the depressing reality of the human body and imperfect social institutions with an imaginary ideal body and social institutions, one that is not prone to pain and death and imperfection; other depressed persons give up entirely and have no motivation to do anything, even to live.
(As an example, my inherited biological issues, cytochrome c oxidase deficiency and spondilolysis, made me pained, weakly and sickly; I did not like that feeling and rejected my body and reacted with pursuit of an ideal self ala Karen Horney; in Alfred Adler's terms, I felt inferior and compensated with desire to feel superior and powerful. In adulthood I realized that I could not be superior or powerful and gave those childish pursuits up and accepted my underlying depressed self-view. In effect, the reality of my biological state depressed me and I sought magical escape from that depression via idealism, especially socialism. Anyone who inherited my body and its medical problems would be depressed; depression was inevitable in me. This depression leads to pursuit of alternatives to depressed self, such as ideal self which is a magical self, a fantasy since in the real world no human being is ever perfect.)
Delusion disorder, aka paranoia, is efforts to escape from the depressing realities of the self and its world and replace them with imaginary ideal versions of them and pretend that the ideal versions are true.
When the futility of idealism and delusion is grasped the individual makes one last valiant effort to escape from his depression. He studies metaphysics.
Metaphysics is any attempt to rise above physics, to rise above the world of matter, space and time, to rise above the human body and its world. The individual throws himself into studying religions, especially metaphysical religions such as Gnosticism, A course in miracles, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. (I did all these.)
Ultimately, he learns that those are mere wishful thinking and do not really deliver on what they claim to be the alternative to the world’s ugly depressing reality. Science remains the only objective way to understand our bodies and world and correct their problems; escaping to metaphysics does not solve the perceived problems of this world.
Now that one knows that one is depressed and that the world is depressing and that one was trying to escape from depression through idealism, delusion and metaphysics, and that those do not work, so what should motivate the person? If idealism, paranoia, metaphysics are escapes from depressing reality what then needs to be done? Before we answer this question let us first look at the mental set of normal persons.
Normal persons accept physics, nature, their selves and the world as it is without wishing that it be better. Normal persons accept their bodies as good; they work to maintain their bodies and understand what serves their bodies, which is science and technology (physics is the study of nature from the perspective that it is good as it is).
The neurotic, unlike the normal person, is unable to resign himself to the world of physics: matter, energy, space and time for those ultimately do not make sense to him and are depressing.
So what is the solution for the self-rejecting neurotic? If escape to magical thinking (such as idealism, metaphysics and delusion) does not work what would work?
If one could just throw one’s self into studying physics, chemistry, biology, earth science and find motivation in doing so it would be nice but the fact is that those study body, matter, that which one’s mind had in childhood judged as not good enough, rejected and want to escape from.
Mental illness is an attempt to escape from the depressing reality of the ego self, its body and world into fantasy alternatives to them.
Normal folks, such as politicians, find the world neurotics see as depressing good enough and make the most of it, even celebrate it, defend it, defend their bodies; they defend that which depresses neurotic persons, their bodies.
So what is the solution for those for who normal activities do not motivate? To start off, one must stop judging the self and the world as either good or bad and simply experience them as they are without moralization about their goodness or badness. Things just are; they are neither good nor bad. Good or bad is a mental judgment based on personal preference. The world does not have to be according to one’s personal preference. The world is objectively what it is, beyond good or bad.
Study the world as it is without projecting your idea of how it should be to it; this is what science does.
Depression is the primary reaction of the human mind when it becomes conscious of the nature of the world it lives in (it is Alfred Adler’s child feeling inferior…to feel inferior is to feel depressed by the nature of being). Upon manifesting in body and realizing that body is full of pain and suffering and ultimately will die and thus is nothing one feels like one is nothing and feels depressed.
(A course in miracles says that one deliberately makes one’s body pained, weak and sickly so as to give one’s self reason to reject the body and posit an idealized self and pursue it. As long as one is pursuing the idealized self-one makes one’s ego seem important to one, and by default makes the body seem important in one’s awareness. Sickness is a means of making the body seem real. As the course sees it, body does not exist; what does not exist cannot be made real even if it is made sick; body is a dream reality and is not an actual reality. A course in miracles essentially says that when people desire to live in body and ego they become depressed for they realize that body is nothing; but instead of accepting the nothingness of body and turning ones attention to where one came from, spirit, one tries to improve the body via ego ideal and have the delusion that it can be made ideal. The ego does not exist and what does not exist cannot be made ideal or perfect. The course urges people to negate their bodies, egos and the world and turn their attention to spiritual matters, to God and his heaven, where they came from.)
In my perception, normal persons are in animal state of evolution; they are deep in sleep and dream that their bodies and egos and the world is real; they are not yet aware of the nothingness of body and the ego it houses. They value their egos and body, space and time and can study science and technology and use those to understand body and make body’s existence lovely.
Scientists are not smarter than other people; they are normal persons, that is, closer to animals than spirit; they totally identify with body and value body hence can study it and improve it.
Those who desire to rise above body and rise to spirit tend not to be good in physics and the sciences for they do not want to study that which does not exist, they want to rise above it. (In school I was very good in the sciences but recognized that they study matter, space and time and since those did not make sense to me my mind kept wishing to understand spiritual matters, to grapple with that which transcended matter, my body. I later learned that fellow mystics such as Ramakrishna did not like going to school for his mind wanted to return to spiritual matters. I made a compromise: study science but also study meta-science; I do not like approaching things from the perspective of either or but both. As long as we live on earth we must try to understand the earth; even if the earth is a dream we must study that dream on its terms, as science does.)
(From my case files: Teresa was depressed and sought escape in work. Johnson was depressed and sought escape in ego idealism and ambition. Eugene was depressed and sought escape in sex and alcohol. Thomas was depressed and sought escape in idealism and ambition. EJ was depressed and sought escape in ego power fantasy. Newman was depressed and is not motivated to do anything with his life. These people saw life as it is, depressing, and sought ways to escape from that depressing reality. What is the alternative to their depression (if idealism and its extreme form, paranoia, is not an option)? It is true spirituality, the type that meditates and tries to find out if there is another self besides the bodily self. This book points to the discovery of that new self and its new world, the light self and the light world, the world the Holy Spirit remade our ego-self and world into, an improved version of our egos and our world, a world of light selves and light everything. Ultimately, we shall return to the formless state of union with each other and with God, aka heaven.)
In the meantime persons trying to escape from our depressing reality must still figure out a line of work they enjoy doing, study it and do it for it is in work that we forget our depression; idleness contributes to depression. The study of biology (medicine) and psychology is a useful way to cope with existential depression.
Such persons must learn one lesson and learn well it: they must not posit ideals and seek to attain them; they should not use their ideal standards to judge people and see their imperfections and harp on them (such as talk about people doing something bad in the past and present, those making them imperfect, and from that harp on their imperfection. People are always imperfect but they also have some good and if you talk only about their bad you depress them; idealists depress people with their constant talk about how they should be and should behave.
One must learn to stress the good in people’s behaviors and lives while quietly working to improve their bad, recognizing that not all imperfections can be removed.
This world is not going to be heaven; people are not going to be angels. As long as people live in bodies and have separated selves they must be imperfect. That is our earthly reality and we must accept it. Perfection is only possible in a non-bodily state, that is, in spirit.
The ego self and the body that houses it is depressing; the world is depressing; any one with clarity of vision at some point recognizes the pointlessness of life on earth and becomes existentially depressed.
We are born and must die. The earth is not a perfect place so it is depressing. We must live with that existential depression without escaping to the world of wishful thinking, magical thinking or clinical depression where we do nothing or kill ourselves.
Yes the world is bad but we can continually work to understand the world and improve it as much as it can be improved without the delusion that it is going to be perfect.
There is perfection but it is not in this world; it is in another world, the spiritual world. In the meantime we live in the material world and must make the most of it before we cross the bridge to the spiritual world.
No one should ever negate this world or try to escape from it and return to the spiritual world without having first made the most of this world through science and technology.