The troubled individual of our age

For the short period that is our recorded history we have identified myriad of diseases. The causes of many of these ills were unknown until the development of science came along. But nowadays besides the countless evils that are deleterious to our body the great majority of humanity suffers from a disease of a quite different nature, this virus is psychological. This problem has been touched by many people and I will here briefly mentioned a few that come to mind. Albert Camus did not clearly recognized the cause but was able to recognize the problem and he gave it the name of the Absurd (The Myth of Sisyphus). The absurdity by which this disease is manifested has enslaved us in convulsion. Philosopher Alan Watts thinks the cause of this discomfort is a sense of mistaken identity. Basing his metaphysical principles in the teachings of Oriental philosophy, he thinks the human being is alienated from himself and his external world because we take ourselves to be an “isolated ego locked up in a bag of skin.” The true self is not this illusory ego but the whole cosmos. This, Watts thinks, is the cause of our incorrigible dismay. The discoveries in the fields of sociology suggest that the individual has lost his identity, whatever this is, by the growing enterprise of capitalism and globalization. For this reason, the contemporary human being feels worthless and insignificant in the whole scheme of things. Buddhism, in its very intricate doctrines, recommends meditation as a healing source for the wounds created by the chattering of the mind. The problem of thinking too much can be the cause of our interminable sufferings. Psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl thinks that the motivating force in human beings is the search for meaning. Our inability to find an everlasting meaning for our daily drudgery may be the cause for our bewildering states of mind.

This disease is not apparent at all times nor is it clearly definable. That is why we hardly speak of it and most of the times we ignored it and select different causes for its origin. If I had to give it a name it would be called the Invisible Enemy. And we are fighting almost daily against this unknown adversary, throwing punches in the dark so to expect recovery from our repulsion for this life. The motives of this invisible enemy are unknown, his presence is only detectable by his fury which is measured by our general discomfort. Suffering too much from the Absurd can almost lead you into insanity. In fact, it is almost acceptable to assert that recognizing the Absurd as a real feature of reality is your ticket to lunacy.This paradoxical sentiment can be traced in all aspects of our human life. The moment when all past, current and future endeavors seem empty of purpose, your aspirations and your struggles are viewed from above as vain, and the insipid idea of surviving is felt to be downright ridiculous. We feel as if we have no control and there are no answers to be found. I am sure that most of you may have had this feeling, however transitory it may be. But imagine to be under this spell day in and day out. Suicide seems to be the last solution but even then the idea of suicide seems worthless to the captive of this invisible enemy. No, the person goes on, feeling the awkwardness of living for the future and rebels against it but unfortunately he’s labeled by the eyes of our society as a madman. Perhaps it is time we start sympathizing with these alienated people.

As with all diseases the first step is to identify the cause of the disease. Since this matter is kind of elusive we must explore it from all different points of view. It is necessary to bring into view the findings in philosophy and metaphysics, psychology and sociology, religion and spirituality, and the sciences of the human body. Perhaps one day we will be able to answer this impending question; who are we fighting against?