Tag Archives: brain chemicals

Thoughts on how it all went wrong…

There once was a time when a person could be unhappy.  If they took the wrong turn in the road, or, made some bad choices it would usually lead to a life that did not produce happiness in sufficient quantities for them to feel good about themselves and the life they were living.  They ended up “unhappy” as a result, at least in part, of choices that they themselves had made.

Today, thanks to a partnership between pharmaceutical manufacturers, health care practitioners, and consumers, unhappiness has gone the way of smallpox.   It no longer exists in nature.   Unhappiness was conquered by science when it was finally recognized for what it really was… a disease.  No longer must sufferers of what used to be called unhappiness carry the blame for any of their own suffering.   As it turns out what human beings used to call unhappiness was really a condition that can only be cured by doctors.  We call it “depression” today, and it is caused by improper chemicals in your brain that, in more cases than not, are a result of genetic factors far beyond your control.

I submit to my gentle readers that, in todays world, this is a VERY GOOD thing to know.   Honestly, it sucked being responsible for our own happiness.  To be unhappy meant we were failures at life.  It meant that we ourselves recognized that we were not capable of playing our part effectively, and competently, in our consumer culture.  Quite frankly it was nothing less than wonderful to learn that we were off the hook .   It wasn’t our fault after all.

In a sense this knowledge and the new found scientific ability to alter our consciousness chemically has immunized us to the inherent dangers of consumer culture.  The dangerous discontent, generated by advertising, that is the basic driving force and operating principle of consumer capitalism can, thankfully, be rendered harmless with the two edged sword of education and pharmaceuticals.  Education tells us that hope springs eternal.  All of us are “special”.  Even the poorest of the poor can win fame and happiness through the purchase of lottery tickets and even the abysmally ignorant can become sports heros, or, outrageously wealthy media phenomena.    Who, with eyes to see and ears to hear and a functioning TV can ever doubt this?  Who does not know that happiness rests just over the horizon awaiting our arrival?

Today there is simply no need to be a slave to any faulty mix of brain chemicals our genes may have dealt us.  There is no need to feel “bad” about anything in a culture where anything is possible and, thanks to modern science, purchasable.

Discontent…  of course must remain alive in its purest sense because it is what keeps the American Dream going.  Unless we all WANT things we do not yet have there can be no perpetual progress, no jobs producing things, no creation of wealth, no viable economy.     If one is not discontent… we are forced to conclude one is simply not paying attention.

Happy… but, discontent is what we are looking for, and at just the proper mix.  We must guard ourselves never to admit to being unhappy, to admit that would be to announce to the world that we were a loser.   The stench of unhappiness on a person is today as a bell on a leper once was.  UNCLEAN!

Proper mental hygiene demands that we want the things that we do not have.  Discontent at not having important things to have, must, if we are normal,  drive us to work harder, longer and with more ingenuity.  Desiring and acquiring,… to live to desire and acquire again another day are the kind of meat machines we are.  If one day we find that we are not humming along nicely, sporting a happy face and acquiring sufficient things, with decent cultural value… we should consult a physician.  The chemicals in our head are almost certainly out of whack, scientifically speaking, and the proper adjustments need to be made.  Failure to do so means we will become, if we have not already become… depressed.

That’s how it works.  Be careful.  Work hard.  Don’t fuck around.  If everything goes to shit in spite of your best efforts, don’t worry about it because it isn’t your fault anyway.

THE END

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

( As the days get darker and shorter Mrs. N. finds herself taking great joy in being unpleasant to the annoying who, at this festive time of year, seem to circulate more abundantly among us…  )

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MURDER!

Mrs. N. had no intention what so ever of writing anything more here until her triumphant return from her visit to various dystopian European countries that, although they may have magnificent gardens, happy populations, and 21st century mass transportation systems…. are, my government informs me, misguided Hell Holes of Socialism tottering on the brink of collapse.  All that changed this morning.

As the sun rose I armed myself with rake, bucket and weed puller and headed out to crawl around my extensive perennial beds intent upon ridding them of weeds.  Engaging in active meditation if you will.  All was better than well as I noticed that so very many of my favorite perennials had self seeded themselves in dozens and dozens of new places, as if by some magical intention.  I was busy happily crawling around from shrub to shrub, plant to plant, popping out dandelions, stray grasses and weeds, picking up the odd fallen magnolia leaf when I came upon it.

There was no mistaking what happened here.  It was clearly cold blooded murder of an entire family of children.  Lives, barely begun, snuffed out by some evil heartless fiend who cared not for the suffering his actions had wrought.  I asked myself… “Who could have done this?… Who could have so little regard for the lives of others?…  I had no answers, only theories.  It could have been the evil serpent, the black snake who I permit to live unmolested in my giant mulch pile of magnolia leaves.  (Am I to blame?)  It could have been the raccoon who, so different from you or I, prefers to venture forth at night, wearing his mask, and praying with his little hands to what Gods I know not.  (Should I have shot him as my neighbors do?)  I don’t think I will ever know the answers to any of these questions, but, even if I did, it would do nothing to bring back the tender little lives that were ended so abruptly, and so brutally.

I thought about the endless news coverage of the bombing in Boston and its aftermath.  Hour after hour, day after day of coverage of every angle, every nit picking detail of everything and everybody involved.  Interview after interview, witness after witness, expert after expert…. and it made me ill to think that such a promising species should end up so hideously deranged.  This morning it was all talk of the Death Penalty.  Yesterday it was all talk of ending the quest to write a decent set of laws to deal with immigrants because, after all, the Boston bombers were immigrants.  The day before that it was all talk of the defeat of legislation to make firearms less easily available to the mentally ill and to people with criminal records.  Earlier today I read that two studies now point to a rather dramatic increase in autism in mothers who consumed drugs like Prozac to “balance” their “unbalanced” brain chemicals.  Who could have possibly guessed that taking drugs to alter the functioning of your brain could fuck up the developing brain of your unborn child?

Sometimes, times like this, times when there doesn’t seem to be any corner of sanity to crawl into with my blanket to suck my thumb and mumble to myself…  things oddly start to clear.  I find myself laughing at something stupid, and rejoice, in my heart, that I am somehow, or, some way, wired to appreciate the stupid (rather than ballet, or, liver pate).   That I cannot only see that it’s all the game of black and white, but, understand that for either side to win would be truly monstrous.   For either side to win would ruin it all.   For either side to win would be the end.

Before I came in from the garden today I decided to do a little patching of some bare spots in the lawn.  Anyone who follows my musings here knows full well the “problems” I had last year with moles turning my manicured lawn into swiss cheese.   Rather than poison, trap or otherwise end their little lives last year through murder I turned for council to the one place that has never failed me.

I watched The Godfather once again and, as usual the way to move forward became instantly clear.  It was after Sonny was hit at the causeway and it fell to Tom Hagen to tell his Godfather what everyone else seemed to already know.  He informed him that his oldest son had been murdered.  Upon hearing the terrible news Don Corleone said this…

“I want no inquiries made. I want no acts of vengeance. I want you to arrange a meeting with the heads of the Five Families. This war stops now.”

Instantly I knew what to do.  I left the moles in peace and met with the shrubs, flowers, trees, insects and birds… and a grand peace was made between us all.   This spring all the moles are gone.  It was when I was spreading some nice soil around the bare spots left by the mole tunnels and raking in some grass seed that it came to me.  I realized that I was getting out of the country just at the right time.  That I was removing myself from the endless blather of the talking heads on television who will continue to go on and on about the Boston Bombing until…. the natural end comes to the story.

What will the natural end be?”  you ask….

Remember the coverage of the police firing hundreds and hundreds of rounds of bullets into the fishing boat the fugitive 19 year old brother had taken refuge in, in some guys back yard?  You will know that the end has arrived when you hear on television that the owner of the boat has shown up at the police station with this question.

“Hey… Who the fuck is gunna pay for all the fucking holes in my boat?”

At the beginning of Chapter One of “The Denial of Death” Ernest Becker writes…

 “In times such as ours there is great pressure to come up with concepts that help men understand their dilemma; there is an urge toward vital ideas, toward a simplification of needless intellectual complexity.  Sometimes this makes for big lies that resolve tensions and make it easy for action to move forward with just the rationalizations that people need.  But it also makes for the slow disengagement of truths that help men get a grip on what is happening to them, that tell them where their problems really are.”

Kiss, kiss

Mrs. N.

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