Michael Laitman, On Quora: “Why do teenagers get depressed so frequently?“
Teenagers are at an age where they start looking for meaning in life. They feel that they’re beginning their lives and consider what directions it should take.
In today’s conditions, this line of thinking brings them to the realization that the directions on offer are meaningless and empty.
Many professions that society respected just a few decades ago have lost public interest. The romanticism of being a scientist or an artist today has become overshadowed by a “make money” mindset. When money making becomes more important than visionary and courageous aspirations to accomplish goals worth striving for, then life loses its meaning.
Today’s teenagers have no ideal worth striving for, i.e., to agree to suffer through all kinds of burdens, training and study in order to achieve something that both they and society consider as great.
Teenage years are those in which we typically want to apply efforts in order to reach worthy goals, and we develop our self-esteem and pride by identifying with a direction in life that supports our direction.
But today, the goals we once strove for have dimmed in importance.
When I was a teenager, I had multiple options laid out before me, and was split between various choices on what to become.
Today, however, teens still hold a need to develop toward a great and respectable goal, but it dissolves in a general atmosphere of disinterest.
On one hand, it is a time of great pressure, with desires running rampant within, and on the other hand, the teenage years have become a time when feelings of emptiness and distaste in the world develop.
Teenagers thus feel lost when no dream inspires them. The indifference and cynicism that arises from rising meaninglessness, emptiness and depression among teenagers can then lead to destructive tendencies. That is, they feel like they want to strike back at the world and at society that offers them nothing, but which simply obligates them to drag on.
Therefore, on one hand, we bear witness to increasing disastrous phenomena like mass shootings and youth suicides, and on the other hand, more and more drug use and immersion in video games and social media as an escape.
Today’s youth are a lost generation. The older generations offer them nothing, and they have nothing to offer themselves.
Why has such a dull situation come about? Also, is there any light at the end of such a darkening tunnel?
This situation has emerged due to humanity reaching a new stage of evolution, in which our competitive-individualistic pursuits are revealed as empty, in order to open a new dimension of existence: one where the emphasis shifts to positive connection among society, or social unity.
While we are in a transitional phase, we experience the greatest darkness, similar to how the greatest pains of childbirth take place right before the baby exits its mother.
However, if we held a wider perspective of human development and our current period in the cycle, we would then see that we are becoming pressured to undergo a major consciousness shift: from a competitive, individualistic and egoistic paradigm to one where we will increasingly have to learn how to live and breathe together as a single interdependent human society worldwide.
If we realize the new tight state of connection that we are being driven toward, and start adapting ourselves and our goals to it, teenagers and adults alike, then we will feel all those motivational and inspirational feelings we once had reopen, and on a whole new level.
The increasing depression among teenagers is in fact a sign of the younger generation becoming readier to undergo the fateful shift to positively connect.
Therefore, adults have a responsibility today to enable the direction to positive connection in society, to create a supportive social environment that the younger generations can fit themselves into.
Enabling positive connection means shifting our attention and appreciation onto positive connection in society. That is, by respecting acts of giving and contribution to society, consideration and care for others, over the respect for making money and gaining power, we will create an atmosphere where more and more people, including teenagers, will want to also contribute positively to society.
Teenagers will then have a newfound fuel by which to aim for adventurous new heights.
Realizing positive connection as a leading value, and then communicating, influencing and educating positive connection throughout society, is indeed a struggle, but one well worth the effort.
It is because, by connecting positively, we enter into balance with our next stage of evolution, and that balance will fill us with new sensations of happiness, motivation, encouragement, support and care, filling in the holes that our current paradigm faces.
Above photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash.