TED Conversations

Tao P
  • Tao P
  • Vancouver B.c
  • Canada

TEDCRED 50+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

'It is no sign of health to be well adjusted to a sick society' How can we make a healthy society?

There seems to be an ever increasing number of people who are depressed, or have another form of mental 'deficientcy': ADHD bipolar... What is causing this increase and how can we remedy it?
It is my belief that we need to focus our lives around what it means to be human: movement, community and meaningful creative work. Do you agree? What would this new way of life look like to you?

+3
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Oct 3 2013: My own view is that depression is unlikely to be an illness because it has reached pandemic proportions without any tangible pathogen being involved at all - although it must be a reaction to something externally hostile if so many people are suffering and whose numbers are on the increase. If not a pathogen, then what?

    I think the answer to why so many people suffer with depression can only be found in how it reveals itself collectively. (individually is obvously important too, but for different reasons). It begs the question of whether depression is a dysfunctional reaction to something normal, or a normal reaction to something dysfunctional? I think the latter - and if true, it certainly is not an indication of a society fully functional within the traditional sense of what it means to be human.

    Dr Paul Keedwell's book "How Sadness Survived" discusses and questions the subject of where the sickness lies - whether it is in individuals or in society. Excerpts here:

    http://drkeedwell.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=44&Itemid=45

    I think a healthy society is one which embraces the local rather than the global - where faces can be put to names, and where face-to-face contact is the norm rather than the exception. Local people farming local produce for local consumption. Local employment for local people, and restoring the pride in an honest day's work because someone you know down the road is going to benefit from what you've produced - not just some faceless person halfway across the world.

    This sounds like putting society into reverse. Perhaps it is in economic terms, but actually I think it would be a significant leap forward in terms of what it means to be human.
    • thumb
      Oct 3 2013: Why not embrace both the local and the global, with strong local roots and important global sensitivity and connectedness? Why must it be local rather than global?
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2013: Hi Fritzie. Global sensitivity is of course important, but my feeling is that 'the global' has taken far too much precedence over what I loosely term as 'the local'.

        As far as mental health is concerned, I think a close, mutually beneficial relationship with one's local community is desirable, if not essential.

        Today's communities may be geographically close, but they consist of people whose socio-economic and political outlook is almost entirely global - which means someone living next door might just as well be someone living in a far-flung place elsewhere in the world. It's all the more difficult to form close bonds without that foundation of symbiosis, and given that we are social animals, globalisation almost runs against the grain of our own evolution.

        'The global' represents progress, and 'the local' seems retrograde in the modern mindset. I question that mindset on the basis of sustainability - economically, socially and psychologically.

        Returning the modern back to the primitive* may sound like a ridiculous thing to suggest, but would it actually be more in keeping with progress in terms of human well-being, than progress based entirely on global economic health?

        *I don't mean primitive in the derogatory sense, but rather: "relating to, denoting, or preserving the character of an early stage in the evolutionary or historical development"
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: Maybe it is what I see and read, but I see many celebrations of and personal investment in the local. I am sure this varies greatly by city and neighborhood. For some people the local may be their church or school community rather than their specific neighbors.

          When I scan opportunities for volunteerism around town, I see people volunteering near where they live rather than even far across town.
    • thumb
      Oct 4 2013: Allan and Fritzie,
      Dan Buettner, and other researchers, seem to agree that connections with family, friends and the community contribute to better health.
      http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_buettner_how_to_live_to_be_100.html

      It seems like it would be difficult to have "global sensitivity" if we did not have local sensitivity....don't you think? How can we genuinely connect on a global level if we ignore the local level? I observe that people who connect, seem to be connected on every level.....balance....what do you think about that?
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2013: I think some people are isolated and connect mainly via the internet with people who could live anywhere. I have known many such people. It is not that they undervalue local connections but that they are not mobile and not often visited.

        I have known others who are connected only locally and have no personal connection outside a small circle of people who truly matter to them.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: This is true Fritzie. Our world is full of people with different circumstances, preferences and choices:>)

          I personally like the balance of connections locally and globally, including connections via the internet:>)
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2013: You and I are lucky to live in neighborhoods where we can easily make and maintain local connections and to be healthy enough just to head on out the door. I am thankful every day for this.
        • thumb
          Oct 4 2013: Do you think/feel it is only "lucky" Fritzie? I tend to think it is also connected with my choices and preferences regarding my life experience, and how I orchestrate my life.

          For example, I am aware of LOTS of people in my community who choose to watch TV all day, and do not choose to go outside or connect with other people. I know many more, thankfully, who DO connect and participate in community activities.....I perceive it to be a choice on the part of each and every individual.

          I am also thankful every moment Fritzie, and I think that is a HUGE part of feeling healthy and connected.....gratitude....we contribute to a healthy society by "being" as healthy as possible our "self":>)
      • thumb
        Oct 4 2013: I think some people can pick up and move more easily than others. Many people cannot afford to live where they would really like to, because of cost of living, need to find work, and other ties that bind them. Some of where people land depends on where they started.

        Many who live in small towns dream of being able to move to the city but would need to find work there. Many who live in cities dream of moving out of the city but would need to find work there.

        Of course you are right some people do not take advantage of the opportunities that are readily available and could make a different choice.
    • thumb
      Oct 7 2013: May be the task to remain humanity in technological world is the challenge to prove real values?
      This is no challenge to be local if people have no choice. Many ortodoxal cultures try to do it and you can see the results. But to keep humanity having all technologes is the way to growth, includes a hard art to restrict wishes of own ego.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.