Enlightenment vs. depression | INFJ Forum

Enlightenment vs. depression

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by minkowski thermodynamics, Oct 1, 2009.

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  1. minkowski thermodynamics

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    I have reached a point where I will gain no increase in happiness with an increase in material possessions. The thought of buying new clothes, new car or a latest ipod does not particularly make me excited like it does other people.

    The only new things that do give me great happiness are all distinctly non-material in nature.

    What I don't understand is what this lack of desire fully means. In the western world when someone reaches this point, we slap the label "mental illness" and say that they are depressed.

    Perhaps I have a misunderstanding of the meaning of these two terms?

    Looking at the words I just wrote, they are so dead. So flat and lifeless. And fail utterly to reproduce how much importance this question has for me. I had a dream as recent as last night where I asked myself this very question How can one distinguish between depression and being on the path to enlightenment ? The dream was filled with pathos and an ineffable sadness and emptiness, as I fully comprehended the finality with which I had no desire whatsoever for more material possessions. Some relatives would look at me and ask, "So you just want to be a bum? You don't want a fancier car, or a nice mansion?"
     
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  2. gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

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    Well, here's the question; do you lack the passion for anything, or do you lack the thing that could bring you passion?

    Enlightenment can be a difficult thing to achieve in a materialist society. Much of what designates your worth and importance has to do with efficiency and production rather than personal fulfillment. Sometimes, this can lead to hopelessness and, eventually, depression.

    But, if you understand that you are looking for something, then that does not necessarily mean you are depressed. Be aware of yourself, though; if you start seeing true signs of depression, consider seeing someone. That can be both relieving and might give you some prospective on your journey.

    Lack of desire in material things is not illness. In my opinion, it's quite the opposite. But enlightenment is difficult, and the world was not made for probing minds; good luck on your venture!
     
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  3. Wyote

    Wyote (#/-\[]$ ([]`/[]'|'[-
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    With enlightenment, all things are yours. Yet things are not quite things, in fact there are no things, only enlightenment :m123:
     
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  4. OP
    minkowski thermodynamics

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    Thanks, Wyote and gloomy-optimist.

    Not really. It's just that the things that bring me tremendous joy and make me feel alive are all non-material. When I listen to my music, I experience something like a palette which is made up of different colors and textures of moods, emotions, experiences. It's not just entertainment or something to put on in the background. My music is the foreground and it is an all encompassing thing that takes up all my attention.

    Or when I read the works of my favorite authors, I can really get into them, and experience them in extremely vivid detail down to the subtlest nuance.

    When I play my piano, I feel alive. The music evaporates and rises like vapors which condense back again inside my soul, and it washes me in a flood of pure ecstasy and beauty.
     
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  5. Billy

    Billy Contents Under Pressure
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    Those things drive me too, but I still like material comforts, its not easy to love music when you are hungry and the lights are being turned off.
     
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  6. Sithious

    Sithious Well-known member

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    Materialism does not bring me any joy, and it never really has. I used to get some pleasure out of it, but these days I couldn't care less. I never buy stuff, I buy food, that's about it.

    I still have high ambitions to make a lot of money though, money is freedom in this world, freedom to live where you want, freedom to go where you want, freedom to do what you want.

    I am closer to enlightenment than I've ever been and I'd say you are too, a good indication of this is through your dreams, every day you wake up try to think about your dreams and try to remember them, and write them down if you can. Knowing your dreams gives you a deeper understanding of who you really are
     
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  7. HoneyBeeStings

    HoneyBeeStings Regular Poster

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    Every emotion, whether it has a positive or negetive association attached to it, can be viewed as a stepping stone on the path towards joy. They say life is 10% what you are givven, and 90% what you make of it. Personally, I rather go with the attitude of depression=enlightenment. Perhaps this might be a illusion that it will lead to enlightenment, but how would seeing it as depression=unenlightenment help to make the state of depression more positive?
     
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  8. Eventhorizon

    Eventhorizon Permanently relocated
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    The things you have are nice. A new car you might miss if you dont have it. Imagine having your car taken away and then forced to drive a pos. You might realize how much you liked your car once gone.
    It's seems that some of what happiness is has to do with recognizing you are happy. Reflecting on moments and understanding you like that moment better than you would if certain things were not in place. People...objects like foods and drink. Are you not happier when you have a glass of water and you are thirsty?

    Beyond that find what you like and persue it. I love traveling because it stimulates the mind and brings knowledge of things not obtainable otherwise. Nothing can take the place of experiences. Which as it happens is what I believe we are doing here. We are meant to experience.
     
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  9. Kaotiklysm

    Kaotiklysm Regular Poster

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    Well, you said that you still get happiness, so that's not depression in anyway. Why assume depression when there's no reason to think it?

    Or are you saying: these things used to give you happiness, and all of a sudden they do not. So you are concerned whether these things do not give you happiness because you have overcome them, or if it is because you are going through a slump in life that you need to get out of.

    Well, as I said, you're still getting happiness from other, better avenues... so...
     
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  10. HoneyBeeStings

    HoneyBeeStings Regular Poster

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    Like when you thought something will bring you a super duper high level of happiness or pleasure and than you are forced to come to the realization that it only brings you a medium level of happiness or pleasure, it can be kind of disappointing. Thats the downside of having high expectations. And it sounds to me that you feel a bit enlightened about this realization vs being depressed about this realization. Yeah, ignorance is bliss.
     
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  11. bonfire

    bonfire Community Member

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    I realized this is an old thread, almost 10 years ago, so I think you've probably had your answer. I just want to give some input, anyway.
    In a Buddhist perspective, when one has lost the desire for material gain, seeing its as meaningless and pointless, it's a sign of a spiritual awakening. As HoneyBeeStings has mentioned above. Material possession can only give a medium level happiness (actually is worldly pleasure), furthermore its nature is like a drug; you need to keep increasing the dose if you want to maintain the same level of happiness (or pleasure). Therefore no matter how much you have, you'd never be truly satisfied or experience long-lasting fulfillment, unless you start to recognize that what you have is enough.

    But spiritual awakening and depression can be mistaken for each other, and often depression is the first symptom of spiritual awakening, which makes it harder to tell them apart.
     
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  12. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    I don't believe in enlightenment. My criticism of religions like Buddhism comes from a Nietzschean place. I think that the rejection of suffering is for quitters. Great is the person who embraces suffering.
     
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  13. Ren

    Ren Pin's android / Baroque Spinoza / ≅ INFP

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    You probably still believe in enlightenment more than you think.
     
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  14. Pin

    Pin "Magnificent Bastard" / Ren's Counterpart

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    How so?
     
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  15. Ren

    Ren Pin's android / Baroque Spinoza / ≅ INFP

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    You believe in improvement of not just self, but society as a whole, don’t you? This would be very “enlightenment” in nature.

    And paradoxically, Napoleon made a lot of enlightenment ideals the norm with his conquests. As your already know: the Civil Code, etc.
     
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  16. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Depression is a prison while enlightenment is a release.

    Nietzsche probably would have liked Japanese warrior monks. They were badasses.
     
    #16 sprinkles, Aug 5, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
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  17. Dado

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    I noticed that a lot of people think that enlightenment is attained by avoiding suffering to come into a state where there is no more suffering, especially people who follow ideas laid down by Nietzsche but actually it's quite the contrary, person can become enlightened only by fully confronting his own suffering, by embracing it, learning from it and eventually resolving it which results in liberation. Nietzsche took the first few steps when it comes to suffering (embracing it and learning from it) but he didn't know how to let go of it and to totally surrender. Suffering is greatest teacher in life but eventually time comes when student doesn't need teacher anymore, because he learned what needs to be learned, he doesn't cling to teacher anymore because there are no more lessons, his studies are done.
     
  18. Maikl Jexocuha

    Maikl Jexocuha "Le Nanmu"
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    When you choose to accept and surrender to the pointlessness, the madness, the pain, the scariness, the strangeness, the emptiness, the overwhelming power, the fullness, the uselessness, the complexity, the beauty, the noise, the silence, the ugliness, the everything, the nothing of existence - then depression becomes enlightenment.
     
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  19. JustPhil

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    Who ever said we needed to be happy? Why can't someone be sad or depressed or angry .. or joyful and content. As @Maikl Jexocuha has stated it really is about acceptance and not the fighting of being in a certain state.

    We have been taught to associate happy with the state we should be. I nowadays go through life with the attitude that (and I do hate this quote) "it is what it is".

    BTW I was depressed for some 40 odd years on and off and having had some sort of epiphany three years ago, and having looked at myself closely since, I can say that there are numerous factors that I can attribute to the loss of depression, but the major one was acceptance.

    I think we are made to experience a variety of emotions and holding any of them back (this is different to acting out on them) is in itself a cause for emotional suffering.

    @bonfire I like your comment .. I would like to think of it as a spiritual awakening though not a religious man. I thgink an awakening to better understand myself and appreciate what I have.

    I have to say that I have no real interest in material things or for that matter things such as social media and TV (although the internet is great for research). Instead I find a huge amount of peace in walking outside and in nature thinking. Three years ago I would have thought it the most boring thing in the world. Now it is my number one thing when I have free time :)
     
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