Was wondering how India relates to this post by Alan on this thoughts why communal fun is vital for good mental health, as he read Ehrenreich article about her book Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy
But where did it all start and why?
Something was happening, from about 1600 on, to make melancholy a major concern of the reading public, and the simplest explanation is that there was more melancholy around to be concerned about.
And very likely the phenomena of this early “epidemic of depression” and the suppression of communal rituals and festivities are entangled in various ways. It could be, for example, that, as a result of their illness, depressed individuals lost their taste for communal festivities and even came to view them with revulsion. But there are other possibilities. First, that both the rise of depression and the decline of festivities are symptomatic of some deeper, underlying psychological change, which began about 400 years ago and persists, in some form, in our own time. The second, more intriguing possibility is that the disappearance of traditional festivities was itself a factor contributing to depression.
So the quest for the self begins
So highly is the “inner self” honoured within our own culture that its acquisition seems to be an unquestionable mark of progress
And with it comes the possibility of loss of identity or an inability to truly discover it with dramatic consquences
But there was a price to be paid for the buoyant individualism we associate with the more upbeat aspects of the early modern period, the Renaissance and Enlightenment. As Tuan writes, “the obverse” of the new sense of personal autonomy is “isolation, loneliness, a sense of disengagement, a loss of natural vitality and of innocent pleasure in the givenness of the world, and a feeling of burden because reality has no meaning other than what a person chooses to impart to it“. Now if there is one circumstance indisputably involved in the etiology of depression, it is precisely this sense of isolation. As the 19th-century French sociologist Emile Durkheim saw it, “Originally society is everything, the individual nothing … But gradually things change. As societies become greater in volume and density, individual differences multiply, and the moment approaches when the only remaining bond among the members of a single human group will be that they are all [human].” The flip side of the heroic autonomy that is said to represent one of the great achievements of the early modern and modern eras is radical isolation and, with it, depression and sometimes death.
There is a great deal of discussion about the importance of reputation and trust within our post modern world, especially when discussing why ebay works, etc., Well reputation is all about indentity, verification of the self, and hence belonging, status in society.
Alan finishes up with the post with this thought:
Are we perhaps at another turning point in society as we mutate once again. Are we through digitally connected networks able to retrace our human steps into carnival, play, and experience that caters for our need to belong. Redefined for our age.
and in his next post talks ‘issue of self-identity’ in a post modern world:
Although the symptoms still fit into the categories, the stories that are connected to how they came to be this way are to do with lack of knowing how to operate in the world, poor problems solving skills, fearfulness of even mild risk taking and an inability to form healthy relationships due to suspiciousness. In psychological terms, it is a schizotypical form of relating to the world and the problems that I work with are often connected to that. One of the problems of self-construction through media for these people is they do not have the skills to take advantage of the opportunities presented and become a sort of “ghost” population that it is difficult to motivate and fearful of engaging. They often end up living vicariously through media constructed images in imagination and become very depressed when the reality fails to match. An unimportant but wide spread example of that is a middle aged man with a paunch who only ever wears a Chelsea football strip, because in his head he is that footballer. Whenever he is forced to confront the reality of his true condition which he has to do several times on a daily basis, it makes him feel just a little bit worse.
People who have the social and intellectual skills to truely define themselves are in a good position, the rest are the often very noisy ghosts in the machine.
Personally, I am able to related to a good extent to these words. Given my experience to bipolar disorder, mobiles, communities, upcoming social medias – I somehow feel this is fundamental to the next wave / generation coming!! Gotta try and read the book!