Despair: Failing to want to exist.

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Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 08:46 am
jeeprs wrote:

the problem with meditation is that you arent able to do it when you need it most

Or maybe when you least want to sit, it is most helpful for you.

Have a look at this blog entry

I know all about dental traumas too....

and meditation would be good for dental work...going to morrow for yet another root canal and composite fake took with pins and posts and crown for third of fourth try on the same tooth for the past ten years.
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2010 11:50 pm
I sympathize Sal, I too need a dental implant, although the finance committee has placed it bottom on our large list of domestic priorities.....anyway I hope that it goes well and the end-result is good.
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 12:54 am
@Victor Eremita,
I like much about Kierkegard and his writings, but I find myself thinking of despair in its simpler context as an absence of hope. But this is just more quibbling over definitions. The fact is our language is rich and has many words for such sorrowful emotions as are here mentioned, with definitions that are approximate and overlap, while labeling emotions that are far from distinct in nature. Who shall say where despair ends and depression begins when even our psychiatrists and psychologists have conflicted understandings about them?

I have known a number of people who suffer from depression or manic-depression, and even in the same person, the manifestation of the illness can vary considerably. Sometimes one sees self-hate, sometimes emotional numbness, sometimes desolation and despair, sometimes even a visible rage. These feelings can appear quite irrational since the onset of such depressive events are caused more by chemical events within the brain than by reaction to experiences.

Despair is less clinical in definition. We often speak of people feeling despair when they suffer great disappointments in their lives, or when people live in an ongoing condition of grief or hopelessness. We are not here talking about biochemical states of the mind. It is more likely a reaction to experiences.

But is it a proper reaction to experiences? Well, I guess you have to walk a way in those shoes to know the answer to that one.

Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 12:59 am
jeeprs wrote:

Curious that creatures don't ever have this problem. A creature will do anything to keep existing, without having any capacity to wonder what for. A fox will chew its leg off to escape the trap, a salmon will die trying to hurl itself up a waterfall just to spawn. I wonder why this sense of urgency is lost in people?

Because we're smart enough to wonder, "what's the point?"
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 01:21 am
@Victor Eremita,
For me "existence" ="relationship". Thus "despair" = the picture of a "self" rejecting all positive relationship. Such a "self" would lack viability just like a plant lacking the necessities of life.

Three solutions:
(1) suicide
(2) self dissipation (emergence with the "whole" )
(3) being "born again" with a positive relationship to a "God".
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 02:46 am
that is true, of course, and is part of the burden of self-consciousness. I often reflect that if we can combine the natural vitality of the creature with the reflective intelligence of the human, without falling into doubts and perplexities, then we are well on the way towards a balanced life. Although it does take more than that, as well, as unlike creatures, we are conscious of our own mortality.
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 04:48 am
@Victor Eremita,
It was easier for primites because they could see their pain in perspective which we cannot do so long as we conceive of ourselves as individuals... We are not just miserable, but alone, and blind to any hope and suffering but out own...
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 09:44 am
Here are some pictures of despair to maybe bring the idea home to you. The song on the first video is "N'Kosi Sikelele Afrika" the unofficial Afrikan national anthem, an old hymn that sings, "God bless Afrika!" The second video goes beyond Afrika and includes images from the Great Depression , all to a Stephen Collins Foster song, "Hard Times", sung in the style in which it was written by a fine baritone voice. Listen to be sure. But more importantly, watch. Watch until you can watch no more, and you will understand despair.

I'm not really comfortable with the idea of discussing despair in the abstract venue of our philosophy board because the reality of suffering and despair is too harsh and grievous, both in widespread events as herein depicted and in personal experiences such as that to which Salima has alluded.


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