evolutionary significance of emotions !!

Sir Knowitall fell_nospamtrap_in at one.net.au
Tue Mar 14 00:13:30 EST 2000

Yes, depression is -- by a best and most appropriate simple definition -- a
matter of "primary need-fulfillment having been thwarted; IOW an adaptation
or conditioned-in effect of being or having previously as if "lived-through"
some one or more 'stinking' (metaphorically speaking) "Specific (or easily
specifiable) Hibernation-imploring type (life-)situation(s).

Yours truly is a proponent of "anthropocentric, science-aligned,
omniphilosophical conceptualism", as a platform for self- and societal
regulation. My English-purist testing, forever-full-of-flawed-phrases,
philosophical FOOT-print can be viewed via

Etaoin Shrdlu <cooper17.spamless at xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:8aapv4$q9m$2 at news1.xs4all.nl...
> >Why did you
> > respond to the problems through depression rather than by modifying
> your
> > behavior to fit as do the norm?
> It is precisely this question, "Why can't you just act normal?" that I
> have always found so offensive. The idea that curbing my own attitudes
> and behaviors was/is the only way to gain any social acceptance is more
> than depressing, it's infuriating. To actually answer the question, I
> _did_. For years. It just made me less happy, more depressed--I didn't
> want to act like that, to pretend to think like that, to always have to
> remember that talking about zoology is "weird" and talking about shoes
> is "not". Living a sham just so that some people at school would talk to
> me about stuff I didn't care about was not exactly thrilling. I am
> driven to paint, write, and draw, but not little cute bunnies and
> advertising art; not what "people want to see". Why should I whore
> myself away trying to act like everybody else? Because that's the only
> way to get everybody else to accept me? Well, fine, then, it's not worth
> it. If somebody isn't mentally flexible enough to accept me even though
> I don't conform, I don't want anything to do with them either, so I call
> that a fair deal. It was only a huge problem when being young meant the
> system had a right to force me into situations in which not forcing
> myself--rather unsuccessfully--into some artificial mold could even
> result in ongoing physical violence.
> > Highly creative individuals tend to be restless, and have a strong
> drive to
> > find relief through creative problem solving. Perhaps this might lead
> such
> > individuals to actively seek problems?
> Yeah, yeah, that's what teachers and parents and so forth said I was
> doing when I "insisted" on wanting to talk about things that others
> didn't, had interests they didn't, etc. I learned early that not
> actively trying to conform all the time is called "trying to be
> different" and stating opinions significantly different from others' is
> "trying to provoke a response". Not doing exactly what others want me to
> do is "intolerant"--but so is asking them to do what I want! In other
> words, if I don't spend my life just looking for potential problems, and
> if I don't constantly try to modify myself to avoid them, this is called
> "looking for problems". I don't want a life of turmoil because I'm
> creative; I'd much rather have a rational and interesting debate than an
> argument, any time. I would just like this whole idea that conformity is
> normality struck off the lists, actually. If people find my very
> existence provoking, so be it--that doesn't mean I want them provoked.
> It wasn't my idea. There is merit in the idea, in that I've always
> rather enjoyed challenging things like puzzles and hiking through
> complex ecosystems, and I always push myself farther in my art, but I
> would very much prefer smooth interpersonal relations to stormy, and
> have always resented suggestions to the contrary.
> >Highly creative individuals also tend
> > 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 found myself in conflict with my environment. I hated this. I was
> called contrary and everything else you say here; it wasn't true.
> "Contrariness" indeed. I find it far too important to understand the
> world, and even human society, to be "contrary", or any other "let's
> always knee-jerk the same response" attitude, but I don't hold my tongue
> when I think someone's wrong, and thus got labeled "argumentative". "Why
> couldn't you just keep your mouth shut?" "But Mom, he said all green
> snakes are poisonous, and they aren't!" "Well, who cares? There wouldn't
> have been a conflict if you'd kept your mouth shut." "But it wan't
> true!" "Oh, why do you have to be so contrary all the time?"
> > I am not familiar with studies regarding chronic depression and
> creativity.
> > 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,
> individuals
> > suffering from severe depression may tend to focus more on internal
> > conditions than on external conditions.
> Yeah, had that. "It's all my fault nobody likes me; why _can't_ I just
> be like everybody else? What's wrong with me!They're right; it's all my
> fault". It's just not true, though, and I know that now.
> >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.
> Could be... if I feel that I am not able to communicate myself on a
> level which other people are able to understand, I do often feel that
> this could be a failing in myself. In art, I will re-do it until it's
> perfect or I'll throw it away, and that could well be why people who
> don't understand what I'm saying often tell me I'm rather going on... I
> will repeat things with different words until I think the listener has
> the faintest inkling of what I'm saying, and it took me years to figure
> out why this upsets people: it's because they actually don't care what
> I'm trying to say. Understanding the basic gist or gloss is enough for
> them, and they don't understand why I feel something has not been
> accomplished. So yes, once it becomes clear that this is happening I do
> conform, like you recommend, and for the sake of calm I don't bother
> trying to make myself understood. But of course, I wouldn't have been
> talking in the first place if it wasn't at least to some degree
> important to me, so here we have yet another case of me sublimating
> myself to the other's personality, which is the behavior I have always
> been taught is called "acting normal". Thank goodness I have a few
> friends now who do think language is for more than simple "organism
> here; organism there?" communication!
> > Depression seems simply an extreme response to a problem.
> Sure.
> >And, creativity is
> > simply a method of problem solving.
> What problem do I solve by conceptualzing and writing about a group of
> organisms colonizing Jupiter? Or by doodling horses on the backs of
> envelopes? Creativity is a _force_, akin to hunger or fear a tendency to
> lead or follow. It can be used as, and probably developed as, a useful
> mental tool--build a better hut than your neighbors--but what problem
> was solved by painting bison on cave walls millennia ago? Maybe they
> thought it would help them catch food, magically, but maybe they just
> felt like doing that, too. It is with words that I find my creativity
> flowing most, and yet I am not a lawyer and my book hasn't sold yet, but
> I keep on doing it--what problem does this sove for me? In my opinion,
> it fulfills the need to write, solves the burning problem of not being
> writing. That makes it a totally reflexive tool in this case.
> >Nothing in this suggests that creativity
> > necessarily leads to depression; or that depression necessarily leads
> to
> > creativity. However, it seems unlikely that the two do not interact.
> Again, sure. Fair point.
> > 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
> merely
> > be extremes of the incubation process and may play an important role
> in the
> > development of the individual. (Dabrowski's Theory of Positive
> > Disintegration suggests something similar).
> Well, to shoot off on a tangent, the thought processes of someone who
> _has been_ depressed are often clearer and more focussed than they were
> before the depressive bout, and this is also true of a painter before
> and after the work, so quite possibly both situations stimulate a state
> of mind from which it is likely one will emerge "better off" than when
> one went in... In other words, both might be a "deliberate" action on
> the part of the brain to produce certain neurotransmitters, etc., which
> it (the brain) "considers" a good prescription for the problem at
> hand--or as a building tool to a better state, as I find that I often
> don't have a "problem" at moments when I am compelled to produce art.
> --Katrina

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