Friday, November 04, 2005

Another book on the "to-read" list.

Not like that list isn't already huge (note the stack in my closet - with the exception of 2, they're going to the library)... but there is a new book out about President Lincoln and his depression, called Lincoln's Melancholy, by Joshua Wolf Shenk. has a great review of the book and ties it into recent books on the subject of depression and creativity. It has some interesting insights concerning depressive realism - meaning that depressives shed the natural protective wall around our self-esteem and see the world as it really is: random events where we exercise minimal control. In Shenk's book he states:

"One cognitive symptom of depression might be the loss of optimistic, self-enhancing biases that normally protect healthy people against assaults to their self-esteem. In many instances, depressives may simply be judging themselves and the world much more accurately than non-depressed people, and finding it not a pretty place."

See? Cynicism isn't bad - I'm a realist, not a depressive. Also, great minds in history tend to be depressive, because we can focus our little energy on one thing and do it exceedingly well (Lincoln on law, VanGogh on art, Woolfe on writing) - granted, the less-interesting things in our life suffer, but we are important members of society.


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