There is some sort of protocol it appears over in Facebook-land. It is not a formal thing, but to some extent we do have a time limit, or perhaps a word limit in place. Have you ever read any posts in fb that exceed a few pages in length? I don't know how to describe the feel of it, but a kind of rudeness or impropriety lurks around in my brain when reading longish items over in that format. So then, we affirm that there is an unspoken unseemliness to essay length responses to; "What up?".
One of my friends on fb posted something like: "How do you express emotion and feelings without ridicule? A question I've asked for years."
I responded with; "I am not certain that I understand the question. Do you mean #1 "How can emotion be expressed, and one not receive ridicule from others?", or do you mean #2 "How can one express emotion without simultaneously also expressing ridicule?".
He indicated that the former was at issue, and I asked for an example. He sent back; "Oh wait, here is one, a depressed person says they want to die and wish it would all just stop. The responding person basically calls the hurt person a baby, or a bitch, or some genital reference that essentially means weak or useless".
I responded that I would mull it over some, and send back later a response if I could think of one. The problem is that the response appears to require an essay for length and breadth, and so it would be an unseemly entry indeed over in the fb universe. So then, I deem that this particular C.P.E. shall function today as an annex to that other part of the cyber-universe. So there!
There are at least two issues which crop up right away in my brainstem when thinking along the lines of why-so, of how-come people express hostility, or ridicule or disbelief when a person expresses emotion.
But before we go there, the disclaimer here is that my basic "take" on emotion and or weakness (when detected in myself at least) has historically been to symbolically or spiritually shoot it in the head. For years (well actually, for decades), I was the world's worst emotional guy, and did not even try to get any good at being emotional, or expressing feel.
It just was never on my "to do list".
Furthermore, I find it not a little revolting to have certain (un-named) slobs grousing about "transparency". It makes me want to puke, for the simple reason that such is manifestly NOT transparent in the least! To say; "I struggle against desires to destroy myself and everything else", may turn out to be "transparent" (I don't care if it is, or not), but to agitate for mere "transparency" instead is very clearly a manipulative hiding, an hypocritical "saying but not doing" kind of thing in my book.
And also, that much being said, the exact reverse is also true! I have often used "the sense of" or "the aroma of" things, in order to describe. In practice, I use feel all of the time, but only very very rarely, is same employed to mean "feeling about myself". Is all this quite clear for you? "Clear as mud", you say? Very well then, let us move on!
Well, I am glad at any rate that the topic did arise, because I have been trying for days to cobble together a weird C.P.E., somewhat along these lines and was just stuck. I had gone off into a mental cul-de-sac. It was something all about language usage, and specialized expert patterns which we employ, and I could not figure out how to get back to the main idea; which is clearly depression!
Part of that not written essay of the crazy pants flavor was to assault our normal Christian usage of the word. For example, our church right now is featuring a six week class on "depression". I don't think I will attend. And one of the main reasons is one of the two items that I intend to discuss below. In brief, it is that there is a very valuable truth to be had in being "down".
Whether the person who is depressed is myself or another, two things come to the surface fairly quickly, but this first one is a "keeper".
So, the first thing which we notice right off is the one which my friend mentions. There is a harshness, a "shut your face" kind of drill which I employ upon myself when I am down. And in my opinion, we normally deploy same toward others also. The philosophical problem at stake here is that the depressed one is uttering a universal condemnation.
In myself, it usually sounds something like; "It just doesn't matter what I do, nothing really matters anyhow. I am just tired of being exhausted and doing pointless things for people whom I don't like". Very badly, we want off of the merry-go-round-from-hell which has no meaning. The entire exercise if futile and destructive, if it is built upon a lie, and satisfies nobody, why keep doing it?
But, that assessment itself is also a lie, in that the sound of it is "as-if" I personally have conducted a thorough and exhaustive search. As-if I have inspected all facts, all options and all history and have thus deduced that there is no meaning available, and thus any efforts to make sense of things is technically a waste of time. But clearly, clearly, no such search was ever conducted. My assertion is false. Now it may remain true in any case that no hope of meaning exists, but my claim to have done the search is obviously an empty one. So then, I think that our usual response number one is to simply shut down depression as a logical falacy, based upon a presumed (and flawed) position.
It certainly is understandable, and of course, this strategy never works! It is our human standard operating practice and as such, makes a bad situation . . . worse!
One of the reasons that it never works is that if one is thereby challenged to produce some inherently meaningful aspect of things either at large, or in particular, the answers come back uniformly "flat or shallow". If ones' heart is in the process of falling to pieces, such "medicine" simply inflames the sore. "Cheer-up" is tremendously depressing to hear!
The sounds of this sort of approach are more or less; "Well, there is your family to consider, what about them? And don't forget, you are young, your whole life is before you". This attempt to minimize the sorrow and grief over what a mess I have made of things, only serves to point out that in addition to a general and particular meaninglessness at large, I am also an ungrateful jerk to boot?
Generally speaking then, to try to cheer up a depressed person usually just starts another fight. True enough, that fighting might itself help pull someone temporarily "out" of the dark, but it is also a huge giveaway that there is something we are just not discussing here.
I remain quite firm in my belief that "negativity" is itself not necessarily a negative thing. If you were dealing with a lifelong drunkard who also loved laughing gas, who was hooked on adrenaline rushes, and pushing black pepper up his nose so to convulsively sneeze; if such a person, was always and always seeking to find a distraction, a buzz, a fury (an anything at all!), and he suddenly woke up one day without the buzz, without the clutter and the busy-ness which he always and always uses to "not see something", if that person wakes up depressed, I am all for it! Pardon the run-on sentence while you are at it!
For once, for a twenty minute spell amid a months long jag of "substances"; for 1200 seconds; the man can see? Who in their right mind could be "against" that? Sure, what he sees is "dark and depressing" so what? It is real, and I (for one) say; that makes all the difference! For a few minutes I can actually see that my usual chemical bombs of nicotine, caffeine and sugar only cause me to talk too much. They are no "cure" at all for hopelessness. For less than a half hour, I am actually able to notice that my shuck and jive, my tap-dancing with words to amuse others (whom I do not like) is indeed a hollow and useless thing which only adds testimony against me, besides irritating them? This is a keeper!
That is; the truth of depression is that I ought feel this way at least occasionally. Down is but the opposite end of up, and neither can answer the basic question involved. My strategies to cope-by are (let's face it) junk, and can do nobody (including myself) any real good. To see them as empty is to see them as they are! And this is the entirely valid point of depression which we get right. Keeper!
There is no "cure", no chipper and invigorating "up" message can even begin to make a dent here. Such "up-talk" only makes things worse. Depression is about what is true in us. We really and truly are are vapid, and mean. We actually do blunder by endorsing nonsense, in my case nearly all the time! Depression sees this in us, and says; "There is no hope". And considered strictly from "in here" we are right to so say!
Our problem with dealing with this sort of assessment, is that it is both true, and simultaneously insufficient. That is, our grasp of truth means that we hang onto it (we must!), but we rather tend to forget that this very same grasp of the true is built upon a fragment or section of the stuff, never the entirety thereof.
So; "for the depressed person to to say that they want to die and wish that it would all just stop", as my friend mentions, the correct response is a kind of "two-fer". In the first place, you are seeing entirely correctly to so adjudge things, and so, ought be commended for your deep sanity. Alternately, you ought be informed of something, and is a "something in your face" which remains quite odd once we notice it.
In short; if meaning did not mean anything, if significance was just a pointless blip of static on a statistical screen of noise, then for us to "miss it" would be deeply irrational indeed. But it remains entirely rational! What then?
If we attempted to deal with air in a similar fashion to the way we do with meaning, we might wonder at it more. "Air, is simply an evolutionary hiccup which our ancestors (foolishly) believed kept them alive. In fact, a paternalist bias informs here, and we all need to get over our 'airist' bias and prejudices". Newsflash, in order to destroy air in this fashion . . . requires air!
We cannot "get over" the premise that life was to have meant something, nor can we abide the premise that we ourselves do not need meaning, for the excelllent reason that such surmising would (itself) "mean something"! We smuggle in meaning in order to rid ourselves of it? We require air in order to say we need none of it? What madness is this? This; "in your face" we often do not notice at all!
Alone and unaided, all that we can say is that we need hope, and cannot find it. All that we can deduce is that life was to have been otherwise than it presently is, but how to repair or rebuild this obvious flaw is beyond our ability to say or do. Focus here because this (in itself), is more valuable than a mountain of solid gold. And also it remains true that we usually just thoughtlessly toss it aside. This "is us"!
So then, getting back to the fb post for a moment, the reason that feeling and emotion is met with hostility, is that it must! Our desire to just quit this world of misery, lies, pretending and stupid futility is honest enough, but it can never be the whole picture. To embrace sorrow as a friend, to grasp ahold of, and welcome the grief which so haunts our steps is a kind of walking "which makes no sense" to us. How could it?
A kind of individualist and then a collectivist suicide is what we "must" build provided that we see no further than "the me". If I know nothing at all in this world of folly, I yet know this! Philosophy will carry us this far, and it is never far enough, not by a long shot!
There is a great line in "Til We Have Faces", the 'god' says; "You must die . . . before you die".
Back at the trainwreck of Eden, we were sort of turned "inside-up", our sense of color became a mathematical error so to speak, our hold on the true became a death grip, and never any more the exchange of a friendly handshake. It was along those lines I think which we went off the rails. We as creatures, became wildly distorted, and as such (now) must see ourselves "at the center". But, at that "center" there is only a hole in the ground awaiting . . . me! We became crazy gamblers who have-to (now) "let it all ride" upon the flimsy and absurd premise that we can (and ought!) be "something special".
We see, and are not seeing correctly. We hear, and only listen for certain parts. We are wrecked by the damage, and also must continue assembling the parts for the big collapse. This "is us". We kind of "vaguely recall" that life wasn't supposed to have been this way, and for the life of me I cannot say how it was to have been!
So, we complain.
Nobody likes complainers, and nobody enjoys being around "needy" people. At minimum, I don't! But what other option is there for us if we remain alone and unaided? If my friend who makes no bones about his rejection of Messiah complains; I suppose that I can "understand" to some degree the issues involved. But I cannot fix either the world, nor him nor me. In a sense then, we conclude the matter with hunger.
Food is like air, we cannot get along without it. Hope is like food. We cannot last without it indefinitely. All that we can safely say then is that we require the stuff, and cannot locate it by our own selves.
A kind of "inversion" of things then would "predict" (after the fact?) that it is Hope which locates me! There is precisely nothing in me which Hope could find "worthwhile or meaningful". There is zero aspects of my life, doings or intentions which would, or could ever "recommend me" to the Captain of Hope. This much is certain. This is our emotional reality, and also, the reality is that I do indeed have hope! Something new has entered the world.
The center has been relocated outside of "the me", and I wasn't the one who did it! He Himself becomes a kind of "food", which like the waybread of the elves ain't much to look at, but yet has marvelous staying power!
It was in the saying, and in the telling Him precisely what I thought of His idiotic little dump called "reality", it was in my expressing rage at Him, that I found something unexpected. The gift is life! But, I didn't want that; I wanted truth and meaning! Uh, those are tossed into the deal gratis, deal with it.
We have to find our "bottom", we must locate the ground in which we shall one day be buried, and stand just there, shouting our wrongminded hatred of all things. Say what is in you, it is ugly . . . and true!
I did not "find" God, He arrested me! I did not "choose Jesus", He mopped the floor with me! To speak of "the me, 'making' Him Lord" is just more hopelessly stupid blather.
He is the Maker whether we like it or not, but if we like it, there are benefits undreamt involved. Our truth takes us to the edge, His truth takes us to life, to death, and then to life again.
It is either that, or complain, to grind the teeth and to rant at the darkness. but of our own selves we (privately) prefer the darkness. That "is us"!
Hope is built here, we are not, have never been and shall never be; of our own selves. The True Self has seen to that! And so, with hope anew comes desire anew. It would shock the pants off of my dear old Mom that I (nowadays) actually enjoy asparagus!
With The Captain comes a new "want-to". Long live the King! Our hope dwells in Him.