evolutionary significance of emotions !!

Etaoin Shrdlu cooper17.spamless at xs4all.nl
Mon Mar 6 06:16:41 EST 2000

In response to the below: as a writer, painter, illustrator, and sculptor
myself, with a high relative IQ and depression problems until I met my
husband, I would like to say that I do not feel that my creativity is a
result of or a cause of the depression; rather, the depression (strong,
chronic, and nearly crippling when I was an adolescent) seems to have come
from having to live in a world in which only a very, very few people were at
all on my wavelength or appreciated my talents as more than a handy way to
eventually make money. I was always surrounded by people who asked why I
wouldn't just do the art other people liked, why I wrote about "weird
stuff", why I wasn't able to sink myself into the rote-learning,
find-a-job-in-a-bank culture I was expected to fit into. Even people who
truly appreciated my art _artistically_ couldn't understand it as a passion,
couldn't understand why I can't "give it up for a good job", and so tended
to treat me as frivolous, obsessed. When I explained that I would rather go
deaf than forget how to draw, people thought I was mad. It seems to me
likely that every exceptionally talented creative person of high
intelligence throughout history would have had to go through something like
this, often under much heavier restrictions/opprobrium than I had to face
(and, true, often under less; I live in the Netherlands now, and had I grown
up here, these things would have been nurtured... but I still wouldn't have
had a large social group or been understood by a great many people). Why
shouldn't this group show a statistical tendency to depression? You try
going home to tell your parents you're going to be a science fiction writer.

> > Where on earth did you get this gem from?  Depression results in people
> not
> > getting enjoyment out of life, not feeling motivated to do things they
> > normally would, sleeping differently to normal (more or less) and
> > of suicide.  At no point in DSM does it say that depressed people are
> > likely to write a symphony!
> Did the people writing the DSM ever bother to look? Psychology amazes me
> that so many always assume a pathology is irrevocably and globally
> to cognitive functions as a whole. Think of idiot savants. What is the
> A bible or something? Please, that's scholasticism to the core.
> There are studies indicating that writers as a group are inclined towards
> dysthmia\depression and I've read enough biographies to know that
> is going on there. When Tschaikovsky wrote his 6th, his best and a
> monumental piece, he was on a train and tears flooded out of him while
> writing it. The 6th is mostly very sad (only 3rd movement rips along). I
> prefer his Serenade for Strings and Italian Capricanno (spelling!) He got
> depressed quite a bit, long story ... .
> Other side: Ludwig Boltzmann, great 19th century physicist, committed
> suicide mid 50's - probably mild manic depressive. Mathematicians, strange
> bunch, obsessive-compulsive leanings? Go ask Godel, brilliant but kooky.
> Paul Erdos, brilliant mathematician, spent last 15-20 years using
> amphetamines, once quoted as saying Coffee + human beings = mathematics.
> Sound healthy? Is that in the DSM?
> Yes, sws is changed during depression, may be related to phase changes in
> cortisol
> levels during sleep. There is no "ideal" brain state for optimal cognitive
> functionality. The great Irish mathematician Hamilton died of alcoholism
> malnutrition in his early 40's and was doing great work until bango dead.
> You won't find that in the DSM.
> John.
> >
> >
> > <snip>
> >
> > > I was referring to seasonal affective disorder, a condition more
> frequent
> > > (?) in North European climates. The inescapable electric shock
> > demonstrates
> > > my point. In the face of danger that cannot be challenged, the best
> > survival
> > > is to hide.
> >
> > What has this got to do with helplessness?  When a rat is given
> > uncontrollable electric shocks, it cannot subsequently learn to make an
> > action which will reduce the probability of a shock.  In what way is
> > adaptive?  Strangely enough, theres more seasonal effective disorder
> > there is less sunlight in the winter months - hence Northern European
> (don't
> > know the stats for Canada - I presume they have the same problem?)
> >
> >
> >
> >

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