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Just a guess (psychology)

  1. Dec 6, 2004 #1
    I read a post here on depression...and I was wondering the result of depression (i.e., how people changed from pre-depression to post-depression)

    I don't mean "during" depression....but before and after: when people are "happy" again; what is the difference between the non-depressed state of mind before depression and the non-depressed state of mind after depression?

    I have this guess tho. Assume that depression is the result of some painful or dramatic realization of one's loneliness or faith/beliefs or mindset, universe, social relations..etc and all that crap as being wrong, naive, immoral, etc. My hypothesis (untestable-btw) is that the person transitions from this previous "naivete" to actually a new "naivete"--that is, to once again hold some absolutist creeds/proverbial-aphorismic beliefs..etc in order to not feel lonely, sad, insignificant, menacing, evil, draining..etc.

    Well, that's my hypothesis in which a person adopts a new "naivete" or more plausible "mindset" so as to not feel error-ful and lonely...etc etc. That is, they increase awareness of themselves and society..etc..with again, another absolutist "naivete"...not a critical-thinking/understanding one (at least not usually). For example, a previous naivete.."bad-guys will be punished"--"love will prevail or keep the bully away..etc"--to a more adaptable one---"integrity and honesty will guide you thru life"--or "be true to yourself".

    Basically, the person would move from a previous (or childist) absolutist creed seen above to another (more "adult") set, without usually recognizing the critical thinking skills or other reasoning (i.e, "beliefs" instead of "reasoning"). (Notice the emphasis on "absolutist"). The idea is just that people will transition from one such "naivete" to another...without usually developing more advanced reasoning and analyzation procedures etc.--(i.e, leave depression with the "naivete"--not the reasoning skills!)

    Well, that's just my crazy hypothesis...what do you guys think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2004 #2
    Are you saying there may be a correlation between people who use many euphemisms and cliche beliefs to cope with or run away from reality and depression?
  4. Dec 6, 2004 #3
    sounds like a very nice hypothesis you have there. I don't know a lot about physcology but from what i know that does make sense in a way.

    what about the people who don't really seem to believe in anything( im not talking about aetheisist im talking about "happy people", you know the ppl that are always smiling and are a bundle of joy). what happens when they are depressed? is this included in your hypothesis? the people that i know that are like this seem to throw logic+reasoning+cliches out the window. maybe that is just a mask that is hard to see through but lets say that they are the way they seem. how would they get depressed if they don't really pay atention to their believes? is it their resilant spirit that keeps them from being depressed or their seeming lack of attention to their beliefs?
    what say you friend?
  5. Dec 7, 2004 #4
    Well, if u look in my post, I listed as ""assume"" that depression is...
    I mean that i take only a type of depression or a small set of reasons/explanations for that depression--Not the whole range of known and unknown causes, effects, treatments, results...etc!
    What I do here is just take a narrow view of depression--i.e, the depression that might occur when people find significant error in their"-,-,-,-,-,- (in my post)" etc.
    It's possible that the outcome of depression is dependent on what caused it in the first place (one or several things), although i'm not sure. It just seems to me that "naivete"s may be easier to disprove and develop in the first place, but that depends heavily on the environment/society/context/surrounding of the individual.

    My hypothesis actually occured from...well, I diagnosed some friend who was previously told that he was "depressed" by a free non/profit therapist--even tho he didn't seem all that depressed at all---i mean, he was rather apathetic, but was neither sad nor happy, without a significantly low esteem. Anyway, I talked to him and told him that his family (not too well-off) should hire a more professional and possibly paid psychologist, or read the first chapters of a psychology textbook or learn few of the many methods of critical thinking...then maybe he will rethink the situation..etc..etc whatever!
    As I thought about the person, I thought of what beacon or youth-centers may help as. As I thought, it seemed that these centers might not really teach critical thinking or analysis at all!--well, they might rather explain or encourage some absolutist "naivetes" about life. Just look at a high-school "Health-Ed" textbook!!! no thinking at all...just telling people what to do, how to be safe, always think of consequences regardless of any balance...etc...etc..! And I thought of what family or friends might tell...well, nothing really too much about any critical reasoning process (hmm...)

    My hypothesis was formulated that people even by themselves might generally/naturally establish their own or adopt popular or common "naivetes" (usually absolutist) before and after depression. That was my hypothesis...crazy, untestable, possibly just a wild guess....
    Depression may not be a time where people would critically reason things out---usually just resort to what psychologists call "emotional reasoning"--from themselves, friends, school, family...etc.

    Also, from such conditions, I consider the principle of "Occam's Razor"--that people will believe/follow whatever beliefs/method will require the fewest amount of assumptions to incorporate/use/believe. It seemed that "naivetes" would follow this concept more clearly (easier to believe and possibly maybe to apply...rather than the careful approach of critical thinking procedure) ...and given the emotional conditions of depression, I formulated this hypothesis...
    I don't really know if my hypothesis is valid or not, so I decided to limit/restrict the set of applicable causes for depression in my first post....but, if my hypothesis can be broadened, that'd be great...well, if i could expand on it or consider/ponder/reason even further and consider several several other factors...

    (Note: I was depressed during the making of the movie--i mean, hypothesis'!)

    but anyway...It seems logical or illogical, and I'm just wondering what you guys think-- so um...Keep posting! :smile: :shy:
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2004
  6. Dec 7, 2004 #5
    Well, not exactly euphemisms or cliche beliefs---just some beliefs (usually absolutist) about life in general-that may result from depression, with the idea that it may help them cope with life in general;--a little/somwhat like the idea that religion might give life meaning--or something like that. The idea would be that a new "naivete" would develop--without the critical reasoning skills. The person here adopts this "naivete," which may lessen the emotional tension/conflicts that may result during depression more so than would an clarified critical reasoning procedure, as the state of mind during depression may well not be able to develop and follow such a process. This "naivete", while helping the person "cope" so to speak...would follow the person out of depression as well. Well, "that this result" would occur is kinda-part of the hypothesis--

    Don't get me wrong tho-sorry! :redface: I didn't mean exactly euphemisms or "cliches"--just as rough examples for my hypothesis---

    So um, what do u guys (audience=readers of this post) think? (crazy, untestable hypothesis--! :blushing: )
  7. Dec 7, 2004 #6


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    I believe you're absolutely right bomba, for this particular type of depression.

    Most depressed people I believe are just feeling bad, not for any particular reason (other than brain chemistry) i.e: not a crisis of faith... or a mid-life crisis etc... But there is this other type of depression which comes from thinking about life.

    In fact, I'd say critical thinking skills can hinder a person from coming out of this type of depression. I think Schopenhauer experienced depression. He had an insight into the truth of life and it wasn't pretty. I'm sure that didn't help his depression any.

    "Naivetes" can help a person cope with living. Whether it is religion or a philosophy of life like Objectivism... But if you analyze it too much, you'll probably find that the philosophy is untrue or has no foundation or is uncertain etc... Then you're back to being depressed.
  8. Dec 7, 2004 #7


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    First, your hypothesis is testable: Ask people who have recovered from depression.
    However, I do see some problems.
    How exactly do you distinguish a naïveté from a more reasoned belief?
    Perhaps looking at the justification for the belief would help; Do they justify their belief with logic, faith, evidence, by utility, etc. For instance, someone may adopt a belief because someone they trust has told them they should; Their justification is faith, evidence, and logic. Someone else may arrive at the same conclusion because it is the most useful (they don't want to be depressed anymore). Their justification is utility. This approach would seem to fit your hypothesis better, though I'm not sure precisely what your hypothesis is.

    You are saying that how a person recovers from depression depends on what caused the depression? I would agree that this is true in some cases, though I don't know how many. It is true that once a person decides what constitutes acceptable justifications for belief, it becomes quite difficult to change that decision. So a person who becomes depressed because they see evidence that life isn't worth living will most easily recover from their depression by seeing evidence that life is worth living. Is that what you're saying?

    I would add that the above isn't true in all cases, and people can change. Some changes are just more difficult than others.

    To clarify, Occam's razor doesn't make predictions about people's behavior. It is a principle people can choose to adopt. Nor does it say that simpler is better. It says, for instance, if explanation A has 3 steps, explanation B has 4 steps, and A and B have 3 steps in common, you should choose A because B has an unnecessary step. Two people can arrive at the same result but not go through any of the same steps, so Occam's razor doesn't necessarily apply. But that is a creative twist.
  9. Dec 7, 2004 #8
    I don't critical reasoning skills would worsen depression---i mean, that's what got me out of it!--well, back in middle school...

    My hypothesis was that these "naivetes"--developed/adopted during depression..."'would stay with the person even After depression'"---that is, it would be sort of like a guiding or just an absolutist belief held by that person, but would not be challenged or altered so long as no traumatic or strong significant argument would occur to alter this "naivete";
    i mean, the result of for example, (perhaps) "coping strategies"..if u will, will stay and stay with the person..even after their use for emotionally getting the person out of depression would have expired. The HIGHLY oversimplified idea here is that "wrong naivete" gets u in..."right naivete" gets u out...not the reasoning skills from which a person would reason and suitably understand any faults that had existed...

    Well, as for critical thinking, I was sort of depressed in middle school--bad grades, teachers, -etc. I thought/pondered/meditated on life, reality, priority, etc...but was accidentally or somewhat too proud/conservative to adopt just any random absolutist belief--i.e, i wanted a logical explanation why depression would be wrong or what would the meaning towards life be. I researched several books on philosophy, psychology, (some on quantum physics accidentally) which all presented interesting theories, and I had Several attempts to develop my own theory, while trying to evaluate or find faults and efficiencies of the developed philosophies. The health-ed textbook (i found in math class chair) was no help at all. For example.. it said to "consider integrity in decisions"; not only could the book not define specifically "integrity", but it lacked any sort of critical reason procedure at all--well, perhaps to account for the difference in reasoning capacities between adults and teens; that book was a teen book---and had to simply, if not oversimplify, its procedure. Anyway, well, maybe just a coincidence, but several books of psychology included proposed methods or steps of critical reasoning in their first chapters! I started reading, analyzing, and developing ideas,..etc. From the diagnosis of a friend in AP-CompScience and of textbook/school analyzation, I developed this crazy, untestable hypothesis

    Well, um, that was my "two-cents"...i'm a juinor in high school (11th grade)...and decided to post this strange hypothesis of mine after reading some post here on depression--i think it was one or two pages back..not sure. Well, i guess if they answer that depressed person...some people might express thoughts about my hypothesis as well :smile: ! so, keep posting-- :shy:
  10. Dec 7, 2004 #9
    My 1.5 cents: Depression is a feedback loop. As we are all aware, life is only too capable of delivering hurtful circumstances to us. When those circumstances overwhelm one (e.g., in middle school or high school), it is normal to feel - well - overwhelmed emotionally. If one has no essential reason for hope or optimism, the emotional turmoil directs one to think of life in a darker, more negative way. This darker mindset makes it more likely for one to perceive life as inherently negative, and so the darkness deepens. Eventually, this results in a condition called "depression." Nowadays, depression is called a brain chemical imbalance and is treated with chemicals. I believe that this is entirely wrongheaded - makes almost as much sense as the "old, primitive" way of treating depression with alcohol.

    Ironically, the process you describe of moving from a state of naivete to a state of lower expectations, and which you describe as rational and therapeutic, is only another manifestation of the depressive process: We find hope too difficult to maintain in the face of our inner darkness, and so we abandon the hope we had for a more limited kind of hope - a downhill slide.

    Interestingly, people who hold the "naive, absolutist" beliefs (I am thinking particularly of committed Christians) are much more resilient and resistant to depression. From this, we can either conclude that (1) Depression is the "true way" (a la Schopenhauer and the Existentialists); (2) Some forms of error make one more robust; (3) There is something to Christianity. Your choice.

    Hope this helps.
  11. Dec 7, 2004 #10


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    I can see how this would work... for example:

    Someone in middle school has
    Bad naivete: If I get bad grades in school, then I will never be a success in life.

    Good naivete: If I keep doing my best, the rewards will appear in time.

    Then later in life... perhaps the person has done his best but no rewards have appeared so the good naivete has become a bad one... so he needs a new good naivete...

    I remember reading a chapter in a Tony Robbins book, Awakening the Giant within, where he talks about picking the beliefs that work. He mentions... whether the belief is true or not doesn't matter... just that it makes you feel the right way.
  12. Dec 7, 2004 #11
    this occam's razor sounds interesting. could someone give me a link to a good website, and a basic explanation of it.

    also i believe that you never answered my last question in my first quote. this is basically what oneeye said only stated differently. ill repeat it again so you dont have to look up top "is it their resilant spirit that keeps them from being depressed or their seeming lack of attention to their beliefs?" this is relevant because many of the happy ppl that i know are christains.
  13. Dec 7, 2004 #12
    That's a good point point 3mpathy, just how do those hardcore believers do it, for a few of them it seems no matter how bad things are they are amazingly happy and content, not always, some of them hold the same beliefs and seem more miserable which is odd.
  14. Dec 7, 2004 #13


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    Occam's (Ockham's) razor is also known as the principle of parsimony. Here's a nice article dealing with different interpretations and applications, with references and further reading list
    After reading that, Wikipedia's article is quite nice- adds some historical context.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2004
  15. Dec 9, 2004 #14
    thank you very much Rachel for helping me. i have to say that the wikiapedia link is much more helpful and easier to understand. the other one requires multiple readings to fully comprehend. if you are going to use the links above use the wikapedia one!!! i find it fascinating that this can be used for and agaisnt the arguements for God. very interesting... thank you again.

    To the person who made this thread{ Im using advanced posting so i can't see your name :( }: how is your depressiono theory/hypothesis coming along?
  16. Dec 10, 2004 #15


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    My pleasure. Please do keep in mind that OR doesn't actually say anything about how anything (the universe, logic) actually works. It's just a principle you can adopt when making decisions. If you adopt the principle, then, in some cases, supernatural beings are superfluous. That doesn't mean supernatural beings don't exist. Just be sure to keep it straight :biggrin:
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