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I have lost all hope for the future.
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I have lost all hope for the future.:

I'm asking for help here once again because no one I talk to can give me an answer I deem satisfactory, though I fear there may be such a thing.

Over the past months I have been growing increasingly worried about not only my future but that of the human race in general. I fear as if a combination of the year of my birth along with some poor choices have doomed me to a life of near perpetual suffering. Though things are quite comfortable for me right now, I can't help but trap myself in thoughts of horrors to come. Everything from the potential of the current global economic situation becoming the new normal or even worse, the growing scarcity of resources as well as climate change seems to be bringing humanity to the brink of collapse. It truly frightens me that people can still have children since my visions of their future all involve fighting for survival in a barbaric wasteland. Even today I keep hearing discussions of people, even members of my family wanting to retreat to some farm and eke out a purely subsistence based means of living. I'd rather die than be subjected to that. In fact, if it weren't for my family, I imagine I would have killed myself long ago. There are several times in which I wish I died in an accident or saving someone's life just so it would somehow "exonerate" me. I have talked to a therapist who believes I may be depressed but I refuse to believe it since 1) most of the time I don't feel crushing sadness, 2)I can go for long periods of time without thinking this, though it always returns and 3)It just seems so LOGICAL to me. I mean, I honestly cannot find any logical argument for things getting better. "Oh, the world's been through stuff like this before" - Past performance doesn't necessarily predict future performance. "Society will change for the better" - INTO WHAT? Etc.

Worst of all, if only this utter hopelessness MOTIVATED me into fighting back it would be worth it but it doesn't. It just makes me want to give up. I feel like I'm being forced to play an accursed game I have already lost.

Is "Hope" an inherently irrational concept? Or is there any reason why we should have hope?
 
 2 Carciofus, Tue, 6th Dec '11 4:02:03 PM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
The future — your personal one, and more so the world's — is a very big place. Yeah, some unpleasant things will happen. And some good ones too, and chances are that both your fears and expectations are almost entirely wrong (just like anyone else's — I'm not trying to be patronizing here).

Furthermore, the game is not lost. Nor is it won. The game has barely begun.

edited 6th Dec '11 4:02:33 PM by Carciofus

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 3 Excelion, Tue, 6th Dec '11 4:04:29 PM from The Fatherland
I only hope that all the horror visions of the future won't happen in my lifetime. Dunno if they will.
 4 Pink Heart Chainsaw, Tue, 6th Dec '11 4:04:37 PM from Land of Rape and Honey
PinkChainsaw
Seeing how we are trying to research new energy and scientific develop meant is still going on. I don't really see the point of not being hopeful. Yes there is an economic crises but it'll end sooner or later. Yes we are losing energy but people will find ways of using air, solar or other such energies. The market will provide what the people want and people want technologically advanced things. The people who get all paranoid and go into substance farming are being paranoid.
"If there is a hole then it's a man's job to thrust into it" - Ryoma from New Getter Robo
We're Having All The Fun
I don't want to come across as mean or flippant, but that just sounds like the kinda shit I got all up in a tizzy about when I was a stupid and angsty teenager. Is the world gonna end? Who knows and why does it even matter? Enjoy life as it is and be a good person, that's what is really important. Existential wank is just pointless.
All I do, is sit down at the computer, and start hittin' the keys. Getting them in the right order, that's the trick.
 6 The Earth Sheep, Tue, 6th Dec '11 4:20:35 PM from a Pasture hexagon
Christmas Sheep
Well, as far as the Economy goes, all of the currently accepted economic systems that I know of believe this kind of downturn is not only predictable, but necessary. Economies are cyclic: they never stay great and they never stay terrible. Besides that, things are looking up by most accounts, or so I have heard (none of my own research, sorry).

About the depression thing, I'm no expert, but I think all of those three things are actually symptoms of depression.

The other thing is, society has always been awesome. It's moved further and further forward, and keeps doing so. It keeps evolving in new and exciting ways, and what's more, we get to live in a time of just such change. As I'm sure you've heard, the night is darkest just before the dawn. If you pay attention, you can see the brilliance of humanity all over the place. Sure, it's possible that the Western world will collapse and never be the same again. But, so? The Western world was never even that great. Cultures in Africa that have never had any contact with the outside world before just a few decades ago are getting clean water and plentiful food. They're starting to industrialize, and such progress can only mean new, incredible innovations. Honestly, who cares if the United States fall apart and go the way of Rome or Greece? Things have to die to make room for the next generation. Things certainly sucked for a while after the collapse of Rome, but it wasn't long before the Islamic empire gained huge amounts of power and became the next big thing, arguably even better than Rome was. And then the Islamic empire fell to make way for the Renaissance in Europe, whose monarchs died off just in time for the United States to take up the mantle. I'm not selfish, I'm more than happy to let the next place take the yoke. Maybe it will be the Arabians again. Maybe some Southeast Asians. Or maybe, just maybe, it could be somewhere that no one ever thought of before. Who knows, Ethiopia could begin the next Golden age!

In closing, take a look at this. Every single pixel-sized star in that picture is an enormous ball of fire, the purest expression of art there ever was or can be. It's beautiful, it's astounding, it's brilliant. And guess what? You are a part of it. The entire galaxy is spinning, and as far as we know (but we're not sure! The whole place could be teeming with life and beauty we've never even imagined!) we have it all to ourselves. And even if we screw everything up and everything goes exactly like you say it might, it will keep on going. Beauty isn't limited to us, and no matter how evil we ever are or become, we could never hope to even effect the beauty that is all around us.
Still Sheepin'
 7 Pink Heart Chainsaw, Tue, 6th Dec '11 4:22:45 PM from Land of Rape and Honey
PinkChainsaw
[up][awesome][awesome][awesome][awesome]

You said it better than I could have sheepman.
"If there is a hole then it's a man's job to thrust into it" - Ryoma from New Getter Robo
Let me give you some perspective: imagine how your grandparents must have felt when they were about your age. Throughout their childhood they likely had to skip eating two or three days a week so that their siblings could have their turn to eat (Great Depression was a That One Boss to this recession's Mook), and instead of snow days they had polio days - when students refused to go to school because a polio outbreak could cripple them for life. In their teenage years they probably worked at a factory full of toxic fumes making bombs and artillery shells for World War I, and in their young adult years millions were dieing in World War II. Even after that peace did not come, as they lived in constant fear that the world could be annihilated by nuclear Armageddon for the next forty years.

They also lived to see a man walk on the Moon, Martin Luther King Jr. free an entire people from tyranny, the fall of the USSR and the extinction of polio and smallpox.

There has been troubles in the past, there will be troubles in the future - but there has been great triumphs, and there will be great triumphs. And yes, we face some dangers not like anything seen before - but we also have within us the ability to face these challenges, and to triumph over them as well.

 
^ Shit sucked back in the day, man up is not the attitude that got problems solved in the past, you know.
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
[up]That wasn't my point. I was trying to show that people have managed to get themselves out of even worse situations than we find ourselves in, so we should be able to do the same.

It's like when my family worries about how "bad" the extremism in politics is these days. I point out that we once had a party dedicated to sending black people back to Africa and throwing the Irish out of the country, the KKK was considered a legitimate social institution, and the Alien and Sedition acts basically outlawed freedom of speech. And we fixed all those problems, so surely we can handle a little thing like this current tiff between the right and the left.

edited 6th Dec '11 4:35:57 PM by MyGodItsFullofStars

 
The current tiff, as you put it, is a manifestation of decades of extremely exploitative capitalism. The recession is a symptom, not the problem.
And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
[up]Maybe this is better?

In China, they do not ask “how many people live in that hut”, they ask “how many mouths live in that hut?”. Hundreds of years of extreme population density have made the Chinese people astutely aware of a problem that, until recently, has largely been ignored here in the West. I call it the Calorie Problem, and it is the single most important challenge that our species has ever faced. If we succeed, our survival is assured, and humanity will enjoy a long and spectacular existence. If we fail, the only future left is one of constant war and perpetual famine. What is the Calorie Problem? Consider this simple truth: Earth can only feed so many mouths. In other words, there are only so many calories to go around. When you eat, you are taking calories from one animal or plant and making them your own, to the detriment of your meal. As more and more humans are born, we need more and more food, which leaves less and less food for everything else. You exist at the expense of polar bears, acacia trees, and celery. The problem is made worse by the fact that humans are not only a relatively large species, but we require more high-energy food than most animals of equal size. We are the gas-guzzlers of the natural world; our powerful brains require an enormous amount of energy to run properly, so our diet requires fats and complex sugars – rare nutrients that take a lot of calories to make.

For hundreds of thousands of years, we have slowly but surely used up more and more of Earth’s available calories. Because large mammals require more calories than small ones, some of the first species to go extinct were giants – wooly mammoths, cave bears, elephant birds. After these initial extinctions, things slowed down for a time. We invented farming, our population stabilized for the next ten thousand years, and while some species, like the dodo, still died out, we mostly behaved ourselves.

That all changed in the 1930s, when a German scientist discovered a way to create fertilizer by compressing nitrogen directly from our atmosphere. The Haber-Bosch process changed the course of human history. No longer did farming depend on the availability of guano or fertile soil. We could plant what we wanted, wherever we wanted, so long as we had access to a source of fresh water. Earth was ours for the taking, and we took it. In the last fifty years, we have cut down more forests than in the last ten thousand. Just seventy years ago, there were nine healthy subspecies of tiger; today only six barely cling to life, and before you children graduate highschool, all will almost certainly be extinct in the wild. Fifty percent of the world’s arable land is now farmland. We have sucked the Aral Sea, once one of Earth’s largest lakes, bone dry. These facts are part of a larger and alarming pattern. To be blunt, we are on the verge of the utter annihilation of our planet.

The next hundred years will be the most important time in our entire history. If we do not find a solution to the Calorie Problem before century’s end, I fear our world is doomed. Our population will continue to grow even as the ecosystems which sustain us collapse, until there is nothing left but a sea of humanity and rows of grain. It is easy to sit back and watch as we cut down the last tree, shoot the last bear, and poison the last fish, but it is not so easy to explain to our sons and daughters why we thought this was okay, or even sane. Such a future, one of eternal regret for the destruction of our planet, will destroy our souls, or drive us mad. We cannot live in a world filled with nothing but ghosts. If the tiger dies, so do we.

Shall we all then follow in China’s footsteps? Force everyone to have one child, and only one child? Gas the elderly and the feeble? Kill the different and the strange? Was Orwell right; is the future of humanity that of a boot stomping on a human face — forever? God help us all if such a future ever comes to pass!

Still, I have hope for our kind, because I believe in our love for the Earth and I believe in the power of the human imagination. There is a small chance for us to save not only ourselves, but all of the species which we are the caretakers of. We are the only animal on Earth that has ever looked to the stars and yearned to one day reach them. I say that now is the time we do so! Simply being lords of the Earth is no longer enough! The future of our species, of all species, depends on the conquest of space! For every chafe of wheat we grow on Mars a mangrove tree can grow in Bangladesh, for every Venusian hog an Amazonian peccary survives. By moving our industry and our agriculture off-world we can relieve Earth of the burden of humanity. What more need be said? I choose to save our planet! I choose to save ourselves! And I choose to do so without bringing unnecessary harm to ourselves and to our way of life!

I have faith in our species, but in particular, I have faith in the United States of America. We are the sons and daughters of Columbus, the brave and the bold! Our ancestors crossed stormy seas and frozen glaciers, and now we must do the same! It is time for mankind to spread to the stars, and it is up to America to take that first step. Now is the time to plant the stars and stripes on the red soil of Mars, now is the time to dig in our boots for the long haul on the Moon, now is the time we plant seeds on every world we can reach! We must do this because we alone have the power and the desire to make sustained colonization a reality in this century. Who topples dictators and protects the innocent? We do. Who feeds the hungry and brings medicine to the sick? We do. Whose hands lift the injured from the wreckage? We do. If America wants to be a leader, then we need must lead in this as well!

There are those who question the wisdom of sending men and women into deep space. They say that it is too expensive, that it is too dangerous, that we should fix our problems at home before we go next door, and that there is nothing out there worth visiting. To them I say that a tree which is too afraid to grow new branches will surely die. If humanity is content to remain earthbound forever, then we are a failed species. If the United States abandons spaceflight, then we are a failed nation. This is our final hour. This is our one last chance to beat extinction. We cannot hesitate.

 
I have faith in our species, but in particular, I have faith in the United States of America. We are the sons and daughters of Columbus, the brave and the bold! Our ancestors crossed stormy seas and frozen glaciers, and now we must do the same! It is time for mankind to spread to the stars, and it is up to America to take that first step. Now is the time to plant the stars and stripes on the red soil of Mars*, now is the time to dig in our boots for the long haul on the Moon, now is the time we plant seeds on every world we can reach! We must do this because we alone have the power and the desire to make sustained colonization a reality in this century. Who topples dictators and protects the innocent? We do. LOL Who feeds the hungry and brings medicine to the sick? We do. Whose hands lift the injured from the wreckage? We do. If America wants to be a leader, then we need must lead in this as well!

*Must be more of that freedom-loving colonial spirit that topples dictators, eh?

-10

Your ancestors were greedy bastards who dispossessed entire nations of their land in fits of megalomania.

edited 6th Dec '11 4:53:58 PM by kashchei

And better than thy stroke; why swellest thou then?
Definitely not a weirdo
On the subject of clinical depression: As has been stated above, what you describe does seem rather like clinical depression, particularly the lack of motivation. Depression is different than just normal sadness turned Up to Eleven. In addition your "logic" justifying your outlook seems to be similar to that of someone who doesn't want to be disproven, and you seem to insist that people justify their optimistic viewpoints beyond even unreasonable doubts. I'm sorry if that came across as condescending, but I feel it needs to be said.

On the subject of the state of the world: Yes, a lot of things are bad. A lot of things are always bad. However, a lot of things are better than they've ever been. For example, technology is better than it's ever been, and is constantly moving forward. Crime is consistently going down in the developed world, and has been since the 80's. People are gradually becoming more tolerant of each others' differences. There are always things that are good. You just have to look for them.

On the subject of hope: There is nothing irrational about hope. Hope is self-sustaining and is justified by it's own existence. As long as one person has hope for a better future, they will work for that future, increasing the possibility that said future will come to pass, leading to more hope. It's what they call a positive feedback loop, and the beauty of a positive feedback loop is that, once it gets going, it's really hard to stop.
 15 Barkey, Tue, 6th Dec '11 5:08:48 PM from Bunker 051 Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Well OP, I look at it this way:

The worse things get, the closer they are to imploding. If the system implodes, the scale of the world does so as well, and thus your ability to effect your life and society drastically improves. If society falls apart, you go back to thinking on a communal level, and not a national level.

The skills I've learned through my life so far aren't really all that useful in the real world. They'll get me a job here and there, but if shit hits the fan and society takes a nose dive, I suddenly have skills that make me extremely valuable, a commodity. With those skills I'd want to affect my society for the better, to actually matter in the scope of my small world, and try to forge something better than previously.

The worse things get, the more hopeful I become. The worst outcome for me is a long and slow decline where we die with a wimper, and not a bang.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 16 Nick The Swing, Tue, 6th Dec '11 5:14:20 PM from Ya really wanna know? Relationship Status: Dating Catwoman
BFS Enthusiast
The future will change for the better. If its into something horrifying, but better, I welcome horror and dismay and will remain awed as people flee in terror.

I honestly have good hopes for the future.
 17 Lost Anarchist, Tue, 6th Dec '11 5:20:54 PM from Neo Arcadia Itself
Violence Is Necessary!
If anarchy and violent revolution exist (no matter how much people tell me to stop wishing for it), I'll be very fucking happy.

Positive change came from those things anyway, IMHO...
This is where I, the Vampire Mistress, proudly reside: http://liberal.nationstates.net/nation=nova_nacio
I've had depression, and I can tell you that 'crushing sadness' doesn't happen to everyone. Another thing you often get is an extremely clear and very rational view of certain parts of the world: namely, the bad ones.

It's not an unrealistic view; what you see is accurate as far as it goes. It's just that what you are seeing misses out all the good stuff. Because one of the things depression does is take the hope out of your life. And without hope it's very difficult to carry on.

Are there any reasons people should have hope? Yes, absolutely. Tons. You just can't spot them right now. There was a similar set of economic dislocations during the Industrial Revolution - but we're in a better situation now than we were then. We are using up resources - but we are also learning to use less resources as we realise they are not replaceable.

Consider the resources taken to make an e-reader, sure. But then consider how many resources it took to make those 1000+ books that the e-reader replaces.

Climate change: the worst-case scenario is just that. Worst-case, what they call 'low-confidence' predictions. The high-confidence scenario is not that everyone starves to death, it's that malnutrition increases somewhat. This isn't good - but fighting for survival in a barbaric wasteland is unlikely.

Major war: I'm from Europe. Been there, done that, live in the house that got built in the 1950's because the previous one was bombed to smithereens. Wars are a) crap and b) survived by many people.

When I had depression, I had thoughts of how much easier things would be if I was just dead. The world seemed to have no future. I was spending a lot of my time reading books on the collapse of civilisation, and how people should flee into the wilderness. I had no optimism, and I didn't feel I could do anything to change my situation. And my reasons for this were all very rational: my life was crap, the world situation was its usual self, nuclear war was a real possibility, and there wasn't much I could do about it.

Your situation sounds awfully familiar.

My suggestion would be to try an experiment. Go to your therapist. Take whatever treatment they're suggesting. Give it six months. If you haven't noticed an improvement, then you were right and it wasn't depression. If it does, you'll find that you start to notice the positive things about life again - and instead of feeling hopeless, you'll start to work out what you can do about the world's future.

I have hope because I've been through bad times and I now know from experience that things do get better. Right now you're in the middle of the bad times - and don't yet have the knowledge that comes from the experience of surviving them.

So all I can say to give you hope is: hang in there. Because if you do, it will get better.

edited 6th Dec '11 5:48:20 PM by Bluesqueak

It ain't over 'till the ring hits the lava.
Thread Hop

Gee, tough break, chum. /facetious

I think you're being a bit hysterical. I doubt that your visions of a 'barbaric wasteland' are going to happen any time soon. We are far from the brink of collapse.

That's not to say that change would be bad, but it's not like we're teetering on the edge of destruction yet.

edited 6th Dec '11 6:04:56 PM by ElderAtropos

 
 20 Major Tom, Tue, 6th Dec '11 6:21:09 PM Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
anarchy and violent revolution

The latter does not instill the former for very long if at all. Anarchy itself is incompatible with human society in numbers beyond 10 people. It will fold upon itself at the first strongman to emerge with a spear or gun, or be taken from the outside by somebody who knows better.

The allure of anarchism lies largely with the young and ignorant who have no concept of how complex systems like governments work.
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
 21 Lost Anarchist, Wed, 7th Dec '11 8:19:16 AM from Neo Arcadia Itself
Violence Is Necessary!
[up]I'm tired of govt' failing as much as most of you guys...

My future looks brighter, either way, when I see myself armed and deciding my own destiny, instead of complaining/ranting about pure noise that can't easily, but is worth doing because it's so right, be resolved for those depressed by it/angry about it by fighting back.

History may repeat itself, but those who fought back against tyranny/corruption are those worth remembering, anyway.

That's why I suggest violent revolution/anarchy to those who feel society has hurt them at worst.

Too bad no one is that brave... It's a pity, really. Or are they?!

edited 7th Dec '11 8:20:22 AM by LostAnarchist

This is where I, the Vampire Mistress, proudly reside: http://liberal.nationstates.net/nation=nova_nacio
Violent revolution is pointless if you have no intention of securing your own power afterwards. If you're doing it simply to seize control, fine, but any delusions about a truly egalitarian society resulting afterward will be dashed by the practical concerns that come out of running a revolutionary government.

 23 Inverurie Jones, Wed, 7th Dec '11 8:30:00 AM from North of the Wall. Relationship Status: And they all lived happily ever after <3
'80s TV Action Hero
That our current system is knackered beyond repair is pretty much beyond doubt. That times of transition between systems have historically been very messy is also beyond doubt.

Apart from that, though...well, the future's up for grabs for anyone strong willed enough.
The owls are not what they seem.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Guys, I'm not entirely sure that 'storm Parliament' is the ideal advice to give to someone with clinical depression. As much as some posters here might wish otherwise, bloody revolution is not the answer to all life's problems.

OP, see a therapist. They'd be able to help you much more than we can.
Freedom of speech includes the freedom for other people to call you out on your bullshit.
 25 Excelion, Wed, 7th Dec '11 8:33:23 AM from The Fatherland
In closing, take a look at this◊. Every single pixel-sized star in that picture is an enormous ball of fire, the purest expression of art there ever was or can be. It's beautiful, it's astounding, it's brilliant. And guess what? You are a part of it◊. The entire galaxy is spinning, and as far as we know (but we're not sure! The whole place could be teeming with life and beauty we've never even imagined!) we have it all to ourselves. And even if we screw everything up and everything goes exactly like you say it might, it will keep on going◊. Beauty isn't limited to us, and no matter how evil we ever are or become, we could never hope to even effect the beauty◊ that◊ is◊ all◊ around◊ us◊.

Whether or not something is beautiful kind of depends on the observer. If we go extinct and there's noone to make the observations you just did, does it even matter if things keep going? Doesn't the universe only exists because conscious beings can observe it?

(Not that I believe we are the only conscious beings in the entire universe.)
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