In a message dated 7/16/00 2:46:51 AM Central Daylight Time,
> It is my opinion that depression never killed anybody. In general,
> suicide is the treatment of choice for those who are afraid to
> openly express intense rage and whose self-pity motivates a
> desire to inflict the punishment of guilt on selected survivors.
Robert, I have to disagree with you in the strongest possible terms. Perhaps
it is the unhappy fate of one attracted to extremely creative people to have
done so, but I have experienced manic depression in more than a few of the
people I've been very close to in my life. I have seen depression kill as
surely as cancer. And I can attest from close personal experience that those
deaths had a biochemical cause just as surely as the ones that were caused by
cancer. To say that people suffering from clinical depression commit suicide
because they are "afraid to openly express rage" and that they are "motivated
by self pity", etc., is like saying that a quadriplegic with a severed spinal
chord can't walk because she is crippled: True, so far as it goes, but hardly
helpful in any sense of scientific medicine.
> While clinical depression can be the result of a variety of initial
> conditions, both Freud and Jung at least in this area agreed --
> Freud called it "regression in the service of the ego" and Jung,
> in his esoteric way, called it "negredo" or "decensus" -- the
> "Dark Night of the Soul" sort of thing.
Michael's description of Freud and Jung as "matching period poets, of seminal
artistry, but hardly the final word on any matter," couldn't have said it
better. I read a little Freud and a LOT of Jung many years ago and, while I
can attest that there is much of value in the latter especially, and
especially for the artist, the idea of citing them as authority for any
proposition of scientific psychology in the last third of the 20th century
(much less in the 21st) seems absurd to me. To me, that would be like citing
Ptolemy on a question of astrophysics or Paracelsus on a question of
chemistry - of keen interest to historians, but little else.
> At any rate, we may suppose that at least some exogenous
> depressions are a phase in a process of psychic reconstruction.
We "may" also suppose that they are caused by demon possession. We could
also construct a complex and "complete" theory of psychology on the basis of
that supposition. However, using the tools we now have at our disposal to
study the action of the mind and brain, it seems much more correct to
conclude that a disease process in some individuals can progress to the point
that descriptions of things like depression solely in terms of the "software"
of the mind can't lead to an actual therapeutic result. In some individuals,
the hardware is so badly out of whack that the ability of purely cognitive
activity to bring about "psychic reconstruction" is fatally impaired.
Greg Burch <GBurch1@aol.com>----<email@example.com>
Attorney ::: Vice President, Extropy Institute ::: Wilderness Guide
http://users.aol.com/gburch1 -or- http://members.aol.com/gburch1
ICQ # 61112550
"We never stop investigating. We are never satisfied that we know
enough to get by. Every question we answer leads on to another
question. This has become the greatest survival trick of our species."
-- Desmond Morris
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