Recently I have been suffering from another bout of anxiety. Fearing things could fall apart in my life I had to try and contain them fast, which exacerbates the situation further. The thoughts about how to contain my anxiety brought about a thought in me, a thought that is not new or special in any way but is one of those thoughts that you feel their reality at certain times in your life. I started wondering if having more choices, and the ability to make major decisions in one’s life is a root for anxiety and stress. And the thought took me down a spiral of different thoughts. I have so many questions and so here I wish to share them.
I was wondering if in feudal Europe, for example, people suffered from anxiety and depression as we do. To be honest, many thoughts during my anxiety sessions are about how things are bound to go wrong, and how my life will end up the opposite of my dreams. Thus I wonder, what if I was a peasant girl who had not much choice over job, marriage, place of living etc. Would I have anxiety or depression in the manner I struggle with today? Or would I accept my life as a given and labor away?
The second thought is complementary to the previous one. I ask my self if knowledge is beneficent to humans? By knowledge I do not mean hard sciences, but rather knowledge that is gained in the fields of humanities, social sciences and such. But I need to illustrate my thought with an example. Imagine me as a girl living in modern times in a big city; making a life is difficult and there is not much security, no safety net to catch me if I fall. The society keeps expecting me to be hardworking, to be outgoing and to be active. I am told that a successful person works hard, and does extra fulfilling activities in their spare time. As a result I am pretty burnt out about my situation. In other words, neoliberalism has left me very frustrated. But in what way does the knowledge of my desperation being the result of neoliberalism helps me as a person? Not only am I frustrated with life, the knowledge leaves me bitter, disillusioned, and depressed.
I know that this knowledge is supposed to help us understand our world and correct it, but seeing that neoliberal-capitalism is only starting to maybe dwindle as a result of the unstable situation it created itself I am left to ask if such knowledge benefited us other than adding to the anxieties of our time.
Reading articles about the malaise of our times again and again it strikes me how dystopian our world sounds; no wonder post-apocalyptic genres are so successful and popular these days. But then the question that comes to my mind is that in the larger scale of history, how do our time fare? Maybe we are feeling this way since we can only understand our own experience of the world. Has human experience changed? Are we feeling more anxiety and pain that the people of the past and maybe even future? And more importantly, does our dystopian understanding (dysunderstanding ) of our world adding to the depression and anxiety?
I have yet to fully recover from this round of anxiety; maybe if I felt better these paragraphs would lose meaning. For now I find it worth contemplating: the state of the mind of the humans of our times is intriguing. Of course there are so many different types of humans, under different systems of thought with different understanding of the world. My anxious mind might be one in a small over-spoiled crowd. Mayhap it’s ironic to even ask these questions; sometimes I wonder if the pursuit for an answer is a valid step. Or maybe again these are the workings of my brain being out of balance at the moment.