Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is depression?“
Depression is an outcome of unsatisfied desires.
We are composed of several desires. If these desires are fulfilled, we feel happy. If they are partially fulfilled, we feel partial dissatisfaction, a state that we live in, and which we have become accustomed to.
We try to neutralize such dissatisfaction in a variety of ways, whether by means of medicines and drugs through to all kinds of entertainments and goals in our lives, and we thus manage to stay somewhat afloat.
There are certain states of depression where we feel a deep, dark and gaping emptiness within, feeling no fulfillment in the present moment, and also see no light at the end of the tunnel in the future either, which is indeed very difficult.
We usually live with hope for the future. We plan various goals for ourselves in order to fulfill our spectrum of desires. We are usually occupied with thoughts about food, sex, family, recreation, making money, gaining respect in society, accumulating knowledge, and some people even wish to acquire particular positions of fame or power. We have developed a smorgasbord of ways in which we fulfill such desires, and they act as distractions from deeper existential questions, letting us live our lives on a certain surface level. However, when they become swallowed by darkness, we become swamped in depression, and we are then even ready to die. There is a kabbalistic saying about such a state: “My death is better than my life.”
The moment we start feeling such depressed states, we then ask ourselves the existential questions that we had previously been able to successfully cover up. At the end of the day, depression is a feeling that leads us to search outside of our usual frameworks to find an answer to questions about life’s meaning and purpose, and we need to experience a certain level of depression in order to soul search.
If we find meaning and purpose in serving our desires for food, sex, family, recreation, money, honor, control and knowledge, i.e. if we are able to enjoy ourselves by either fulfilling these desires directly or by imagining their future fulfillment, then life’s deeper existential questions remain buried beneath this pleasure pursuit. In other words, we find meaning in life’s animate level of existence. If, however, we find no satisfaction through serving such desires, we then experience depression, which is ultimately a sensation that should lead us to actively search for the meaning and purpose of life.
We should understand that our world is a mere springboard from which we need to leap to a higher dimension. We can discover the higher dimension of existence while we are alive in this same world, in our same body.
The process of development through which nature guides us is in order for us to ultimately seek and attain the meaning of life. States of depression appear more frequently and with more intensity the closer we come to transitioning between the discovery of meaninglessness in pursuing the fulfillment of corporeal desires, and the search for higher meaning. In other words, the growing dissatisfaction we feel in pursuing our corporeal desires’ fulfillment is already an expression of our deeper existential questions.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah—a method that was created specifically in order to answer the questions about our life’s meaning and purpose by providing a method for attaining a higher dimension, perception and fulfillment—calls our corporeal desires beyond the fulfillment of mere necessities a “help against.” It is because the emptiness that we either currently or eventually discover in these desires pushes us to seek life’s true meaning and purpose beyond our animate existence.
Based on a Kabbalah lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on October 2, 2016. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.
Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash.