Depression — the value of life
Depression is not something I’m deeply familiar with because I accept life for what it is. I do what I want to do when I can and I do what I have to do when I have to do it.
One of the things I like to do is observe the world and to think about what I see. A habit that often leads to a depressing a thought, balanced in the main by thoughts of joy and thoughts that I simply find interesting to pursue.
Anyway to the point of this short piece, one such recent thought prompted by our global response to the Covid19 pandemic was:
How can I be depressed at the thought of saving so many lives?
One would think it a source of joy that the world finally seems to be so concerned with the avoidable loss of life and it’s not that I don’t see this, I do.
But I see it out of the corner of my eye, my gaze is fixed elsewhere.
Instead, the truth for me is that I would rather pluck a single child out of poverty than save those who have experienced the joy of a long life full of opportunity — even if that life be my own or those closest to me whom I love most.
Of course in truth it is more complicated than that, I would rather we did so much more to give all a long, happy and fulfilled life; it seems within our collective gift and yet I recognise that we are so far away from that. So to me it seems to come down to a choice.
So why do I place the value on the one rather than the other in this imperfect world that we’ve made?
I think I know the answer but I will at least hedge my bets in an attempt to paint as clear a picture of my reasons as I can:
Perhaps it’s because I still endeavour to see the world through the eyes of the child and I feel strongly that innate sense of powerlessness that the child must feel because I feel it myself.
Perhaps, this feeling is made worse because I have the mind of a well educated man and understand far better than them the full scale of the injustice that exists, that explains why help is not readily at hand. Indeed why instead threat is often so much closer.
Perhaps most of all because I feel the hypocrisy of it all, being very much a part of and benefiting from today’s civilised human society.