Hacker Newsnew | comments | ask | jobs | submitlogin
electromagnetic 677 days ago | link | parent

It would be simple to create a program to log the usage and recommend the user seek counselling, without having to log thousands of peoples internet usage.

I don't get why 1) everyone has to be HAPPY, and 2) why the high ups seem so intent on making sure we're HAPPY.

Here's reality: life can be utterly fucking shitty. People get depressed. Then you get over it and life goes on and eventually someone will die, or your S.O. will dump your ass and you'll get depressed again. Then you get over it.

Fund proper counselling problems to reach out to kids at high risk of suicide and stop giving a shit if everyone is happy. 99.9% of depressed people aren't going to lynch themselves otherwise there wouldn't be a human race.

A very slim number of people get depressed and try to commit suicide. Normally there are a shit ton of signs that everyone around them ignore. If everyone around them actually paid attention to these depressed people before they became suicidal, you'd cut the suicide rate to 1 in 1000 of what it is right now.



DanBC 677 days ago | link

> Here's reality: life can be utterly fucking shitty. People get depressed. Then you get over it and life goes on and eventually someone will die, or your S.O. will dump your ass and you'll get depressed again. Then you get over it.

There's a difference between being reasonably unsatisfied with life because of poor life situations (grief, for example, is normal) and reactive depression (grief won't go, and now you're depressed not grieving) and other forms of depression. (No rational reason for depression but you are anyway.)

> A very slim number of people get depressed and try to commit suicide.

Compared to what? Suicide rates have been dropping in the most of the UK, but it's still a significant public health issue.

-----

zaptheimpaler 677 days ago | link

in many cases, depression is a mental disorder, not just the opposite of happiness. It's often caused by easily correctable physiological problems. In these cases, it makes sense to correct the underlying factors. In addition, a huge percentage of college students report being depressed. I still disagree with monitoring peoples internet activity, but for privacy reasons, not the reasons you mentioned.

-----

disgruntledphd2 677 days ago | link

Huh? Any chance you could supply me with some citations for the easily correctable physiological problems that cause depression?

This is not snarky, I am genuinely interested, if a little unbelieving.

-----

zaptheimpaler 676 days ago | link

You can just look at the non-psychiatric section of causes of depression on wikipedia -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_(mood).

-----

philwelch 676 days ago | link

Sure, just look at the selectively published research that drug companies use to market antidepressants.

-----

kijin 677 days ago | link

> without having to log thousands of peoples internet usage.

> why the high ups seem so intent on making sure we're HAPPY.

You just rediscovered the age-old correlation between a desire for totalitarian control and a preoccupation with superficial happiness. The theory is that the best way to ensure that existing structures of power and domination remain in place in perpetuity is to ensure that everyone is happy. Because happy people don't complain loudly. In Brave New World, the unhappy Bernard was the only insider who challenged the norms of a society where everyone was supposedly happy. In that book, the authorities try their damnedest to keep everyone happy, occupied, and productive so that there will be no occasion for some depressed dude to start mulling over the deficiencies of the system. Because people tend to see those deficiencies more clearly when they're unhappy and dissatisfied with the status quo.

Seriously, we need depressed folks, autistic folks, OCD folks, and all these other kinds of people in our world in order for progress to happen. Happy people won't fix what they don't think is broken!

-----

readme 677 days ago | link

Very insightful.

I have to point out one little oversight though:

> Seriously, we need depressed folks, autistic folks, OCD folks, and all these other kinds of people in our world in order for progress to happen. Happy people won't fix what they don't think is broken!

It almost sounds like you're implying that people are either happy, or have one of n classifiable psychological disorders. The reality is that the disorders are statistical classifications that fit an infinite number of shades of the human condition. Umbrellas.

Personally I consider myself hapilly-awake? I guess I know we live in a very suboptimal world but I am happy to exist and do my best to change what I can about it.

-----

kijin 676 days ago | link

Thanks for catching that oversight, I didn't intend to imply that people with currently acknowledged mental disorders are unhappy. Hey, I'm an aspie and I'm not terribly unhappy about it, either. But I sure am dissatisfied (i.e. unhappy) with the way the world around me is.

The kind of happiness that "higher ups" want to propagate, on the other hand, often involves accepting the status quo and just trying to fit in.

-----

electromagnetic 676 days ago | link

I think you accidentally highlighted a problem our society, at least our media, tries to portray in that "depression is a mental disorder". You only have to see the commercials for anti-depressants to see this.

The world becomes very easy for government when you can lump every unhappy or disgruntled citizen as having a mental disorder, so you can medicate and silence them.

Governments are in the very uneasy position of being who the peasantry get angry at. Feudal lords understood this danger very well. The middle-eastern and north-african dictators have been learning this. How long before our own politicians have to learn this lesson before we get our fair and responsible government back?

It won't take guns to topple our government. It will take people protesting. If you can unite a fraction of a populace, you can topple industries and topple governments simply by orchestrating where your dollars go. Want an end to walmart and their policies? Get 10% of their shoppers to start buying from Target or whomever who treat their workers better, or support local communities better. If it happens country wide, walmart has too much equity sunk into brick and mortar that they can't rapidly restructure. 10% less income from stores across the board mean stores taking losses, means stores breaking even. Lay off staff and you lose more customers. Close stores, and you lose more customers. Even if you close stores, it's going to be 6 months to a year to get the equity back into working capital.

If 10% of the population with held taxes. That's 230 billion dollars in unpaid taxes. Governments will change quickly when you can't do anything to penalize these people. Fine them? They wont pay, and there's way too many to effectively jail, and if you do you lose even more taxes from what they would spend on food and goods.

-----

readme 676 days ago | link

Exactly. Given some of the things that happen in our world depression is a perfectly normal human state. Get meds if you want them, but don't feel like you're not normal just because you're not smiling.

-----

SilasX 676 days ago | link

I thought something similar myself, but what I don't understand is this:

If the powers that be just want to keep us happy to paper over the shittiness that their regime brings, why are they so adamant about banning drug use? If I were in charge, I'd see that as a cheap way to buy the population happiness of the kind that makes them not want to rebel.

In fact, in the Brave New World world, that's exactly what they do -- give everyone drugs so they're happy enough not to challenge the SQ.

So what gives?

-----

kijin 675 days ago | link

In Brave New World, everyone uses drugs to get happy, the drug itself is relatively safe and doesn't hurt productivity, and everyone thinks it's perfectly normal to use drugs.

In the actual world, only a subset of the population uses drugs frequently, only a subset of available drugs can be used without serious side effects (we haven't invented the perfect Soma yet), and there is a lot of moralizing about drug use. Under these circumstances, nothing the government does will make everyone happy, so the government optimizes for the happiness of the voters who matter the most: conservative parents who get all worried about their kids doing ecstasy.

-----

robyates 677 days ago | link

Reminds me of how Lincoln dealt with depression: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2005/10/lincoln-...

-----

TheoLib 676 days ago | link

Although some geniuses have mental disorders, don't make the mistake of thinking that all people with mental disorders are geniuses or have special insights - we're just run-of-the-mill people that run the gamut of abilities and personalities. And "happy" is not the right word to use for depression. As Peter Kramer said in his book, AGAINST DEPRESSION, the opposite of depression is not happiness, but resilience. If you suffer from true clinical depression, you can appreciate this distinction.

-----

oconnor0 674 days ago | link

Agreed. Depression isn't about happiness versus sadness. Depression is about feeling so overwhelmed by everything in life, about every problem and issue being the same "volume" in your head and being unable to prioritize. This leads to a feeling of helplessness and impairment and withdrawal from decision making - a cycle that perpetuates itself.

-----

koningrobot 677 days ago | link

If everyone is happy, then nothing is broken.

-----

Produce 677 days ago | link

I'm still trying to figure out why we need higher ups in the first place.

On a less anarchistic note, we need to start questioning the mental health of our society as a whole (the abyss might stare back at you but you stared first, stick with it).

That there is an obsession with everyone being in a particular state is indicative of anxiety. That it cannot comprehend the fact that our emotional states are the products of our physical and social environments indicates denial.

It's just like family therapy - no single member of a family can be mentally ill in isolation - the whole family needs treatment. So it is with humanity - the sky high levels of reported anxiety and depression are not isolated to the individuals suffering from them, they are a result of the very fabric of our society. It's the way we look at and treat each other, it's the inequality, the prejudice, the hatred, the litigation, the constant shifting of blame and severe lack of responsibility that's endemic in our culture. THAT is what's making people feel bad.

Treating individuals is patching the symptoms and not addressing the root causes.

-----

koide 677 days ago | link

I just wanted to point out that non depressive people is not necessarily happy people and have hard times when life's shitty, they just have emotional rewards (not only emotional punishments) when confronting (and overcoming) the shit.

-----

larrys 677 days ago | link

"99.9% of depressed people aren't going to lynch themselves otherwise there wouldn't be a human race."

Exactly. But you know the way society is. 99% of the men or woman who cheat don't kill their spouse but that info being uncovered certainly increases greatly the suspicion that they committed the crime.

-----




Lists | RSS | Bookmarklet | Guidelines | FAQ | DMCA | News News | Feature Requests | Bugs | Y Combinator | Apply | Library

Search: