Prominent economists and legal scholars argue that the difference between a recession and a depression is largely psychological, and also political, but not necessarily technical in terms of statistical . If this is true, which I believe it is, based on the mindset of people I know whose incomes have not changed, but who have altered their spending habits because they are nervous about the “recession”, then we may in fact be in a “depression” – not just a recession. People’s spending habits affect businesses; business earnings are one of the biggest factors affecting the stock market’s view of companies, and poor earnings drive down stock prices; everything is interconnected.
The New York area is one of the toughest places economically right now; everyone seems to know at least two or three people that have been laid off these days. Well, in the spirit of wallowing in depression, the make their own home videos with older friends and relatives comparing the 1920’s Depression to our current recession. Now, a lot of people say that an economic depression is psychological, and so this idea isn’t new. Its been around. But if you want to understand , arguably the most influential daily newspaper in the United States, is now encouraging people to how it happens – an actual mechanism by which the popular media is deepening our depression – look no further than the New York Times. They are implicitly telling their readership: “These are HARD TIMES. Tell us about your HARD TIMES.” This might seem to be a unique, creative and progressive invitation from a liberal newspaper. But it is really a toxic message for a spiritual person to digest. If you believe that we attract what we think about, you will understand that we are now being asked to actually CREATE negativity in video form, instead of merely worrying about it. Talk about inviting negativity into our lives! Now, I don’t blame the New York Times for fear-mongering, because that’s how they get people to buy newspapers. (Ok, fine: no one buys newspapers; but its at least how they get people to read them). But this is not a diatribe against New York Times viewpoints or editorial decisions.
What I actually want to accomplish in this post is to use a glaring example of the subtle psychological cues that media and other external sources embed in our psyches. We must accurately identify, and completely reject these kinds of things if we want to cultivate a strong, stable and peaceful emotional state. It is very simple: I personally refuse to be in a Depression. I reject things like this. Because I will not participate in depression, there is no Depression in my life, no matter what happens to me. I refuse to use economic indicators to make excuses, justify poor decisions or wallow in negativity. (More on that phenomenon, which I call “Mental Pizza” later).
This was a blatant example. The really tricky part is identifying the much more subtle messages we get from people and media, and how they combine and build to affect our mindsets on a regular basis. One thing that Rethnea has taught me, for which I am eternally grateful, is how vigilant you have to be about cultivating a positive mental state. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of doing this.
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