Despair: the ultimate luxury

Despair: the ultimate luxury

Who would have thought that a psychologist working with human suffering every day, would call despair a 'luxury'. And yet I do. Giving into despair is all about taking the path of least resistance; not having to try any more. What is easiest is to despair, and die, to 'give up'. It requires an absence of being and no energy. I am brought to thinking of my favourite poet's position on this malaise of melancholy: 'Do not go gently into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light' - Dylan Thomas.

Wellness, happiness, even 'being OK' involves the making of a promise to yourself and the world. A commitment. This is a scary thing to do. For those of us who are recovering from depression and despair it means letting go of a previously met agreement to allow suffering to wash over and through you - that attractive pull of wallowing in the despair of giving up struggle. Surrendering to the despair of melancholy, to depression, is exactly like surrendering to a foreign enemy. Not fighting anymore.

In the current world, we have replaced many of our emotions with fear. Therefore only a few succeed in being courageous, as this is by current standards a VERY hard thing to do indeed. For people to realize their dreams even though they are terrified of things not panning out according to plan, involves ultimate courage; and then there is the risk of hoping for something so whole heartedly only to be shattered if it doesn't happen. Thus, in contrast to the courageous man or woman, so few these days, the rest of us are cowards. Indeed, if we all realized our dreams I would be out of business! If we were to be courageous, to give a shit about our existence and realize its true majesty and playfulness of freedom to choose what ever we wanted to be: we would become in an instant super-human. At the very least we would 'risk' happiness and dare to dream, which is the only necessary ingredient in becoming successful at whatever we pursue.

Conversely, at the totally opposite end of the spectrum, true depression, giving up, suicidality, has always been luxuriant. Basically put: you join forces with the despair, that feeling that washes over and through you, and rather than raging 'against the dying of the light' you opt for something darker, something luxuriantly easier. You join forces with the despair, just like supporting a fierce bully against a wounded child and through coalition you find some sort of sordid protection and affiliation. A place to be where you are not threatened by hope any longer. You no longer need to maintain the courage of your own convictions. Just keep your head down, nod and agree, and you will be alright. You betray yourself and pretend this precious gift of existence and life is rubbish. You do this so you can't be hurt anymore. Alas -you have failed the ultimate test in life. That being: in order to live you must want to live, you must commit to the contract of 'being' even if at times it is inconvenient, hard and painful.

Newton's laws of thermodynamics states that: there is a law of entropy, that decaying trend of things where ordered systems of energy deplete and erode and chaos becomes the ruling order of the day. We can apply this to the tendency of human beings to become depressed, to surrender to despair, to abandon all hope. Wellness and health, hope and happiness requires energy. It is a state of conditions that requires the input of energy, of love and compassion and caring to maintain it. It does not come freely or cheaply. Wellness and happiness and 'being OK' must be earned.

If I may refer to Lynne McTaggart's work 'The Field': "Scientists did allow for the universal connectedness of the universe, but only in the quantum world: which was to say, in the realm of the inanimate and not the living. Quantum physicists had discovered a strange property in the subatomic world called 'nonlocality'. This refers to the ability of a quantum entity such as an individual electron to influence another quantum particle instantaneously over any distance despite there being no exchange of force or energy. It suggested that quantum particles once in contact retain a connection even when separated, so that the action of one will always influence the other, no matter how far they get separated. Albert Einstein disparaged at this 'spooky action at a distance', and it was one of the major reasons he so distrusted quantum mechanics, but it has been decisively verified by a number of physicists since 1982 (it has also become the reason why traveling beyond the speed of light is actually possible)....Subatomic particles had no meaning as isolated entities but could only be understood in their relationships. The world at its most basic, existed as a complex web of interdependent relationships, forever indivisible. Furthermore the act of observation would change the behaviour of a subatomic particle, where it would become a set state, akin to solidifying jelly. So a relationship existed between observer and observed.'

Perhaps this phenomenon of quantum physics is occurring right now as I am writing and as you are reading these words. Perhaps we are solidifying a thought into a very way of being, and that ever since this time we will be in relationship, that the idea of wallowing in despair will cause you to reflect upon such a choice, and, rather, choose to live, and hope, and create energy by an act of will instead. To invest in hope, to be courageous regardless of the risk involved, and to pursue your dreams as you see fit.

Ben Bruce




No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *