evolutionary advantages to apparent repro disadvantages

From: Spike Jones (spike66@ibm.net)
Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 21:57:21 MST

you wrote: Hey Spike, are you OK?

Um, no. I have Seasonal Affected Depression. This may explain
the nature of my posts in the past couple weeks. What a thing to
enter into the electronic public record for all eternity, eh? This
particular episode was more severe than most but mercifully short.
But the sun came out today.

Nowthen, I started a thread, coincidentally last winter, suggesting an
advantage to a population of the individuals within it suffering from
depression, which would seem like a reproductive disadvantage to
the sufferer. I have with a couple of new ideas.

When one is depressed, one takes apart ones internal software,
examines every piece. The deepest introspection occurs during these
periods, and perhaps no other time. My most creative periods are
in these dark times. It is easy to imagine that the inventions that
the key earliest ones in mankind's development were derived by
a sufferer of depression, thereby giving a survival advantage
to his clan. I am told it does not work this way, but it sure makes
sense to me that it should.

Can we not imagine a cold hungry shivering group huddled in
a cave, where one severely introspective member suddenly
visualizes a stone chimney, with hoarded wood burning therein;
with stored grain and domestic animals providing nutrition
throughout the long cold dark months, obviating the dangerous
winter hunt? Why not?

My best ideas come from these yearly introspective times. This
month I dreamed up a new mathematical proof involving
Mersenne primes. I wrote a song. My extropian posts, while
not works of brilliance, were a bit out of the ordinary. On the other
hand I wept over a silly television show (Thursday's ER, where they
killed Lucy Knight). This is what I did that night instead of the
monthly nanoschmooze with Chris Peterson and Eric Drexler, which
I missed because I was practically paralysed with grief which
came from nowhere, even before the show. I missed my
grandfather. Hmmm, another one of those wonderful little items to
enter forever into the unforgetting internet.

Normally I avoid making decisions during these periods;
this time I made two. I bought a bicycle and quit my job.
Fortunately, I have a good reputation as a problem solver,
and had another better job the same day. And I like the bike.

There are medications available to prevent these yearly episodes,
but I do not really want to prevent them. This is what make me
who I am. They normally last only a couple weeks, and sometimes
leave me with ideas that carry me through the year. They provide
me with contrast, for if I have not sorrow, how can I know that I am
happy the rest of the time?

Motivations: summer is comfortable. Comfortable people do
not accomplish much, do not question, are not interesting in
changing anything. Why should they? What is the motive, if one is
comfortable and happy? But it sharpens ones perceptions when
ones back is against the wall. The sun came out today. spike

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