Anyone who is at all aware –awake, alive- would have to feel depressed, at least sometimes, about the state of our planet in the 21st century. Anyone with half a brain can see the enormous challenges that lie ahead if we are to solve the problems we have created for ourselves and every other species on the planet, and to survive.
It depresses my spirit to read of continuing human suffering, environmental degradation, financial depradation and corruption, war, famine, pestilence and plague. It leaves me with a heavy heart to realise how little humanity has learned from the harsh lessons of the previous century, when each of the seven deadly sins was on display in spectacularly destructive ways.
I don’t think my own depression is any longer ‘clinical’. I have been off the flatline-inducing anti-depressant medications for six months now, and have hardly ever had to curl up in a blubbering ball on my kitchen floor throughout that time. My depression, nowdays, is what the medical profession calls “situational” or “circumstantial”, and is shallower and shorter-lived.
Chronically, clinically depressed people, I believe, are the coal-mine canaries of our species, super-sensitive to the toxic atmosphere we have created for ourselves, both literally –in terms of CO2 and other pollutants in our air and water- and culturally. The pandemic of depressive illness throughout the Western world should serve a warning that our overheated, acquisitive cultures expect too much from we mere frail humans.