January 19th, 2020

* - kalaidoscope

Manic Depression - Part 2 - "Grounds for Hope"

Part 1 HERE.

I haven't listened to WPR's, "To The Best of Our Knowledge", for a few years, as my radio habits changed.  The "thought magazine" rivals NPR's, "RadioLab".  However, I left it when it was somewhat becoming another collection of Democratic party interests, which I can get anywhere.  But it still carries on much of the tradition of being more widely academic.  I heard an episode yesterday which fits right into my posts on "Manic Depression", (bipolar).

This segment of 'TTBOOK' nicely and concisely lists characteristics of depression versus optimism, primarily in the cognitive biases involved, or lack thereof.  This analysis, and my own thought, mainly follow from the work of the great cognitive behaviouralists, Martin Seligman, and Aaron T. Beck.

I will probably do yet another post on the topic of how manics and depressive process information, (as this was the inspiration for these posts), meant also to discuss the 'onus of control'.  However, the TTBOOK segment will suffice as PART TWO in the series.  The main things to remember are that about 80% of the population is normal/optimistic, and tends to, in general, make more incorrect assessments about reality.  The other 20% is depressed - perhaps 3% severely, and so about 17% mildly/moderately.  The severely depressed tend to make pessimistic and perhaps even 'masochistic' conclusions about reality, which tend to be incorrect.  So, that means the other, more moderate depressives, make conclusions which are normatively not biased one way or another.  That is, they, ~17% of the population, are basically correct when it comes to interpretting reality.

(If such a group had sufficient political power, the nature of our world would be very different.  It would be less filled with jingoism, religious crusades, careening capitalists, the bastard class, and so on).

Also, the major population, the 80% various optimists, from private hobbyists to nationalistic, narcissistic psychopaths, and what I am just going to lump together to call, "The (psycho)Positivists", make their assumptions about reality which often involve an attribution of values or successes to SELF.  And this is often a kind of superstition, which I should be discussing later.

In addition, the positivist 80% also tend to make their conclusions of reality based on an idea that they are in control of situations, if not in successful outcomes.  They can range from quiet people who pray in grotto's, to maniacal control freaks, all of whom we do encountre in our lives.  On the other hand, moderate depressives do not make this often false assumption of control, which is often true to reality, whereas the 3% extreme depressives may conclude that something exterior is rather in control of their own fate, depriving them of any will whatsoever.  And this assumption tends to be vague or abstract, rather than specific.  This comports to the fact that severe depressives do not tend to be cognitively dynamic.

So, here is the very nice little 12 minute audio from TTBOOK:
bright brain

How neuroscientist Tali Sharot accidentally stumbled on what’s known as “the optimism bias” — our hard-wired belief that our future will be better than our past or present.


And, on a positive note, here is the whole episode, containing several segments relevant to the concept of HOPE.

Hope: Where Does It Come From?

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NOTE: This post is just too rich for me to do the whole 'tag' listing right now.  However, you can go to my tags page and read more posts mentioning concepts above, like the existential bias, etc.  Most will be preceded by a category word, such as "psychology - ", "environ - ", etc.  (Also note: I do not agree w/ that final comment above - I do believe consciousness is ubiquitous, and yet paradoxically not).