Powerful Mind Part 37
Created November 17, 2023
We call the economic depression of 1929-1939 “The Great Depression”. I call the psychological depression period we are now in “The Supreme Depression”.
From my readings, it appears to me that the current Supreme Depression is far more psychologically damaging to the human race than was The Great Depression. In The Emotional Life of The Great Depression, John Marsh (Oxford Press, 2019) describes the negative feelings evoked during The Great Depression as despair, fear, panic, righteousness, and anger, all of which had been chronicled by many historians. It was the righteousness and anger which Hitler and Mussolini manipulated to bring themselves to power.
However, Marsh also adds that there were positive feelings during that period, mostly after 1932, three years into the ten-year depression, as a result of the election of FDR, and they were hope, awe, and love. From our observations about our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, we know that the economic depression made us stronger in many ways.
Our current Supreme Depression is similar but different. The economic situation is cloudy and volatile, but there has been no market crash affecting the USA, our economy here is still standing, and many people’s incomes have kept steady with inflation, while many people keep getting richer, although it’s also edge city for many people in America. In the rest of the world, economic conditions are worse in many places and better in a few.
Moving from economics to psychology, however, the modern world has never seen such widespread doom and gloom thinking, hatred, cynicism, gullibility, and willingness to give up personal freedoms in exchange for perceived greater physical safety. The Great Depression was a walk in the park by comparison, and yet enabled so-called “strongmen” to almost take over the world. The Supreme Depression could enable the new crop of charismatic tyrants to enslave us. Many influential journalists and politicians worldwide assume that dystopia is here to stay and will soon be consolidating its grip everywhere, there are now new digital media that make it easy to have a screen and perhaps earpods washing one’s mind with negativity for nearly every waking minute.
Everyone knows that polls can be wrong, especially when they are taken a year ahead of the election they are trying to predict. Nevertheless, poll results are a guarantee of attention, because everyone is so attached to the political party propaganda war and frightened of the outcomes. What people say in surveys has a low degree of predictivity of their actual behavior. The response rate to polling surveys is generally under 10% and sometimes hits a high of as much as 13%, meaning that the random sample that was predesignated is not random anymore, 13% of us willing to take part in polls are (mis-) representing the other 87% of us. Even people in the research business who know these things are drawn as if by an addictive substance to reading the poll results.
Negativity is such a powerful influence that it doesn’t need absolutely continuous access to your mind in order to poison your attitude. Negativity even for only 10% of your waking minutes can ruin your day and your life, let alone the constant diet of negativity which has become our lives.
Chaim Oren reports that a rabbi once told him “Optimists and Pessimists are both right.” Meaning that the pessimist is going to experience exactly what he or she expects, and so is the optimist. We draw to ourselves whatever our mind projects onto the world. As I’ve pointed out here perhaps too many times, even the greatest physicists agree that our consciousness affects the probability waves of matter and energy around us and how that magma manifests as definite and concrete events in our timeline. Our mind sharpens possibilities into actualities that we experience. Allowing our minds to be constantly poisoned by negativity is absolutely self-defeating, not to mention unpleasant.
What can we do about this, once we have become serious about opening our minds to the greater possibilities of our own life?
It might seem like a hard pill to swallow, but we can actually turn off the negative noise. We don’t have to read or watch the negative news. We don’t have to stay on a social media page that offers no solutions only problems and invective. We don’t have to be hooked on downers for the rest of our lives. Paraphrasing Tim Leary, now would be an ideal time to “Tune In (to our true selves), Turn On (our subtle inner guidance systems), and Drop Out (of the negative media inputs that only weaken us).”
There is of course the fear of missing out. How can we be good conversationalists if we don’t know the latest events? Isn’t that burying our heads in the sand? If you enjoy the news then continue to tune into it at your usual times, but if you find yourself getting into a negative mood, be aware of it and of your freedom to switch away.
GPT4 and the other new LLM AIs can come in handy here. Ask your favorite AI to summarize the latest news events that might point to positive outcomes ahead. Ask what new solution ideas to world problems were announced today. You can stay well-informed and decide which articles to read based on using what I call a Hate Filter, that is, asking an AI the right questions, designed to keep you in the know and inspired by new discoveries and solution ideas, not trapped in a bubble of hopeless cynical negativity. If you are pessimistic about the world, that will not translate into your being able to make the most of your opportunities in life.
You don’t have to let everything in, you can let love and joy in without reservation, and filter everything else out, not allowed in, rise above it!
The way to take charge of your new life which starts right now is to stop allowing yourself to be given these daily injections of hypnotic suggestions that bring down your effectiveness and immune response. Use that time to contemplate and plan your new life, to meditate and apply metacognition to rule your mind castle, and to use media to find the ideas and knowledge and fun that relate to your purpose and meaning in life, to your gifts and passion work, to the dreams and aspirations that you used to have, the subjects that have always fascinated you, and to ideas that once inspired you that you have put aside. Not all of them may still be relevant to you, but some will be and will give you new surprises and whole new canvases to paint your life on.
We are still conveying the groundwork for Key #10. More to come in the next post on this Key to inner clarity.
May your Thanksgiving be bountiful with reasons to be grateful.
And let our lives be full of both thanks and giving.
My best to all,