Were the barbarians happier than us?

A Nietzschean idea has been stuck in my head for the last few days since I read it. The idea goes like this, the barbarians before us were far happier because they did not ignore their instincts.

I think the idea has pestered me because of the strange paradox between development and depression. While the world continues to develop and advance, rates of depression seem to be increasing in turn. Now, it may be that more people are seeking treatment than earlier years and there is less depression, but it is also possible that being increasingly civilized is linked with clinical depression.

The more socialized, cultured, rational and civilized we become, the less we are like we would be naturally, with no input from society. You’ve got to wonder what life would be like if it was lived purely instinctually. Instinctual life may not be the best for overall development of the world, but it may be overall more satisfying for each individual. Nietzsche encouraged a little regression if it led to the fulfillment of more people. And the fascinating link between development and depression should not be tossed aside here.

Our instincts, our deep biological guide, may be repressed at the cost of our overall joy and ability to function in the world to our fullest potential. What if you were truly comfortable with acting and speaking with however you pleased? It would probably be a disaster… but who knows, maybe we need a little bit more chaos.

I did an interesting experiment about 8 months ago, I only said the truth as it appeared to me in real time. I tried to remain completely present during conversations, humble my own biases, and simply say what I thought was the case. It was quite fascinating, and some great things happened because of it, at the expense of my own comfort (probably due to the social programming). I engaged with people on a much deeper level, and challenged views that I would not otherwise challenge. I learned more about my flaws and how to grow. I stumbled forward. All because I was acting instinctively instead of the way culture wanted me to behave. Maybe the chaos of the instincts can be harness for good, as long as we aren’t killing each other…

Hustle it up

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