I’ve been slowly trying to acquaint myself with the works of Mark Fisher. He was writer and theorist, known for his blogging name K-Punk and the book Capitalist Realism.
Fisher died last year of an apparent suicide.
There is a degree of overlap between his thought and mine. I’ve only recently been introduced to him, so I don’t claim to know everything about his ideas. But it’s common among leftist and Marxists to link the rise of depression and anxiety with the prevalence of capitalist ethics intruding on our lives. The drive to make money is literally making us crazy.
And it is. I’m not challenging that assertion.
My take is, however, that depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and even autism are not new phenomena. I’ll take a leap of faith and say that their prevalence probably hasn’t changed that much among populations…at least “physiologically” speaking (for a lack of a better term). If they have, it simply means that we’re getting better at diagnosing them OR have lowered the threshold by redefining the term. Are people more sad and anxious than they’ve ever been? Of course, which means that they exhibit characteristics of depression, but don’t possess brains that are, again, physiologically “depressed”. This also means that those who do possess a “depressed mind state” can go through life and not know it. There are simply too many moving variables to determine who’s going to exhibit what and when.
I wouldn’t say that there are defined borders that determine who has “depression”, “bipolar”, “schizophrenia”, etc, necessarily. Those descriptors are only applied after the fact. It all runs along a moving spectrum and anybody can fall anywhere on it. Again, I’ve compared these mental states to skin color, hair color, eyes, weight, height, etc. As a general rule, we commonly accept those characters as a reflection of human diversity…that’s not the case for mental diversity.
With “1 in 4” adults with a disorder as the most commonly cited statistic (with the prevalence of addiction, PTSD, and God-knows what else…I’d wager to say that that’s a conservative estimate), how long can we go without having to evaluate what we mean by “disorder”. If roughly half of your population exhibits a degree of insanity, what’s sanity?
I don’t know if this is a clarification of Fisher’s comments in the video or an alternate perspective. But my larger point is that our eccentricities are embedded into us. It’s not a result of exterior forces impressing themselves upon us. At least that’s not the entire story. We’re not blank slates. What capitalism is doing to change these eccentricities or mental variations into “disorders” is by narrowing the objective of everyday life towards the pursuing of capital gain (as Fisher stated). This fosters atmosphere of loneliness, alienation, angst, and stigmatization which in turn manipulates mental states into disorders. It causes anxieties when people can’t keep up, and as time moves on, fewer and fewer people are able to meet its demands. Thus, only a small segment of the population are left satisfied…namely psychopathic CEOs and their managerial puppets: normies.
We’ve come to define the stability of someone as how well they can manage their monetary situation, keep a job, and otherwise contribute to the economy. There are other sets of criteria of course, but these are the bare necessities to function within society. If they can’t reach those benchmarks, then clearly there’s a disorder. We’re trapped within a narrow set of confines that are championed by a self-help reading, positive thinking, careerist class…who are in turn governed by a bunch of psychopaths that want us to shut off our empathy so that we can make them an extra buck. No wonder everyone’s on drugs.