For most of us, the world is where we live — yet, the fact is it is sometimes beyond our comprehension, especially when we are “under the weather.” Depression affects each of us, sometime, or the other — the difference being of degree. When extreme depression gets the better of us, we get into a rut — the world suddenly becomes hazy and our experience with it becomes murky. Worse still, we may isolate ourselves and not feel its existence. We reach the dark upland, where we do not realise all that we can comprehend. This isn’t all — we are not as logically receptive, as we usually are, when we are bogged down by the melancholy of a depressive state.
When this happens, there is nothing but misery — the creepy writing on the wall, as it were. Not every depressed individual would grasp such a distressing script on the canvas — more so, when one dozes off to sleep while reading the morning newspaper, what with its plethora of front-page scandals and indignities. Not that one is aloof to moral values, or ethics — the thing is the disheartened individual would not give a damn, or room, to values at all, because the whole idea of good or bad does not make sense to them, thanks to their cloudy mirage of thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and the like.
You’d refer to such a sombre thought process of the gloomy individual as lacking harmony, not the sonar ability that bats use with amazing acuity, or computerised precision. As philosopher Thomas Nagel observes, “Even if I could by gradual degrees be transformed into a bat, nothing in my present constitution enables me to imagine what the experiences of such a future stage of myself, thus, metamorphosed would be like.” This impels him to also contend that, “There are facts that do not consist in the truth of propositions expressible in the human language.” Yet, the point is the sonar allegory is representative of data, not just the source of data, because we are all endowed with facts that exist and we know reasonably well as to how they work — whether one is in synchrony with oneself, or dejected.
It may be suggested that our incapacity to experience the sonar element has nothing to do with philosophy. It is a strange, if not mysterious, entity that connects to what we are, just as what we are — not someone else. The equation is simple; also profound. The moment we know what the “self” in us is there is no enigma about it anymore. It is as unpretentious as recognising a chair as a chair, not table — this is what that seamlessly happens when the psychiatrist unbolts the shackles of depression in the individual and puts them back on the road to harmony, balance and wellness.
All our physical, emotional, mental and intellectual faculties would be nothing when we are “ambushed,” or are bereft, of our language, metaphors, art, science, and so on. Yet, we can prevail, because we are blessed with a natural, divine ability to explore our mind, in health and illness. Besides, we are gifted with the facility to use logic and other intuitive insights — with remarkable effect and outcomes. There is no need for us to understand such gifts — because, they provide us with all the answers we may be looking out for. Would you need to know how a computer works, from the inside out, to make use of it? Not at all. This takes us to the peerless wisdom of Socrates’ philosophy — the divine rule, or principle, that propels us all with life’s integral prudence.
(The writer is a wellness physician, independent researcher and author)