Monday, February 23, 2009

The upside of depressions

I'm not an economist and I've never studied or read much about economic theory, but as someone who perhaps romanticises simplicity and a comfortable measure of ascetism, I can see many positives in a recession/depression. Less advertising, less eating of cancer causing junk food prepared without love and eaten without community or consciousness, less buying of unnecessary gadgets and over sized cars, more time spent with friends and family talking, making music together, more strolls along the beach, more home cooked meals, more of the "simple" (and healthy) pleasures.

(Of course addictions are also set to rise as people, trying to cope with job losses and how to pay the bills and general verwhelm and under resourcedness take refuge in alcohol or cigarettes or pornography or hunting or whatever the escape is)

Not that I'm saying that people should hoard, although it does make sense not to live beyond our means, as we have been doing and have relentlessly encouraging each other to do for the last thirty years (at least!)

Spending money - and I half heard somewhere that economists like Keynes say spending money is the way to make economies grow and presumably to make people prosperous - has lots of positives to it as well: its a letting go, and a living for the present which is admirable. Hoarding savings for some future which may never come, when it could be used to alleviate suffering or increase the opposite of suffering - is that joy? - right here and now, is not a useful value in of itself. So the question is, what could money be well spent on, right here and right now?Either way I hope we don't rush out of this depression too soon, before what we needed to learn has been learnt.

ps. Captain's log supplimental. On Friday 3rd April 2009 / 5769, in the merry month of Nisan, I took an anti-depressant for the first time in my life, half a tablet of Zoloft just before shabat. It certainly had an effect....exhausted I went to bed at 9:30 but work up at 11:30, full of anxiety, and with a funny mushy, slightly slurred blurred feeling in my head. I watched TV til 3:30 in the morning, then went back to sleep til 6:30, when my cell phone alarm - normally set for the week day - went off and woke me up. Again it took me more than an hour to get back to sleep, and I watched a preacher on tv before hiugging the wall back to bed. These symptoms are all in line with those my doctor and wife had told me there would be, so not unexpected but certainly it was yet another long night of the soul. I took another half tab this morning and the slightly post stoned, head and eyes not quite on the end of my neck (slightly higher? slightly lower?) effect has persisted - and persists as I write now. Quite enjoyable overall, and in no way sharp or invasive - very present but much to diffuse, blunt and broad ( a cloud comes to mind) to be painful or threatening.

Here in Australia almost everyone I know who has emigrated in the last two or three or four years seems to be on anti-depressants - perhaps it is something in the air, or the way the life force here is carefully modulated and socialised with a combination of 'tall poppy get back down here' disaproval, over regulation, and ?????? (other factors still to be understood. discovered or articulated)...the dizzyness is getting worse, I feel slightly nauseous and the room and laptop are tilting up slightly...will sign off here

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