Jobs, Evolution, and Depression

I created a wordpress blog mainly for the purpose of avoiding my pointless coursework and having an outlet for talking about things I find to be intriguing as well as emotions and how lonely this world seems to be at times. Has a waiter/waitress ever served you and you felt the slight presence of regret and desolation as they served you? They offer up the expected smile and the “How’s that cesar salad doin for ya?”, but you can tell, as they look about thirty, that they had studied something super interesting and ardent for them, or even are studying something super intriguing that they just love to the core, but are having trouble relating it with something that will make some sort of forward contribution to the world and is in need of contributors/has good pay. Being a waiter/waitress makes a needed contribution to a customer’s dining experience, pays poorly, and isn’t remotely intriguing or captivating. Also, it’s difficult to feel as though you’re making any kind of substantial contribution to the world you live in by filling/clearing tables.

Humans long to experience gratification and reward. We also usually seek challenges in order to get to that gratification. This evolution probably came into play when humans needed to put themselves in danger in order to seek resources, gain gratification from those resources, and use that gratification as motivation to find more resources in order to feed themselves consistently. It’s weird, though, because when you’re depressed, you tend to discontinue the challenge-seeking, curiosity, and desire for reward associated with the instinctive nature of most humans and animals. Why does Depression exist?! Nobody had it in the B.C. times; it wasn’t useful!1 It wouldn’t help Grog to get out of that cave and get on that hunting in order to feed his family. So many people have it and it’s getting out of hand. Why?!

Depression is widely considered as an illness, but I’m starting to think (and research is also starting to think) that it’s more of a complex evolution. We already have the basic traits that allow us to reproduce, provide for ourselves, and solve problems. But the more complex problem-solving aspect didn’t always exist. During the dawn of man, Grog might have needed to find a stick in order to create a fire, or other resources in order to create a shelter, but that was the extent of it. Only until recently (in accordance to how long man has existed) have we really devoted ourselves to more complex problem-solving, therefore needed to evolve accordingly. Research is beginning to suggest that depression is linked to that more complex problem-solving. To me, this sounds wild (depression literally causes you to not want to move and to have self-inflicting desires), but also somewhat makes sense. Most depressed people are people who think extremely deeply about their problems. It has been proved numerous times that this kind of thinking is extremely methodical/systematic towards complex problem-solving. When having this kind of an analytical mindset, a depressed person breaks a problem down into smaller components, making each one more tractable and easier to grasp.

I’m confused, because I’m unsure of how all the devastating, harmful effects of depression come with this potential evolutionary trait. They have to be there for a reason; most likely a difficult-to-comprehend one. This kind of scares me, because if this is true, other distorted evolutions could take place in the very distant future. Not that I should be concerned (unless re-incarnation is a thing), but basically, humans are gradually changing into more and more complex beings, physically, mentally, and emotionally. We no longer only need better mobility and improved physical capabilities as much as we did during man’s dawn, although we’ll continue to evolve to the extremity of evolution, until our mental and physical traits can hardly further improve. And we’ll continue until humanity ceases to exist. As long as humanity partakes in activities that have some sort of effect on us, we’ll change in some form, for as long as we exist. This I find fascinating.

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