Yes, capitalism is why you're sad and anxious. Now what?
I really, really, REALLY appreciated this piece, James (and P.E.!). I think this is one of the most frustrating things to me about certain leftist discourse - that it ends up being as unnuanced and empty as some of the terrible thinking on the right. We need to get better at being able to hold various truths in our minds at the same time - which is harder, often, than finding one truth that seems to cover all the bases. Anyway, as a depressed and anxious and traumatized etc. etc. person, I very much appreciate you writing about the issues with looking at mental illness through a structural lens and nothing else.
This is one of the best articles on mental health I’ve ever read! After living with depression and anxiety for most of my life, I’ve only recently come to understand how society’s screwed up values - especially capitalism’s prioritization of profits over people and definition of success purely in terms of wealth and power - contribute to my mental health issues.
At the same time, I also know how much better I feel when I do things like journal each morning, take nature walks, pay attention to my emotional pain instead of trying to distract myself from feeling it, and challenge my negative thoughts.
Doing those things gives me the courage and strength to do what I can to address the larger societal problems.
My main takeaway from this was that, while we as individuals can exert some agency over ourselves, we are most harmed by systemic issues, which we can only address collectively.
Expressing the nihilistic view of it all as "resigning to the belief that we can't get better until the world around us does" really resonated with me. I hope we can instead embrace and advocate for the collapse of these terms of order (thanks Robinson).
Let's counter "you can change anything" and "you can't change anything" with "together, we can change everything". We don't want to fix the world that has been imposed on us. We want the autonomy to create new ones.
I thought of these quotes from Inhabit, Instructions for Autonomy. If you're not familiar, it's a text that draws a lot from Tiqqun and The Invisible Committee.
"We search for the organizational power to repair the world and find only institutions full of weakness and cynicism. Well-meaning activists get digested through the spineless body of conventional politics, leaving depressed militants or mini-politicians."
"Together we have the know-how and the drive to build a better life, a life on our own terms, and it’s up to us to create and inhabit new worlds to replace this one. Our ingenuity, our passion, our determination— we are the hinge on which every future rests."
"Now is the time to exit this untenable way of life."
Thanks for writing and sharing this James. Let's find joy in collapse. -J
Need to send this to my therapist, could really help get us on the same page
This has a really great section on Jordan Peterson. How the two ruling class schools of thought failing the public leads to a right-wing populist movement. Why so many white supremacists latch onto what he says and where he's purposefully disinforming his audience.
I really connected with the whole thing. It points out the flaws with the self-help model for not addressing systemic harm, but it also critiques the models that do.
Yes, these conditions that we're living under right now are harmful, and will continue to harm us as long as they exist.
We've worked within these systems to end that harm. But we end up feeling even worse when our efforts inevitably fail.
We've worked to overthrow these systems to implement our own. We face even harsher repression, and either fail again or gain power, just to reproduce the same hierarchy and conflict.
We've given up, convinced that this suffering is inherent to life and the human condition, like what Peterson espouses.
Autonomy offers an exit away from all of these cycles. We can't see the fall of this world until we've created our own. We aren't trying to replace or overthrow these harmful ways of life. We're leaving them behind, taking from them what we need and not looking back.
Absolutely love this.
Maybe we should be asking ourselves this: Is it selfish to 'get rid' of / push down / medicate the pain?
If our answer is yes, should we try to share it out instead, in any way we can or like to?
Maybe this is a more human thing. Maybe this is how we grow.
Bullshit what the hell does our economic climate have to do with mental health. My unmedicated mind tells me that capitalism is the fairest way to do business. Now, of to the ACTUAL problems and that would be be over medication and the pseudosciences such as psychiatry and sociology. These ARE NOT SCIENCES...they are opinions and in my opinion, medicating us into comformaty is a crime. An actual crime. Wanna know about all these mass shooting then look no further than the perpetrators medicine cabinate and you will find your answer
ugh SO GOOD, MUCH to consider...
This is really really good
really well done. thank you
This slapped! What an encouraging read for a Monday. Thank you
wowowow what a read!!