Tuesday, December 20, 2011

a little help from my friends

Thanks, everyone.

Elizabeth, whom I believe I know through the kind auspices of Sharon and Dave's famous annual cocktail party, suggested a connection between depression, fear, and capitalism. I'm not super hip to Marxist analyses of the phenomenon we call depression, and with regard to myself, a psychiatric account makes so much sense it's hard for me to see past it. I mean, I was first depressed when I was 9. No kidding.

Yes, even 9 year olds raised in capitalist society experience its contradictions. I think what I mean is that the obvious effects of capitalist economics on my life have grown a lot stronger and more direct since then.

I have no doubt that this recent bout has something to do with the constant assault of the people pushing the corporate/privatized/Friedmanized university (and society). "Torture" may be a gross exaggeration of their way of treating people, but otherwise, their behavior is captured awfully well by Naomi Klein's thesis in The Shock Doctrine (as many in CFA have pointed out). The creation and exploitation of crisis, and the constant application of techniques to undermine my ability to understand the reality of my situation, play very well into my own psychiatric condition. After all, one of our administrators did research on fear as a marketing tool.

(By the way, in my National Novel Writing Month project this year, the Marketing Division of the Corporation is not only the investigative wing, but also arranges torture - i.e., "focus groups" - but also assassinations, in an effort to thwart the underground movement of people who repair things rather than throw them out and buy new ones.)

Lauren was pointing out just the other day how our society trains everyone to imagine that their economic fates are their own doing, and how this ideology really helps the corporate capitalist elite seem to be meritorious, despite their being constantly rewarded for failing. To a certain extent, I fall into that too, blaming myself for my failures in academia, when that's largely discredited by a more objective analysis - say, just pointing out that 75% of faculty that we can count in the US are non-tenure-track faculty.

(Another random aside: I feel like I know and have known a suspiciously large number of people named Elizabeth or Leigh, or versions thereof.)


Anonymous said...

So out of curiosity, have you ever looked into finding a commune you could be happy living with? Why continue living within a system you can't stand, which you feel like is eating you alive, if you don't have to?

Doc Nagel said...

Actually, Anon, I have thought of that, and fairly seriously. But as I tried to explain in this post, although I agree with the basic concept that capitalism creates dysfunction in all of our lives, I don't blame capitalism for my depression. It's myself I can't stand, and feel is eating me alive.

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Doc Nagel said...

Thanks! Gee, that's a big help!

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Holy Mother of God. That's it. It's official: you are doomed. (And, remember your Carlin: it helps to remember that.)