Of great interest to me is the seeming correlation between depression and intellect. That is not to say one must be intellectual to suffer from depression; and conversely being intellectual is not a guarantee of depression however there is an undeniable link. I should disclaim to you that I have no strong personal experience with depression so I speak from rational thought and observation.
If anyone has personal experience I would as always be delighted to hear from you in the comments section. There is quite a large amount of material on this subject on this matter on the internet, however I do not intend to summarise this – you can read this yourself if it is of interest. I intend to provide my own thought which will hopefully give you something new to read.
The inevitable end
From speaking with people I know of great intelligence a common theme seems to be that they spend a great deal of time thinking about the end. It is one of the most unhealthy human activities to think about death and yet it seems to be one that binds many of us. I think one thing that is common among all successful minds is an unrelenting need to go on for ever, to never set a final goal and to perpetually achieve. The inevitability and unshifting nature of the end makes it difficult to pursue this with true vigour. Have you ever been to a party when you spent a lot of the time thinking about when you have to leave? Have you ever tried to enjoy a holiday thinking about getting back home? The answer is you can’t and it is the same with life – it is impossible to appreciate the richness of life with one eye on the end. You have to keep both eyes facing now – so if this advice is so simple why can’t intellectual people follow it? Well the answer is simple – the intellectual mind can fool all minds but their own. It isn’t possible to live in the moment, unless you are naturally living in it; by which point the advice is redundant. There are steps one might take to help, but there is no cure.
When you think of the universe on a grader scale? Well the picture does not get any brighter. On a grander scale we know that if we cannot escape this universe there will come a time where everything human is removed from the universe and there will be nothing left for any civilisation to detect. If harnessed in the right way this will of course give you the motivation to behave like the freak you are; but harnessed the wrong way and this can remove any motivation you have at all. Perhaps I will get depression by the end of this article.
Some of the most important and interesting questions known to mankind we cannot answer. We cannot tell you why we are here, we cannot tell you if there is other intelligent life in the universe. I mean we can only tell you about around 14bn years of cosmic history because the rest of it, well the light has not yet had time to reach us so who knows what is there. We don’t know if we are alone, or if there are hundreds of civilisations arrogantly considering themselves to be alone… We could be in one finite universe, one infinite universe, or one of an infinite series of finite universe. I can’t tell you what is inside a black hole, and I cannot tell you what the smallest building blocks of matter are. I can theorise, and draw on evidence – some of these questions I can come closer to answering than others but the truth remains I cannot tell you definitively (yet) and nor can anyone.
It feels a little bit like being cheated. If you have a mind sharp enough to pose these questions, it feels a little like you are being robbed of the most important information of all. As with all of these points there is a positive side to this, which is the reason why so many great minds are locked in a battle to understand the mysteries of the universe. That aside, it is terribly frustrating to be so aware of the questions that one needs to answer and to be so aware of the value the answers hold; yet be so fully aware of how far from the answers you are. This, I think is the source of so much discontent and unhappiness in the intellectual community.
Ignorance is bliss
This section is going to be really hard to write without exuding arrogance, so if you are easily offended you might want to skip it. But intelligent people tend to think deeper than others and they tend to have much greater levels of perception than others. But what really is perception? It is an awareness of something through your senses. Let us take a social scenario as an example. You may be talking to someone, someone you know and have no reason to doubt them. But then they do something strange; they look down and to the left when they are telling you something important. Maybe they cancel an event with you with an excuse that, after weighing up the known truths, seems improbable. The perceptive mind will notice these little things and they will mull on them. The ideas will multiply and become something more: now you have an unknown on the mind and you will grow this thought. The less perceptive mind would never have noticed this and would have simply moved on with life.
Whilst this might not seem like the a large issue these little stimuli multiply. They snowball, and before you know it you have 12 on your mind before you go to bed. It is of great importance to be able to shut off these thoughts and focus on what is truly going to add value to your life – if you cannot do this you will spend so much time stuck in worry that life will in truth become depressing.
What do other people think?
I spoke with one of my followers who has been suffering from such thoughts to try to understand this a little more – again without just robbing the internet and what I found is that even with intelligent minds there are things weighing down on our generation that were not on others. There are pressures on all young peopler – the pressures to look a certain way, perform a certain way and to act a certain way. But there is an intensifying effect now.
Take the days of Isaac Newton. How did Isaac Newton feel when his friend behaved inappropriately with a woman he had feelings for? How did Isaac Newton feel when his crush kept liking his best friends Facebook photos? You see my point. The internet is a blessing – we can upload and download huge volumes of information in seconds and have grown unthinkably more powerful because of it. But as with most good things there are negative side-effects and one of those side effects are the constant chipping away at people who are just trying to do the right thing.
So what is the answer?
How should I know? I am not even depressed. I know that a lot of this sounds like personal experience – and you wouldn’t be too far from the truth so let me enlighten you. Do I think about death? I am a human of course I do. But I don’t let it consume me. The second you accept the finite nature of what you have been given the better. There may be some that say “Okay, accepted” – this is not good enough. You have to accept it inside. You must be never ready to die and always prepared to.
How do I deal with the rest of it? Well I used to get terribly frustrated because I was becoming an accountant and not achieving the things I dreamed off as a child and of course I have fallen victim to spending trivial time scrolling through social media not using it for the right reasons. But science and mathematics are my salvation. Through these subjects I have quenched the nagging feelings that I am not achieving because I am moving forwards. My frustrations are channelled into personal satisfaction and achieving answers and from there the process is self-perpetuating for eternity. Each success propels to the next, the success is the fuel.
A very big thank-you to all my followers, new and old. I reached 500 followers yesterday – which was a mark I didn’t think I would read for some years and I really appreciate it.