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Existential depression.....

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posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 05:04 PM
This past year, I have come to a very strange and existentially troubled place inside. A place where Science, Philosophy, Religion, and my perceived place within it all; have created a state of being that I am not certain I can stomach forever. Those of you who might be concerned by my tone, please do not be troubled as I've no plans to harm myself or anyone else. I have been coming to these forums for many years now under various names, mostly reading. I have watched ATS from its fledgling days grow into whatever it has become today - its 'bigger' to say the least.

ATS members represent virtually every demographic archetype imaginable: religious, atheists, extremists, sensationalists, skeptics,alarmists, survivalists, philosophers, spiritualists, realists, idealists, UFOlogists, dualists, truthers... the list goes on and on. Many of whom are completely convinced that their perception of the world is accurate. I can say that in my 36 years, I have been almost each and every one of you at one time or another. Spending so many years thinking and seeing the world a certain way, until what I perceived as evidence or a lackthereof piled up and forced me into the next phase. My friends, I am feeling as though I have run out of phases. By no means have I run out of fascinating distractions, but those are of course; fleeting.

There is an ironic similarity between all of you even when you are all so diametrically diverse. The religious have faith in their God, even in opposition to a growing scientific consensus that seems to repeatedly be able to prove otherwise by providing evidence that contradicts theological claims. It often extends so far as to suggest that a negative being has tricked the world and all forms of doubt are in fact manifestations of a devil that are best avoided. There is a simplistic beauty to this concept, and certainly helps give people the comfort of not feeling so accountable. I can appreciate why these ideas have survived so long. In fact, at this point I am begging for your God's wrath and the end times if only it meant the world could finally be reborn into anything other than this cruel, absurd, Darwinian prison it seems to be.

The "New Age Spiritualists" (please forgive the label, as I merely used it for the sake of simplicity) manage to lean on that very same tool. Some believe we manifest our existence, some believe we are born over and over and that we are more than our neurons and brain tissue. Some believe we are all one being experiencing this existence subjectively. That perhaps the world we live in is one of many designed to help us grow until we are ready to move on. I will repeat one of my last statements about faith. These ideas, as attractive as they sound also have a tendency to exist in opposition to a growing scientific consensus that seems to repeatedly be able to prove otherwise by providing evidence that contradicts spiritual claims. For what its worth though, I sure do wish I saw things the way you guys do, unfortunately like religion I have drowned within an ocean of doubts caused by cons, fakes, and charlatans.

If I could save just one person even a second of grief by releasing them from all of their proposed illusions and fears, the last thing I would do is provide $2000 "workshops" overpriced books filled with quotes taken out of context, and countless anecdotes of the unprovable. I would give everyone on earth that was willing to listen, every answer I had - free of charge.

Let us not leave out the often skeptical, scientific mathematics-rules-all mentality. It has given us a the Theory of Evolution, longer lifespan, a more comfortable existence, countless inventions, the atomic bomb, space exploration, and currently holds the reigns as the worlds increasingly dominant faction in modern collective thought. We all love it until it tells us something we don't want to hear. Need a God to make sense of your existence? Science says NO. Need an afterlife to make it easier to tolerate your existence? Science says NO. Love the idea of NDE'S, OOBES, UFOS, Ghosts? Science says it believes that you believe, but in reality NO, NO, NO, NO. If you believe in the validity of science, you are blessed to find a true meaning to existence other than self preservation.

Science says we are an accident, and a temporary one at that. Your consciousness is a combination of chemicals, neurons and biological sub-systems working together to form you, and me, and that slug over there. Every emotion you feel is but an accidental or an intentional tweak to the system, all having evolved naturally. Even that Godly, or spiritual sense of meaning we all experience at some point - nothing but chemicals and proteins. When you raise your fist at science and say - Bulls*&t you can't prove that!. Science calmly replies: "you're right, but we will be able to in time". The real motherfu*&^% of it all is when you take religion, spirituality, and science and you send them all out foraging for evidence to fortify their claims, only one seems to be able to come back with substance. Time and time again.

I find myself in the midst of another torturous irony; that science is both the greatest thing that could have happened, and at the same time the worst. People always say things like, there HAS to be a God, or a meaning, or a structure, or something to lead us. They just can't imagine things otherwise, but is it really that difficult to give in to the evident randomness of the universe? Especially when observing the randomness of nature? It is by shear chance that you might win the lottery - or, find yourself the unfortunate victim of a serial killer, or received that dreaded call that something cruel or equally vile has happened to your child. It doesn't seem to matter how special you think you are, or how much you love your children. If you think I'm being overly dramatic about the ways of the world, go to a gore site, or visit a hospice center. Google "3 guys 1 hammer", or go to a meat plant and observe the life tour some animals get to enjoy.. People seem to deliberately avoid these things at all costs as not to upset themselves, then somehow think they can develop a quality understanding of living experience.

For you professional science types that have observed all of these things and somehow manage to find meaning in life, I envy you. For you religious and/or spiritual folks that have had experiences and are completely comfortable ruling out the possibility of your brain generating them, I also envy you. Existence is by all means incredible, something to be grateful for, at least for a portion of us. Though it doesn't make it any less absurd, and I would question any God or higher power that could 'design' nature to be so profoundly cruel.

I guess what I'm getting at in this mercilessly long post is that life seems insane no matter how you look at it. Does anyone else find themselves in a similar rut? Struggling not with the daily functions of life, survival, politics and entertainment, but with the weirdness and futility of consciousness itself? I'm finding life to be increasingly difficult to manage without answers that honestly seem unattainable.

Is there anyone else that feels this way?

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 05:55 PM
I feel like you. And my answer to all your questions is that we haven't evolved to understand any of this. Like Einstein said, the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. We are something that is emerging, and that is our most prevalent characteristic. We emerge like moss on a rock and we try to make sense of what our senses are able to pick up.

Regarding science, I think that it is important in this day and age to make a distinction between hard science and 'soft science'. We have made great improvements in the hard sciences department but in the soft or social sciences we seem to be stuck. Politics, economics, education etc., it seems we have no clue, or we aren't prepared to change. We have more information about a distant planet than on human beings. We know more about robotics than about how to create a human society that actually works. The problem is that in soft sciences, ideologies are the kings and there is very little consideration for what is real, what is really happening, what humans really need (and not some idea of some group with influence), while in hard sciences we have learned to be as close as possible to reality. We have yet to create a new science that we could call the 'science of men' which only goal would be to study human beings in a holistic manner without interference of any ideology of any kind. I am concerned about all this and I am not at the same time, because I truly consider that we are still living in the dark ages, or we could say 'modern obscurantism'.

How do I live with myself ? Well, I am just amazed at the universe. I am just extremely excited by the mystery of all this. I mean, sometimes I wanna grab people in the street and yell at them something like "DO YOU REALISE THAT ALL THIS IS REAL ??". I like this quote :
" It is a special kind of enlightenment to have this feeling that the usual, the way things normally are, is odd—uncanny and highly improbable. G. K. Chesterton once said that it is one thing to be amazed at a gorgon or a griffin, creatures which do not exist; but it is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or a giraffe, creatures which do exist and look as if they don't.
— Chapter I, The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are, Alan Watts, 1966 "

I know nothing is really serious, the planet could explode tomorrow morning and the universe wouldn't care. Our planet has as much importance as a grain of sand in the Sahara desert. My ideal human race would be full of philosophers in awe, all engaged in fundamental research of some kind. Maybe I read too much good science-fiction.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 05:57 PM
Yes, I really do understand. But you know, I try to find beauty in the simple things, gardening,fishing,good food and friends to enjoy it with. Just try being in a different moment and most of all let go of all the outside world. It will go on without you or I to worry over it. Yes big things are about to happen but there is little we can do to stop any of it. Peace to you.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 05:58 PM
I guess you have been here for a long time. You have seen a lot and seem to understand it.

So why be depressed about it, I have faith in Mankind myself. I have faith they will screw up the environment and make a lot of problems for our grandchildren in their quest to make life simpler. Trouble is that the new definition for simpler is to complicate things beyond belief and don't have to work so hard. Then we have to join a fitness center and walk on an electronic walking machine that goes nowhere at a fast pace.

I would rather make firewood and tend the garden with a hoe and shovel. We overwork ourselves to make things a little more convenient. I think the first bad thing that came around was remote controls for televisions.

So it is no use to complain, all you get is funny stares when you tell others that we are complicating things and making things harder. They never experienced the tranquility I did when I was young. I remember when working was a relaxing thing instead of a stressful thing. Boy, I must be getting old.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 06:01 PM
No you are not alone...

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 06:12 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

I think your existential depression is catching for many actually. Obviously with tweaks and slight difference for many. Thing is, there is always something else. Another fleeting distraction as you said - and that's what is fun about it all. Who cares what's right and wrong? What does it matter in the long run? It doesn't - because as you said, we are temporary. Even if you believe we will be reborn, or move on to another plane of existence... this moment, this reality is just that..a moment. A blink of time. Is that scary? Sure. Is that boring? Possibly.
I stopped trying to find the "meaning of life" so to speak, by the time I was 22. (I'm 31 now) I stopped believing in religion when I was 12. I have never, however, stopped learning. Making the most of what this life has to offer me in the short time I have remaining - be it hours or years. I open my own doors, and put wedges in the doors that begin to close behind me. I look at each new idea as something fun to explore. Engulfing new beliefs, as you have, until I have enough information to prove otherwise, or move on to something equally if not more entertaining. A wheel, a never ending pointless trail of information... sure thing. But one thing I know is it doesn't matter what happens next because I had fun with this consciousness. As long as I constantly grow and vow to not hurt myself or those around me, I'm good. Whether there be a heaven or hell - a black nothingness - a bright blue flash and tada, I'm a fish.... It doesn't matter.
A favorite quote "If you want to be given everything, give everything up." Whenever I'm bored, I start over...inevitably that comes every 3 or 6 months...or 3 or 6 years. Sometimes a location change, a career change, ..whatever... I create the changes I need in my life to keep myself going.
As you said, a distraction... but that's all life seems to be anyway. Sometimes there is a lull between ideas and exciting changes... but those also, are fleeting. Learning to not let those ruts wash over you is the trick. Hence the reason you have come back here with multiple names and thought processes. Searching for the next big thing. Which, by the way, I agree - this place has changed and grown in a strange way. I actually left ATS entirely for over a year because it was doing nothing for me. Everything on here I could find on MSN or Facebook. And in the process, I found all kinds of other things I never would have learned had I let myself get sucked into the chats and discussions that circle around and never get to the point.
But I digress -
The existential depression you feel is very possibly that "next step". Who knows what you might learn in this new form of thinking. You never know what's around the corner... and this might be your most recent corner.

Hope that made sense - it was disjointed in writing, as I'm at work and kept getting distracted by people

Cheers - and let me know when you find the next fun thing

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 06:29 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer
But its amazing who we are as well.
We are two legged space bugs that crawled out of the celestial goop,who can now see far,and command simple science/frequencies for knowledge/seeing/communications.

In the depths of the known void we humans are the kings.

There are no beasts like us for many thousands of light years in any direction,if anywhere.
Dinosaurs existed for hundreds of millions of years and never worked out how to make a fire,or a bow and arrow.

It took us less than half a million years to build huts,work stone,make fire,wheels,gears,computer chips,space rockets.

We are special.
I try to think about that if I get the blues.

Sure its FUBAR,but we are special FUBAR.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 07:05 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

I love this thread! You are so accurately speaking for all of us here. Speaking from my own existentially troubled place, I ask a question: can your own intellect save the world? Will you live long enough and read enough ATS threads to find the answers to life the universe and everything? Will anything you do add one cubit to your stature? Can you resist the things that engage your own inner animal nature?

I answer no to all of these myself. As it turns out, I am not sure that the Son of God in the Bible knows the answer yet to these questions for himself. As we bleed our way through this heartwarming mess, I don't have an answer for you other than where my threads have ended this very day. Think deeply on this statement:

The very fact that you realize the mess indicates its opposite written in your heart.

I simply hope Poe is somehow right:

P. But to what good end is pain thus rendered possible?

V. All things are either good or bad by comparison. A sufficient analysis will show that pleasure in all cases, is but the contrast of pain. Positive pleasure is a mere idea. To be happy at any one point we must have suffered at the same. Never to suffer would have been never to have been blessed. But it has been shown that, in the inorganic life, pain cannot be; thus the necessity for the organic. The pain of the primitive life of Earth, is the sole basis of the bliss of the ultimate life in Heaven.

If our misery is any indication, the bliss of the world to come must be really nice. Let's hope there is a hope somewhere we can count on. We have not found it here.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 07:51 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

I have an understanding of, and great respect for science as a tool to observe and appreciate the universe around us. I love science, from astronomy to biology, from geology to forensic science. The toolkit that science offers us to make small slivers of sense from the enormity of existence, is the most necessary and vital collection of concepts and modes of thought, ever developed by mankind.

However, I also have faith in God. I do not believe that the Big Bang, and the creation story are mutually exclusive. I believe that it is perfectly possible that the creation saga as it appears in the Bible, appears as it does because the terminology in use when it was first scribed, was not adequate to the level of precision and conceptual advancement that we are used to in this day and age. Compared to those who currently walk the Earth, even the smartest of the mortal scribes who first collated and scribed the genesis story by hand, were probably blithering bumpkins, who believed the night sky to be a solid thing, with diamonds or other sparkling objects lodged in its surface.

They can of had no conception of the true nature of the starlit sky, the fluctuating position and appearance of the moon, comets, and a whole host of other things, including the tectonic changes which Earth went through since it first coalesced out of the dusty accretions around the fledgling Sun. They had no idea that the Earths surface was floating on a sea of molten rock and minerals underneath the crust, nor that there were naturally occurring elements which contained such energy that they were capable of wiping out cities in seconds or less, or covering vast areas in radiation.

And so I have no problem believing that some elements of the Bible are to be taken as allegory. However, to be realistic about faith, while respecting science, and to do both while getting the best from them, requires that one looks at those two things, and uses each for what it is best suited to. Faith is best suited to gaining strength from ones moral convictions, from the love of others, for matters of the heart and soul. Science as a toolkit is best used to tell you when it is time to visit the doctors, or why your car will not start, or why you should not pour high molar acid concentrate down a chrome plated plug hole, and to discover the inner workings of everything from the astronomical to the infinitesimal.

They are scalpels best wielded one at a time, and on entirely different patients!

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 09:15 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

I'm also quite depressed this thanksgiving. I'm a committed humanist and I came very close to violating all my core values.

The whites of my eyes were red with blood lust. Worse than an animal. A small piece of fate got in the way and nothing actually happened. It had nothing to do with free will though. A total crisis fail.

It could have ended differently and I'm glad it didn't, but I can't stop the blood soaked visions from rolling through my mind. They keep coming back.

I hope to regain complete control and change the visions from wicked vengeance to a merciful and peaceful outcome. The struggle is ongoing so I should get back to work on that immediately. Introspection, reading, fasting, tending to children and not saying or writing anything. Much more work to do before I feel whole again.

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 09:47 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

I'm finding life to be increasingly difficult to manage without answers that honestly seem unattainable.

It sounds like you do not want to give up your certainty in this world, a world of fixed right and wrong, clear boundaries and solid laws. Moving to a grey world based on probability rather than the clear black and white of certainty does create a lot of doubt to contend with. A better awareness of where errors may be does help produce a more accurate image.

Do you fear living with uncertainty? Why does the bible have to be fully right or fully wrong? Science is a learning process that helps build confidence in our world, but there is still much learning to go. Science has been having trouble with some political and economic influences lately. Our history is very complex with many interactions, all things do have a place in their own context.

As for the depression, antidepressants are one option if the depression is long term. There are a lot of dark and sad stories around.

One pray that might also help, '..., Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.'

posted on Nov, 28 2014 @ 11:03 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

If you'd like some guidance on discovering the truth of your existence I would highly advise you that ignorance is bliss if you don't wish to experience hell on earth. This is not a pleasant time to be a self-realized individual, it truly isn't.

Trust me when I tell you to try your best to enjoy life as you know it, allow yourself to endulge in distractions and don't worry yourself with stressful or negative thoughts. Enjoy life as much as possible, just know that no matter what you'll be fine, you always have been and you always will be.

Please consider what I am telling you.
edit on 28-11-2014 by EviLCHiMP because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 29 2014 @ 01:06 AM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

it is a big thing when you find out that everything you believed in is BS. Many lose their way.

go outside and hug a tree. Plant some flowers. Get up in the morning and feel the sunrise on your face and connect with a truth that is so invigorating. Stand in a storm and let the rain fall upon you...etc

the depression you feel will fade

posted on Nov, 29 2014 @ 01:38 AM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

Everything that is not absolutely vital is some form of entertainment or another. In that case, how you spend your time, you may see your quest for knowledge as close to vital, as that which may enhance and better your existence in at least some way, physical, intellectual, emotional, creative. My suggestion if you are feeling down at all, is to find another hobby, form of entertainment. You dont have to eliminate your quest for knowledge completely while you embark on a new physical, intellectual, emotional and/or creative adventure. Find something about the world you love, and then in your free time work at achieving it. After accomplishing daily in life that which is vital, why would you attempt to do anything other than that which you enjoy?

posted on Nov, 29 2014 @ 11:31 AM
Why so serious? Lol sorry I had to say that. My opinion on the matter is that nothing should exist in the first place, so the fact that we exist as conscious entities at all is nothing short of astonishing, and existing is better than not existing, so enjoy it while you can. I think your main problem is that you need to find a purpose in everything. You've let go of religion but can't rely on science because it lacks meaning. I couldn't care less about purpose or meaning, I will create meaning and purpose myself. My main issue with consciousness is that 99% of it absolutely irritates me with their ridiculous thought processes. Lol... but at least I can find the humor in that.
edit on 29/11/2014 by ChaoticOrder because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 29 2014 @ 08:48 PM

originally posted by: ChaoticOrder
Why so serious? Lol sorry I had to say that. My opinion on the matter is that nothing should exist in the first place, so the fact that we exist as conscious entities at all is nothing short of astonishing, and existing is better than not existing, so enjoy it while you can. I think your main problem is that you need to find a purpose in everything. You've let go of religion but can't rely on science because it lacks meaning. I couldn't care less about purpose or meaning, I will create meaning and purpose myself. My main issue with consciousness is that 99% of it absolutely irritates me with their ridiculous thought processes. Lol... but at least I can find the humor in that.

Delete all other posts except this one, lock the thread and sticky it. Seriously, perfect advice.

posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 02:14 AM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

Yeah I get you, I too look into everything and I have had my opinions evolve over time and flittered between various world views. I feel like there is a constant war with myself even today at the age of 33.

Science is awesome and I do love it but I think we also have to be a bit careful taking it as an absolute, they have changed their minds on various occasions. But sure I mean they do also produce and have the best most evidence driven outlook on our existence.

I come online now and I'm struggling to find more answers, I have to really dig now to find something new.

I feel at constant odds with the world, I can't really get on with most the people living in it seeing as they are so uninterested in conversing about anything on a deep level. They want to be in their bubble and maybe I envy them.

I was with my ex for 6 years, I showed her everything of interest that I found, yet it didn't sink in for her, non of it... She WANTS to be a sheep.

I think most people do, I used to think they were just uninformed... No, they are negligent because they don't want to face facts. Infact there are people on here that are like this too, even with all the evidence they won't be swayed.

posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 02:52 AM
Yes, the perceived end of the phases.. Sometimes these things are environmental as well as personal.

What do you see happening next? I think we are at a very interesting time in the human story.

posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:29 AM
All very thoughtful and interesting responses, and I am grateful for the interaction. I definitely agree with those of you that see our existence as astounding either way. I feel the humility in expressing to perfect strangers that the idea of wasted thought is profoundly distressing to me. Death to me, equates to wasted thought. Einstein had 76 years worth of qualia to process. We all get to enjoy some large percentage of that by observing his work, data, and his influence in the world around us, but there was so much more to Einstein. We know many personal things about such high profile humans, and yet its very little in comparison to the sum of their entire body of thought. I do take into account the depth of white noise in our heads, or the spaces between actual structured thoughts, but I'm not referring so much to that. Although I would not say such white noise has no value, even if we do not know what it could be.

Like anyone I'm saddened that the entire sum of who we are, every thought we have ever had, every bit of influence we received from those around us, everyone we have ever loved all comes to a close. Our lifetime truly falls short of even a cosmic glimpse, and I can accept that. I've no choice but to accept that, at least based on all that I can observe. It doesn't change the sense of waste for me though. I think that is the part that gets to me. Of course you can write journals, make music, make art, commit some horrible deed to be remembered for a time, but even if you're remembered for 3000 years your legacy too, will one day die long after you have.

For me personally, I'm not sure I care at all about being remembered. I've no desire to leave a legacy, but I am disturbingly upset that my ability to perceive, to ponder, to observe will one day cease. I won't suffer if I cease to be, there is comfort there, but still - I am wasted? When I was young and threw off the Catholic shackles, I dreamt of exploring space as a ghost, or a spirit, or some newer form of consciousness. That it would be my next journey after this one. That is still, even if little more than a futile attempt at dealing with knowledge of my own mortality; a hope.

I can certainly contemplate the idea of existence without meaning, as ChaoticOrder emphasized. In fact I have sometimes found a sense of Nihilism a pretty comfortable old coat. To be honest though, I rather enjoy a sense of meaning. Perhaps it is some self-evolved drug, or a symptom of the human experience. Much like the outcome of my own demise though, I sure hope it is much more. Nature, the cosmos, life itself is stupendously exciting and those of us alive and of sound mind to even contemplate it should be grateful. I would never argue against that. I suppose I have not matured enough to a point where I can accept that I will never ever know what is behind a black hole. I'll never be able to see what if anything is 1000,000,000 light ears away from here. I'll never be able to know when the great Darwinian wheel will separate me from all of those that I love.

To be alive sometimes seems as cruel as it is beautiful, and it certainly is beautiful even with is frustrating limitations.

posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 05:03 PM
a reply to: BS_Slayer

Dear BS_Slayer:

Do take heart. Existential depression never leaves you where it found you.
Remember The famous Socrates quote that said'," An unexamined life is not worth living."

You are not your stuff. You are not your job. You are not what people say about you. You are not your looks, good or bad. You are not your I.Q. You are not your weight. You are not your money. You are not your health. You are not your name. And you are not your Existential depression.

Imagine you are in a very dark room right now (depression) and you have a flashlight in your hand.
This room has an infinite amount of things in it both good and bad. You cannot see the whole room because
You only have your flashlight. Whatever you choose to aim your flashlight on you can see and bring that object closer into your perspective. You will learn to focus more and more on objects that have some meaning to you and that you wish to experience. When you find something in the room that is unattractive or gross or unpleasant you move on and keep on looking for something of interest and some thing you can work with.

You learn to not be impressed with the negative. Yes it is there but you are not focusing on it because there is so many interesting and absolutely spell binding creations to learn from in the room.
Use your flashlight wisely as your battery life in that room is limited.

Best Wishes

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