evolutionary significance of emotions !!

John H. johnhkm at netsprintXXXX.net.au
Wed Mar 8 13:57:10 EST 2000

sisial <sisial at email.msn.com> wrote in message
news:eP8TCfTi$GA.254 at cpmsnbbsa05...
> In chronic depression focus tends to be on external conditions; the effect
> of environment on self (i.e. self-pity). So, it seems natural that you
> attribute the cause of depression to those conditions. I must point out,
> however, that depression was your response to the environment. Why did you
> respond to the problems through depression rather than by modifying your
> behavior to fit as do the norm?

You're assuming I had a choice. What you are providing is good advice but
you lack the necessary knowledge of my background to fully understand why I
choose this course. Consider the possibility that there is little I can do
about my social situation. For many years I led a very active social life
and to this day have many friends here and there, but after so many years of
fighting prejudice (ie, lack of job opportunities because of the way I look,
some medical conditions which limit my prospects) I have become extremely
tired with being denied a fair go. I used to think I had something
constructive to offer this society, these days however I'm just flat out
surviving. This is not whingeing, it is simply the truth.

> Highly creative individuals tend to be restless, and have a strong drive
> find relief through creative problem solving. Perhaps this might lead such
> individuals to actively seek problems? Highly creative individuals also
> to display a fascination with contradiction, disorder, and imbalance.
> Perhaps this trait biases the individuals perceptions of a problem? An
> example of these traits in action might be seen in the ingrained
> contrariness common in highly creative individuals. Perhaps, by placing
> themselves in conflict with their environment they ensure an abundance of
> stimulation?

I certainly go for contradictions, been fascinated with them all my life and
have been consistently  able to uncover what I see to be glaring
contradictions in many arguments; hence creating many more arguments along
the way. Even in school I would not study the "standard stuff" but go
straight to the problems and then work down. Much more fun, provides much
more intellectual freedom, but bad for the grades (at least in school!). I'm
wondering though if you have put the cart before the horse. I do not place
myself in conflict with environment, my environment brings conflicts to me.

> I am not familiar with studies regarding chronic depression and
> The focus of my posts has been on severe depression. In cases of severe
> depression self-reproach is more common than self-pity. That is,
> suffering from severe depression may tend to focus more on internal
> conditions than on external conditions. Perfectionist tendencies seen in
> many highly creative individuals may result in the development of internal
> criticisms and conflicts much along the same lines as those you sense from
> the world around you.

Yes I sense these, but please do not presuppose that these criticisms and
conflicts do not exist.
I'm far from being a perfectionist also, if anything I'm great at starting
things but lousy at finishing them.

> Depression seems simply an extreme response to a problem. And, creativity
> simply a method of problem solving. Nothing in this suggests that
> necessarily leads to depression; or that depression necessarily leads to
> creativity. However, it seems unlikely that the two do not interact.

Depression is lots of things, including your observation above. I am not
prepared to explain it through one casual mechanism. I wish I could! Like
yourself, I'm still trying to understand this.

> Further, the strong similarities between the symptoms of depression and
> behaviors normally observed during the incubation stages of the creative
> process should not be ignored. Many (not all) cases of depression may
> be extremes of the incubation process and may play an important role in
> development of the individual. (Dabrowski's Theory of Positive
> Disintegration suggests something similar).

No, I think the creativity that arises out of depression requires more than
just depression. It may be an important causal factor but it is not the only
one. Good intelligence, a predilection to attacking contradictions, a
refusal to accept easy answers, these also seem necessary. I certainly agree
though that depression can spur the creative impulse. I have just finished
reading Anthony Storr's "Feet of Clay" about gurus of all varieties. Many if
not most gurus went through some terrible psychic ordeal (creative illness?)
and came out the other side filled with absolute confidence about their
vision. Sometimes I wish had that confidence! Then again I have no vision!

> "Etaoin Shrdlu" <cooper17.spamless at xs4all.nl> wrote in message
> news:8a11p4$9d8$2 at news1.xs4all.nl...

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list