Life in the UK. Guest writer: Kenny Munro

I suffer from depression, and often it’s stalking my soul, just waiting to pounce on my livelihood at the most inappropriate times possible. This hasn’t been particularly easy for me to deal with, and when I’m made to feel like I’m selfish for having depression, I can’t help but think that nobody in any frame of mind would choose to feel this way. Depression is a curse I did not choose to have, it causes me to feel sick to the pit of my stomach as I scramble for any reason to carry on living. Throughout my life, I have flirted with soothing thoughts of suicide; taking comfort in knowing.there’s a way out to some mystical out-of-life plane, even if that means abject nothingness.
The body language that we show can only do so much to capture and portray the essence of that which is inside of us, psychologically, and most people wouldn’t even know that you have depression, as we put up a protective shell around us. We act, and often we’re pretty good at it; deep inside, however, you feel like there’s something missing, and you know there’s still a reason to exist, but you’re not quite sure what it is. Life is about adversity, struggle and how you deal with it. Without the doom and gloom, we may never be able to appreciate happiness when the situations we face naturally allow it.
Like an anchor, you feel the depression dragging your soul into a seemingly irreversible ocean of oblivion, but I’m here to tell you that there is a way out. Talk to people, open up and attempt to help yourself medically.
Gradually, I’m improving, but like many illnesses, depression can’t be cured ny simply yielding to its symptoms and pretending it’s not there

People standing in line for the foodbank do not feel entitled, they feel hungry. Feelings of entitlement come with an accumulation of wealth.
People end up needing the foodbanks in order to survive for one reason or another, usually a reason that was outside of their control. We’ve created a government that punishes the poor and applauds the rich, and I find this totally abhorrent. We’ll have a government that will happily spend money on creating penance for the unemployed (through workfare programs), yet do little to help those below the poverty line (almost a third in some pockets of the UK).
Work is prohibitively challenging for certain people to come by because often the work is simply not there. Why must we punish people for being unemployed when there is simply no alternative for them? I lament that the government should really be investing in creating opportunities for all, but instead, well, you know what the DWP is like..
Oscar Wilde was on the right lines when he spoke of this, you can read what he wrote on this matter by way of a simple Google search (“offering thrift to the poor”)

First, I do suppose the brain is still something that we humans know relatively little about.. I mean we can study axons, dendrites etc.. But what does that tell us about consciousness? Well, what was meant that it’s kind of like the flight simulator game on a computer, we cannot hope to learn anything much about the flight simulator (it scope and limits, how it works) by studying the computer’s innards while it is running Flight Simulator so we cannot hope to learn much about consciousness by studying the brain’s innards while it is conscious. If one wants to know about Flight Simulator and its many properties, the best you can do is study its performance — in a sense, there really is not anything else to Flight Simulator than its performance. So, in a way, consciousness is like computer software, and should be studied innards via the realm of psychology.. Neurobiology just ensures that the supporting system is working ok, and at least we can see that bit!! That’s the issue, psychology deals largely with things that come from that which we can’t see.. I mean we van point to the medulla obolongata, the hippocampus or the brain stem, but we can’t point toa ythought process.
More metaphysically, the subject of whether or not humans truly exhibit an ability to think is the subject of much contention! Do we have free will within a, seemingly paradoxically, deterministic system? Is the universe objectively deterministic? Do higher planes or dimensions exist?
Think about it for a moment, it’s strange, physicists on the string theory front propose there are 10 dimensions, whilst those on the m theory front propose 11 dimensions.. Neither can solve the singularity paradox

When you’re young, you’re full of potential in the gaze of a capitalist society, but you don’t really heed that. You know, most teenagers probably blow their money and time on things like recreational drugs, comic books, bottles of lambrini and hardly any invest it in something that screams conformity and maturity. It’s not until you get into your 20s, your parents are no longer there to support you financially and you realise you just can’t be like that anymore. As a teen, if your manager in a job criticises you for leaving a dirty plate in the dish, you might just tell him to fuck off, and quote Marilyn Manson as you do so (I’m so out of touch now), but as an adult, your middle fingers must stay in your head, for you need the job for the money, and you know even having a job in the first place is a fate against the odds.
You then start to age, quickly. You gradually becomedull and closed minded, and you start to believe crap like David Cameron is good, there is only Labour and Tories to vote for, depression is a choice, you can’t criticise religion incase you offend someone, the policeman is your friend and any kid with a skateboard is parallel to a suburban gang member of some abysmal outskirts of the state of New Jersey. You become comfortable with being comfortable, and you live a life of work, watching soaps, drinking tea as you whine about bus timetables with a casual acquaintance and you lose your passion. Unless, you don’t allow your middle finger and healthy hatred of what is internally injustice with society and culture to become ground away by social convention. Then, you become a pariah, who is totally alone in the world. Most people your age at this point would look at someone like me, who doesn’t currently work for money as lazy/uneducated. You’d look at me with my crazy hair, and think “what an irresponsible badass”, and you assume because my bedroom is messy, that I am just simply lazy; well, maybe I am but I think I’m more like a French nihilist, who just can’t see the point when we’re all going to succumb to the clutches of death anyway. Why judge people for bloody subjective things which don’t bother you anyway? What makes you think that being a certain age bestows some wisdom upon you? At what point in your life did you become a poet, artist or philosopher who was in contemplation of the universe around them? Why offer such pedagogy? Anything of sense is an unheard truth from that age group, because apparevtky that guy is crazy/depressing unsure emoticon just look at the public perception of celebrities like Russel brand and Morrissey!
You criticise young people for wishing to.Purdue degrees like philosophy, sociology or Tibetan history because those degrees don’t give you lots of money; “join the army, Billy! You’ll make a whack of money and fight for British freedom as you serve her majesty!” hmm, how exactly do soldiers give us freedom? Anyway, I digress, why must certain young people of a certain demographic sacrifice these wishes on the altar of what is profitable? With the right frame of mind, minimum wage in the UK is sufficient for a happy, healthy life. Why must we reduce life to a system of numbers? I don’t wish to be another myopic drone who thinks in terms of calories and tv schedules.
All in all, you age and you start to realise that any worry you had as a teenager is heaven compared to the sorrow of now; that pain was hormonal – this one develops a sombre, intellectual weight to it. You realise the inevitable finality of the human condition, and the core of your essence becomes pulled down by whatever intellectualism you retain into a murky, jaded oblivion. The world is cruel, the world makes little sense and we are all just little bursts of photons upon the flame of the candle that is the earth.

Quite obviously, we probably all have memories of secondary school that include things like shuffling mindlessly from one class to the next, demotivated teachers who got a kick out of making teenagers feel puny and worthless; and archaic rules which make little sense under informed scrutiny.
How does it inspire education? How can one teacher attend to the needs of 30 teenagers at once? Psychologists reckon there are 4 style of learning, and a Scottish secondary school only really appeals to 2 of them at best. I know teachers are taught about a teaching tool called differentiation at university, but most never bothered implementing it at the school I attended. The local authority was happy to accept such a substandard quality of education under the name of “limited resources.” A teacher is meant to inspire a student to the path of self discovery, but many teachers I had didn’t seem to bear that quality in their arsenal.
Our education system is not geared towards the notion of expressing free thought, opinion, individual creativity or many of the subjects you’d like to learn (for example, I would have loved to learn about philosophy at secondary); rather, it’s like “here’s 10 facts – you must memorize them! There’ll be a test next week!” that ain’t learning! Learning for me is about circulating a confluence of ideas and opinions around in my head until I think of an opinion of my own, and use that to shape my worldview – and how I impact the world through the causality that stems.
I think we also lose sight of the idea that there are many intellectual gifts, many of which can’t be measured accurately by a test at school. Even then, a test is a measure of how much you know about one artificial arena, once. To get caught up in that kind of system was rather depressing for me.
I think school also overlooks the value of self-directed pedagogy and discovery, coupled with reasoning, which means many of us don’t question our ideologies, political beliefs or stances on certain controversial opinions, and we accept “statement” as fact. For example, on Facebook I’ve noted quotes by Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allen Poe being attributed to folk like 50 cent and Kanye West; I mean, one Googlesearch would eensure the accuracy of your belief, wouldn’t it?
Learning should be about quenching your curiosity from the sea of knowledge; not a stressful, institutionalized act of jumping through a mesmerized series of slightly changeable hoops.

If you haven’t already, then I highly suggest that you read the suicide note of Leelah, a 17 year old transgender who committed suicide. This suicide note made obvious, noncryptic references to Christianity, and the various attempts that Leelah’s Christian parents made in order to cure leelah of her “problem”.
Within my mind, this provokes anger towards the American government and society in general. Often, people entrap themselves within the lala box of ignorance, and it takes a tragedy for them to peek their heads out and see what is happening in the world. Being a transgender person is psychologically normal, and leelah’s parents – after leelah died – said that they did not “support his lifestyle choices religiously.” the fact that a male pronoun was used is shocking, in my opinion; if you know anything about transgender people, then you’ll know why I think in this way.
Also, I’m sorry but psychology – and science in general – does not support your discourse of religious thought, Leelah’s parents. Your daughter was trying to tell you something, and instead of seeking the support she required in order to be a happy, healthy teenager, you drove her to suicide by making her feel guilty. What was she to feel guilty for? It’s not a crime, and I’m glad that the American government is finally waking up and is taking action against “correctional therapy”, since I found such to be abhorrent when I was reading the relevant newspaper article this morning.
Separation of church from state is absolutely necessary, in my opinion. Following the Charlie Hebdo attack, Pope Francis suggested that religion should never be open to criticism. Why? Every other aspects of life is open to criticism. Not everyone finds the 5 pillars of Islam, the 10 commandments ofmount sinah or the deities of some remote tribe to be pious or righteous. In fact, sometimes these things place the rest of society at an unnecessary risk.

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