How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - The book of Ecclesiastes.

A disclaimer

The advice on how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - which this page offers - is not meant for the severely depressed people. Severe depression, whether it's an existential depression arising from perceiving life as meaningless, or any other sources, can be potentially life-threatening and requires qualified medical attention. If you happen to be suffering from severe depression please speak to your doctor.

This page offers advice on how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life only to the people who are effectively functioning in life, and yet, could be potentially functioning better if they were not affected by the feelings of the meaninglessness of life.




Few subjects are as fascinating to me as the subject of the meaninglessness of life and in particular the question of How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life.

You may be not aware that the Bible speaks very strongly about how utterly meaningless is our earthly existence. I've never found a more depressing piece of literature than the biblical book of Ecclesiastes.

I am sure that an existentially depressed person can potentially become suicidal after reading Ecclesiastes, and would not recommend it to anyone who wants to know how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life, and is existentially depressed at the same time.

I mention the biblical book of Ecclesiastes because its meaninglessness-of-life-related contents fit thematically into this page and because there is no other piece of literature in the world in which the meaninglessness of life has been treated to such an extent.  

What follows are some particularly depression-engendering excerpts from Ecclesiastes.

***

"The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem:

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

I made me great works; I built me houses; I planted me vineyards.

I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits.

I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees.

I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me.

I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained with me.

And whatsoever my eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.

Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? Yet shall he have the rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun".

***

The inclusion of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible signifies the fact that the human perception of life on earth as utterly useless and meaningless is nothing new.

It does not arise from any particular conditions present in any particular historical period.

It is an inherent part of the human experience that has been always present and has always affected how the people who are plagued by the feelings of the meaninglessness of life live / behave / function or disfunction. 

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes was an old super-rich man who looked at his life and saw everything that he has worked for and accomplished as utterly meaningless.

A reader of the book of Ecclesiastes may think that the meaninglessness of life experienced by its author had to do with his advanced age and awareness of his imminent death.

Obviously, the old rich man who experiences the meaninglessness of life had not been feeling this way when he was young. If he had, he wouldn't have worked so hard to accomplish so many things.

There is a tendency in old people - and especially those who are about to die - to experience the feelings of the meaninglessness of life.

The last words of Winston Churchill were: "Oh, I'm so bored with it all".

"Oh, I'm so bored with it all"

Experiencing the meaninglessness of life by a person who's on his deathbed appears to be something quite understandable, something that would not inspire an in-depth study of the subject, something we could easily accept as a part of the old age and the dying process.

Experiencing the profound feelings of the meaninglessness of life by children - on the other hand - would appear to be puzzling - even shocking - to a parent, child-worker, or any other observer of the behavior of children.

Do children experience the profound feelings of the meaninglessness of life?

Unfortunately, they do and in many cases, these feelings do color the whole span of their earthly existence.



How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - Feelings of the meaninglessness of life in children.

Two things make me qualified to write a page entitled: How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life.

The first one is that I've started experiencing these feelings when I was 10 years old, and the second one is my awareness of how people are affected by these feelings coming from three decades of practicing psychological counseling and clinical hypnosis.

It is obvious that experiencing the feelings of the meaninglessness of life by children does not come from their life experience. They have not lived long enough, and not accumulated enough life experience to conclude that life is meaningless.

So, where does it come from?

My honest answer is that I don't know, and I don't think that there is anyone who really knows.

I can only speculate that experiencing the feelings of the meaninglessness of life by children is a proof of the existence of the so-called archetypal patterns of the psychic experience common to all of humanity and operating in the human psyche for millennia.

It was Carl Jung who established the concept of the archetypes and presented them as the ever-present, repeatable psychic patterns / forces which determine the course of human life.

According to Jung, the archetypes are the psychic equivalents of the physical, ever-present material patterns / structures which we can physically observe in the Universe.

These patterns / structures - both psychic and the material ones - have always been there. In terms of our human experience, we can treat them as something eternally present and affecting us in various ways from time to time.

For practical purposes - related to the question of: how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - I like to think of the psychic archetypes as the spirits which take possession of our minds and determine the quality of our life experience.

Not knowing how it happened and why it happened - as a young boy - I've become possessed by the archetype / spirit of the meaninglessness of life.

The spirit of meaninglessness of life came upon me like a dense cloud, out of nowhere, and colored my whole life experience.

It colored my life experience with the gray colors of depression.

It injected into my mind a mantra: It's all useless, pointless and a bunch of nonsense.

Can you believe it? A young boy, all of a sudden, without any "warning", begins to perceive his life as meaningless, pointless and nonsensical.

How could something like this happen?

What have I done to deserve it?

As a grown-up man who has been practicing psychological counseling and clinical hypnosis for a long time I've been speculating that my feelings of the meaninglessness of life have arisen - at least partially - from my womb experience.

This might or might not be true. I don't know. All I know is that when I was 10 years old, all of a sudden my life appeared to me as pointless and meaningless.

My meaninglessness-of-life-inducing train of thought - at that time - went more or less like this: No matter what I will ever accomplish I will not be able to keep anything because I'm going to die. And in the face of my inevitable death, all my efforts are pointless and meaningless.

The shocking truth is that what I've just described happens to children all over the world. It can happen to any child but it seems to be happening with particular intensity to the intellectually gifted ones.

Clicking on the link above will take you to the article about the feelings of the meaninglessness of life experienced by the gifted kids, followed by the comments of these kids who are now teenagers, young adults, and middle-aged people.

These comments show the shocking uniformity of the feelings of the meaninglessness of life. And the commentators express great relief in finding themselves to be not alone.

None of them, however - in spite of being presumably gifted - appears to be able to see that the great commonality / uniformity of these feelings renders them to be nothing but one of the patterns of the behavior of the human mind, and as such, not worthy of giving it our depressed attention.



How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - Discounting the common patterns of the mind / rendering them unworthy of consideration.

As humans, we can experience a large variety of thoughts and emotions. However, the universe of our possible mental states is rather limited.

Take a look at the following list:

Affection, agitation, amusement, anger, angst, anguish, annoyance, anticipation, anxiety, apathy, arousal, attraction, awe, boredom, confidence, confusion, contempt, contentment, courage, curiosity, decadence, depression, disorientation, desire, despair, despondency, disappointment, disgust, distrust, ecstasy, embarrassment, empathy, enthusiasm, envy, euphoria, excitement, fear, frustration, gratitude, grief, guilt, happiness, hatred, hope, horror, hostility, humiliation, hysteria, impatience, insecurity, interest, irritation, jealousy, loneliness, love, lust, oppression, outrage, panic, passion, pity, pleasure, pride, rage, remorse, repulsion, resentment, restlessness, sadness, shame, shock, shyness, sorrow, suffering, surprise, suspicion, trust, wonder, worry ...

The above - one-word-list - can be expanded if more words are used:

Feeling worthless / not good enough / low self-esteem.

Feeling superior / grandiose / better than others.

Feeling betrayed / not appreciated.

Feeling lost / lacking fulfillment.

Desire for excitement.

Desire for revenge, self-mutilation. 

Desire for self-realization / domination.

There are most likely other states / thoughts / feelings which one can potentially experience and which at this time refuse to present themselves on the screen of my mind - but whatever they are, the complete list is obviously limited.

The limited list of the mental states / thoughts /feelings which a human being can experience and the fact that they are common have the potential for enabling one to NOT take them seriously.

This - not invested in / seriousness-lacking - experiencing of mental states, feelings and emotions has been my saving grace for many years now, allowing me to be free from being oppressed amidst sometimes-occurring psychic negativity.

What I'm talking here about can be best expressed graphically by the following image.

Assuming the mental stance of "pissing on" all of my negative states of mind has been a very-well-working strategy of mine - one of my answers to the question of: How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life.

This strategy could be poetically named: "Rising above the weather of the mind".

The idea of "rising above the weather of the mind" has its physical equivalent in the phenomenon of a plane rising above the clouds.

What happens when a plane rises above the clouds?

Something quite miraculous - the realm of the rain / hail /  snow / thunder ceases to exist and all that we experience is the spotless, clear, blue sky and sunshine.

The "rising above the weather of the mind" way of answering the question of: How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life requires that you start disidentifying yourself from your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

This strategy works amazingly well. I am a living proof of its liberating power.

The only problem with it is that most of the people who try to figure out how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life identify themselves with their thoughts, feelings, and emotions to a degree which renders this strategy impotent in their lives.

Consequently, those who want to figure out how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life but cannot "fuck their feelings" end up fucked up by them.



How to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life - Disidentifying from your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

In this section I am going to expand and deepen what has been written in the above section.

The common perception of the meaninglessness of life affecting otherwise successfuly functioning people requires neither brain surgery nor drugs. 

If you want to know how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life and to function better in spite of being plagued by the feelings of the meaninglessness of life you may want to start practicing the existential-depression-dissolving way of awareness.  

The liberating usage of awarness is my favorite existential-depression-dissolving methodology. I keep on applying it to myself on an ongoing basis. It works for me amazingly well. Perhaps it can work for you too.

What follows is a description of how I deal with depression arising from the meaniglessness of life.

You can look at your physical self using your physical eyes. You can also look at your psychic self using the eyes of your awareness.

Is there any better way for me to give you an answer to the question of how to deal with depression arising from the meaninglessness of life than detailing the train of my thoughts which leads to the state of liberation?

I don't think so.

Here is ...

Will cont.



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