I sometimes believe that the rise in single person households in the USA might either be the cause of a rise in Depression or at least show a correlation between these two variables. I believe that our modern culture helps produce the human monad or let’s say, a human nomad, rootless and alone. As the reality of a person isolated and alone can many times enkindle a personal sadness and atrophied social skills, we might be able to deduce from this that an individual could be setting themselves up for episodes of depression. Our modern mass culture, dedicated as it is to being a consumer of things and stuff (cf. George Carlin), and being part of a homogenized society with its focus on appearance, affluence and acceptance (cf. Mary Pifer’s work REVIVING OPHELIA: Teenage girls and depression), we find the isolated monad, in a society dominated by the pursuit of wealth, ( most of society struggling to make ends meet, working part time and low wage jobs) so why wouldn’t a person find themselves depressed.
I also think that most of us desire a life with meaning. A life that has purpose bigger than ourselves. But the more walls we butt our heads against, trying to find meaningful work, or any work and just wages, the deeper the pit of our frustration grows
Today in this age of an ever changing technology, more of us might find ourselves like the wandering nomad in a desert, no longer provided with guideposts directing us on a way out of our isolation and alienation from ourselves and our society. There is always another NEW and IMPROVED gizmo, for consumers to salivate over, marketed 24/7 on all our electronic devices. And, not surprisingly, the message is to always have the right appearance so to fit into all the right social groups; accepted by the all the right cliques of people; to live in the right affluent neighborhood (usually always more than our income allows).
Finally, when the bubble of our chase leads to a loss of self, and our bubble of isolation bursts, we either admit we are on the wrong path or we continue to deepen the pit of our own isolation and sadness. To this end, speaking for myself, we begin the search for the real deal, where people are really themselves, warts and all. We want to become part of that society (fellowship) larger than ourselves, where we now have a purpose motivated life. We now are neither monad or nomad but part of a group of men and women who live a life filled with hope and serenity. The chase has ended. What do you think?