Friday, November 19, 2010
What Makes Us Human?
Historian William H. McNeill says that what makes us different from other forms of life is our capacity to invent a world of shared feelings and symbolic meanings, and then act upon them in concert
We cannot separate ourselves out of our emotional connection with our.fellows very long and remain well-balanced and well-grounded because we need each other as part and parcel of our combined ongoing social community. This is one of the important things to remember when we are depressed. We must not take to bed and pull the covers up over our heads.
We must not take the line of least resistance and adapt ourselves to our own depression or mania. We must adapt, instead, to the regular, ongoing, evolving, give-and-take society of our fellows.. our family, our workplace. Adapting to the world outside our own brain always involves some fear and self-discomfort, and therefore we will need courage and persistence to move forward. We don't feel like going forward because depression robs us of our motivation, we don't feel like doing anything.
But you should remember the importance of maintaining fellowship, even the modest ones such as the postman, the grocery clerk, the waitress, when you are suffering from depression. We can help each other. But we must get out there in the world again both to be helped and once we feel better to help someone else.