Thursday, November 25, 2010

#14 Thanksgiving

Here's an underexplored phenomenon. Why do depressed people love Thanksgiving? My take on this is that it's the one holiday that allows connection to others (family and society), without any (religious) preconditions. And especially because it's done over food (free home cooked food = unconditional love). To explain the problem depressed people have with other, religious, holidays, I think we need to explain the problem depressed people have with religion in general.

Belief in Judaism/Christianity, and acceptance of Jewish or Christian ideals, means believing in a higher purpose to our lives. If you feel empowered to take on this challenge, because of a healthy self-esteem, each step is looked at as a sublime mission only you can fulfill. This creates a feeling of supreme accomplishment, which creates a positive feedback system ("One Mitzvah causes another Mitzvah", in Rabbinic terminology).

If you feel deficient (low self-esteem), the "challenge" is usually seen as something completely different. It is something you must do to gain God's (because of Transference) approval and acceptance. You are resentful that you aren't accepted as you are and must do x, y, and z to gain approval, while simultaneously fearful for your eternal soul if you don't. Since religion necessarily posits itself as the point of existence, yours has become a living hell. So, enjoy Thanksgiving while you can!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


  1. Hi. It's me -- Catholic Mom from FrumSatire. Got here from your link from same.

    You are right about Judaism and Catholicism but Evangelical Christianity has this completely the other way around. No matter that you're lower than pond scum, God loves you and redeems you and wants you to spend eternity with him in heaven. Even if you stay pond scum pretty much until you die. And he doesn't love the greatest saint or person who spends their entire life doing mitzvahs one bit more than he loves pond scummy you. Takes a Catholic a long time to figure out this theology, but once you do it makes (internal) sense. That's why Evangelicals do a lot more converting than Catholic or Jews. Especially among the depressed! :)

  2. See, Catholic Mom -- it's me, Mahla, by the way :^D -- the Evangelicals would claim that someone can be a horrible child rapist and do whatever he wants until the very last minute he spends upon his deathbed, and all he has to do is confess to a Priest and he will go to Heaven.

    I am not agreeing with that argument one bit, but that's totally what an Evangelical would say against the Catholic faith vis-a-vis pond scum.


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