Re: Extropy in the personal sphere

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 23 Aug 1997 15:41:18 +0200 (MET DST)

nOn Fri, 22 Aug 1997, Anton Sherwood wrote:

> Anders writes
> : My first, and IMHO most important, step was when I realized that how
> : I felt was entirely up to me. If I felt depressed, I would not try to
> : find a way out of my situation, while if I felt happy and confident I
> : had much better chances of finding a solution to whatever problem I
> : had. So I simply decided to become happy, and have remained that ever
> : since.
> I believe anyone who talks like that
> has no idea what real depression is. :(
> How can I decide to be happy, at a moment
> when I can't remember what happy means?!

Actually, I do have a good idea of what real depression is, although
I have not had the misfortune of experiencing it personally. When I
used the expression "felt depressed" above, I did not mean depressed
in the clinical DSM-IV way, but depressed in the everyday sense
(which is dreadfully common). Anton is of course correct in pointing
out that cognitive tricks like the one I described doesn't work as
well for clinical depression as for normal feelings of depression
(although similar ideas are used quite successfully in cognitive

> I took Prozac during most of 1996. In November, I found that I had
> gained thirty pounds (two stone, for those of you overseas), and
> decided to take my chances with depression rather than continue that
> trend; I stopped taking my pills. And I haven't had a severe attack
> since.

I'm happy to hear that. I think this demonstrates the most important
thing with curing depression: it is a vicious circle, and if you can
get out of it you have a good chance of staying out of it. Whether
the tools of breaking the vicious circle are biochemical or cognitive
doesn't really matter, use whatever works best.

IMHO the debate about drugs vs. psychology is silly; both are ways of
influencing the same complex neurochemical cognitive patterns in our
brains, and I don't subscribe to the idea that drugs or therapies
just cure the symptoms. In the mind feedback often makes symptoms
into causes.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y