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Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Hibernation, Migration, Prozac, or.. What?

> Returned to US last week. Noticed you sound down.

Heh -- Blue Shield [coincidentally] sent out a little pamphlet with a checklist for severe depression and, check-list boy that I am, I match every criterion to a T from this list for which "any one" would suffice.

Which, ironically, cheers me up a bit, because here I thought I was just getting old. It gives me hope that with better circumstance, I will emerge from hibernation and be alive again.

I for one don't buy the adage that it all comes from within. It is a good path to selling Prozac, just as fat-free diet rhetoric is a good path to selling weight loss products, but where is the basis for it?

People, that I have seen, fall into depression for reasons of circumstance. It is your body's response to a world in which your efforts are fruitless, and so your body says: stop wasting the effort! It is the human form of hibernation, to tuck us in for the long, cold winter when there is little to hunt or forage.

And normally such circumstance changes with the seasons, or with locale, and in the former case all we have to do is wait and eventually a cute, fluffy rabbit will go bounding past the entrance to our cave and we think "mmmm, rabbit!" and go running out after it, and next thing you know we're back in our routine of chasing animals smaller than us, being chased by animals larger than us, and generally having a good time.

But our modern lives are pretty immune to seasons, which leaves the urge to change locale, to migrate to a region where hunting is better. Unfortunately, our modern lives are pretty immune to locale too, the world having become so homogeneous as it is.

Still, these are the two overwhelming urges I find in myself--to curl up into a ball and wait for the seasons to turn (clearly a bad strategy now days), or to just leave and look for greener pastures.

Now I just need to figure out what the modern equivalent of migration is. Opportunity is not so location dependent as it once was... so the question is: What changes are most likely to bring new opportunities?

And what is opportunity? The antithesis of the above -- a place where my efforts would bear fruit, where they would produce something of value to me, something which sates my hunger, for good food, for greater knowledge and understanding, for human touch (damned genetics!), for visceral experience, for beauty... And first and foremost my hunger for hunger, because my desire itself has atrophied, remaining only as an academic shadow of what I know I need rather than as a need felt. The starvation burns in my stomach, but the desire to eat is gone because, quite simply, my body has realized there is nothing to eat.

So, what needs to change? Where would my efforts bear fruit?

I think I'll post this as a journal entry since that's what it has become.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com