Re: Unhappiness (Was Extropian ...)

Scott Badger (
Wed, 14 Oct 1998 00:01:53 -0500

>> Scott Badger wrote: More severe levels of depression have been shown to
>> actually disrupt
>> and distort normal cognitive processes, sapping mental energy. I'm
>> surprised Spike had the energy to deeply investigate...
>scott, i certainly agree that an episode of depression saps ones mental
>energy. during my investigation, that was the *only* thing i could
>do. i was in a physics seminar, watching a video tape of carl sagan's
>excellent "cosmos" series. i was enjoying the show, life was good,
>etc, then suddenly: that short blurb about evolution. it may serve as
>a sad commentary on the condition of the u.s. education system that i
>to go thru 14 years of it, including 2 biology classes, and had *never*
>heard, there or elsewhere, a decent explanation of the theory of
>evolution. sagans five minute presentation hit me like a bolt of lightning
>on a clear day.
>ignoring my engineering studies, i immersed myself in the task of
>the idea. i made a poor showing on the finals two weeks later, but the
>real problem started the next quarter. i was so focussed on that issue,
>i found myself unable to study, unable to maintain normal human relations,
>unable do *one damn thing* other than investigate evolution and it

I would never ever presume to tell you what you were feeling, but what you describe sounds on the surface more like obsessive-compulsive behavior connected to some variant of an existential crisis. Depressed people are rarely as driven as you describe yourself to have been. They believe things are pretty hopeless and see themselves as helpless to effect any change. You, on the other hand, saw yourself as an agent of change. Your actions were responsible for your own evolutionary development. Way to go! Don't want to belabor the point, it just didn't sound like clinical depression the way you described it.

I, for one, do appreciate you sharing such a personal and clearly distressing
episode from your life. The Darwinian "Aha" experience for me was more drawn out and therefore less traumatic.

Ciao for now,