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  #1  
Old 09-05-2010, 11:07 PM
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Default Deconstructing PAD

i have had the strong emotions, longing, nostalgia, and sense of home-fulness from Avatar; I also have over twenty-five years of experience working in the field of self-development and self awareness, which I have been using to try to help some people who have posted here and at A-F regarding depression. The condition of PAD is one that I find complex and fascinating, and I also think it is one that is hard for many people - younger people especially - to understand. I want to help.

I've been depressed before, and I know what that's like, too. Some people - who it would be easy to envy - never get depressed. My brother, for instance. But I can do something he can't, which is relate to people who have depression, and show them a way out. So it's a blessing, and also because I have learned so much about how the human heart ticks through being on this path.

I see a lot of friction between one group of people who argue that PAD is a wonderful thing they want more of, and a larger group of people who cannot understand why anyone would want more of something labeled "depression." Let's see if we can bring some light to that rift in this thread.
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2010, 11:23 PM
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Youth and young adult years especially are often times when we are most keenly searching for meaning, for something to feel deeply about. If that doesn't happen for a long time, then we can feel so numb that any feeling is welcome. There is a certain nobility that it is easy to find in depression. Victorian poets were famous for exalting it. If the only alternative is to go back to not feelinganything, well who wouldn't want to stay there, to perpetuate the depression, to do anything to return to it?

People are rationalizing animals, which is a blessing and a curse. Because it is too damn easy to make a bad rationalization, and create problems. You've only to look at how many intellectuals have "rationally" committed suicide to realize that. When you combine that with the fact that people hate more than anything in the world to be wrong, you have a recipe for trouble. I am really good at bad rationalizations. One reason I am in the field of self-help is to leave myself no place to hide.

If you've been looking for meaning, searching for feeling, then PAD is a gift, a signpost, and a teacher. It is showing the way.

It is not the destination.

When you were in school and you had a favorite teacher, at the end of the year it was time to move on to a new set of teachers. If you had been allowed to cling to that teacher because they were so good, though, you would never have had the opportunity to discover new teachers who were more appropriate for where you had progressed to.

There is something beyond PAD.

Feeling is better than not feeling. But feeling depressed is not a state to aim for.
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Old 09-05-2010, 11:33 PM
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When I first experienced PAD, I recognized the potential for getting caught in a downward spiral. That's something I do all too frequently as it is, so I avoided it. There are "good" negative emotions and then there are "bad" ones, and the difference surrounds how we perpetuate those feelings.

But I did not want to lose the benefits of PAD. Avatar sends such a powerful message about the environment that it's easy to get depressed about how bad things are. But what good does that do? It's like you're stuck in a hole, and your friend passes by, and you say, "Help, I'm stuck in this hole!" And he looks in and goes, "Oh my god, that's horrible. Look at that awful place you're in. You must be feeling terrible. How do such bad things happen to good people? The world is unfair..." and on and on, when what you want is for him to shut up and throw you a rope.

I can do more when I'm in a resourceful place than when I'm depressed. And much needs to be done. So I work at being in a resourceful place. And I do mean work. Emotional state is like physical state; some people are blessed with a great metabolism and can eat like hogs without gaining weight; the rest of us gotta work out. I gotta work out. I am doing some kind of inner work several hours a week. So I look to how I can use PAD to my advantage.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:13 AM
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Interesting posts...

As for cheering up the PAD sufferers, better you than me since I'm pretty much like a robot
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:46 AM
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Great post.

If only I could write like this and not get overly frustrated...I am sorry to anyone I offended during any of the talks about PAD. I just feel passionate about the topic due to my own experiences with Avatar-depression. I've come a long way since depression, and it pains me to see such great people try to become depressed. Of course, not everyone 'tries' to become depressed - it just happens. In that case, I want to help. But like I've said many times before, trying to become depressed is moving in the wrong direction. Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone during their hard times. I wish you all happiness.

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Old 09-06-2010, 05:09 AM
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(16 miles, caveman - your status - ... nice work!)

Many people never get past what I call the "superstitious" understanding of emotions. They think that feelings are visited upon them by random unknowable causes. Sort of like, "It's snowing; the gods must be angry. Better make another virgin sacrifice" or whatever.

The majority of people never get beyond believing that emotions are caused by their circumstances. They experience event X; therefore they have feeling Y. If they feel Y, it must mean that whatever event X preceded it caused it. They ascribe all sorts of grades to certain types of events: If this happens then I'll feel this bad; but if this happens then I'll feel this bad. Sounds stupid when put that way, I know, but the fact is, everyone does it. Breaking that pattern even when you're aware of it is very hard; most people aren't aware of it.

Then they get mad at other people for not feeling the same way in response to the same circumstances. Either they believe those people are overly dramatic for feeling worse ("Geez, man, all that happened was the guy cut you off... no need to make a federal case out of it"), or they believe they are in denial for feeling better ("Your girlfriend broke up with you and all you can say is, 'Oh, well'? You must really be disconnected"). Whether they're in denial or not cannot be determined from whatever the circumstances are.

Learning that there's a process behind feelings that you can have a say in is what I like to call the beginning of wisdom. Not easy, but few things worth having are.
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Old 09-06-2010, 08:06 AM
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Its wrong to try and influence the thoughts and feelings of another simply because it bothers you.
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:12 AM
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...And what if that influence brings forth happiness?
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu View Post
I've been depressed before, and I know what that's like, too. Some people - who it would be easy to envy - never get depressed. My brother, for instance. But I can do something he can't, which is relate to people who have depression, and show them a way out. So it's a blessing, and also because I have learned so much about how the human heart ticks through being on this path.
I never denied that you were... As for people who are 'never' depressed, I really do not envy them, at all... I find it's one of the best ways to get real perspective on life - yours and other people's.

Quote:
I see a lot of friction between one group of people who argue that PAD is a wonderful thing they want more of, and a larger group of people who cannot understand why anyone would want more of something labeled "depression." Let's see if we can bring some light to that rift in this thread.
I've said this before... but this is why personally, I never liked describing it as 'depression' simply because it's so much more, and it IS a positive feeling, a change for the better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu View Post
Youth and young adult years especially are often times when we are most keenly searching for meaning, for something to feel deeply about. If that doesn't happen for a long time, then we can feel so numb that any feeling is welcome. There is a certain nobility that it is easy to find in depression. Victorian poets were famous for exalting it. If the only alternative is to go back to not feelinganything, well who wouldn't want to stay there, to perpetuate the depression, to do anything to return to it?
Not that I am feeling only depression, but I know EXACTLY the feeling... I lost almost all emotion due to people who did not understand thinking there was something wrong and it took me months to feel like myself again.

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If you've been looking for meaning, searching for feeling, then PAD is a gift, a signpost, and a teacher. It is showing the way.
I feel the same way.

Quote:
It is not the destination.
I completely disagree. It can be if you want it to, same as anything in life. You keep telling yourself you're 'happy' - if that's what you want your destination to be, good for you, but don't tell other people it is what they need to do. For some people, that isn't it either, and it's just another stage like what you consider depression (I don't)

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When you were in school and you had a favorite teacher, at the end of the year it was time to move on to a new set of teachers. If you had been allowed to cling to that teacher because they were so good, though, you would never have had the opportunity to discover new teachers who were more appropriate for where you had progressed to.
Truthfully, I never had a favourite... Each was something different - can I say any one was better or worse than another? Not in that sense.
Also, To keep your metaphor going, you still have the old ones for some subjects.
You do not NEED to abandon something that gives you meaning and hope just because somebody else wants you to be different.

Like I've said before, I really doubt you feel that way... but Pandora IS my home. I can't suppress thoughts of it... There are still things on Earth that keep my interest, make me 'happy' (although not in for forced sense you want), but for me, it's not a way to distract myself.

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Originally Posted by caveman View Post
Great post.

If only I could write like this and not get overly frustrated...I am sorry to anyone I offended during any of the talks about PAD. I just feel passionate about the topic due to my own experiences with Avatar-depression. I've come a long way since depression, and it pains me to see such great people try to become depressed. Of course, not everyone 'tries' to become depressed - it just happens. In that case, I want to help. But like I've said many times before, trying to become depressed is moving in the wrong direction. Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone during their hard times. I wish you all happiness.

CVMN
No offence taken about what most of you say... What I don't understand is how you think that PAD is something to be lost...

How would you two feel if your home was somewhere else, and whenever you were thinking of it, someone tried to tell you hat you couldn't because that was negative?
That's what you're doing - intentionally or not.

Truthfully, everything I do have that keeps me going is somehow related... ToS, my friends (who are really close enough to be family rather than friends... certainly know more about me than my IRL family ), the understanding... of how I feel like I should be on Pandora, of the loneliness, of not knowing what the future will be... It's not something you find everywhere.

Everything is based on Avatar. Why should I pull the carpet from under my feet?

Truthfully, I find people who have convinced themselves 'I'm happy' to the point that they actually believe it to be one of the most depressing things there is.

I AM happy... I have changed so much, this year has surpassed the last 19 before it in learning about myself and everything else, in having my first (ever) TRUE friends, in doing things I REALLY never thought I'd be doing, looking for real love, actually taking the time to stop and think about where I was going in life... all completely unexpectedly.
I hope now you can see why I don't want to risk that.
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  #10  
Old 09-06-2010, 10:41 AM
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Here's my stance on the matter.

The conclusion i'm coming to is that there's a lot of definitions of 'PAD' being used and that truthfully, one party doesn't really understand what the other's definition is.

PAD does not necessarily mean 'depression'. (even though the name would seem to suggest that) what I actually see it as is a drive, a want, a need for a better place. The depression then comes from the seemingly insurmountable odds that loom when you try and consider achieveing those aims. The people who want to preserve PAD do so because it's what drives them onwards. It's not because they have some kind of enjoyment out of being depressed. That would not make any sense in anyone's case. Playing a risk game with such an intense source of inspiration and inner determination is not wise. If you 'win', then you could become the happiest person on Earth. If you lose, the outcome could be very much different. Why risk all that you have gained thus far, when you can further build on what you already have?

I suppose, the true solution would be to change your mindset. But if that mindset is completely different to what makes you, you then surely all you're doing is destroying your substance and building it in an image of another. Building it in an image that someone has told you to - I.E. lying to yourself about who you really are.

You can't teach people how to feel.

That is something that is only learned by the self.
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Old 09-06-2010, 11:06 AM
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Well said, Fkeu'itan.

I think people enjoy PART (I'm using Mune's term from now on, I'm done with this PAD crap, it bastardizes the entire feeling) because it helps put everything in order. It helped me discover my true home (Pandora), my true people (the Na'vi), what I want from the future (a life free of masters or kings, in the wild), and it helped me solidify my world view (a rather cynical one, albeit).

I'm able to look down at the masses, see them squabbling over the pettiest things (religion, economics, politics, same bull**** we've been fighting over for thousands of years), and I take pride in the fact that I'm more sure of my life than 99.9% of them will ever be with their's, and that makes me happier than I've ever been in my whole life. Why would I want to give that up?
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  #12  
Old 09-06-2010, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angel Aihwa View Post
Its wrong to try and influence the thoughts and feelings of another simply because it bothers you.
If the "it" here refers to the other's thoughts and feelings, I quite agree. Being bothered by someone else's state would be an indication of some more work to be done on neutrality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fkeu'itan View Post
PAD does not necessarily mean 'depression'. (even though the name would seem to suggest that) what I actually see it as is a drive, a want, a need for a better place. The depression then comes from the seemingly insurmountable odds that loom when you try and consider achieveing those aims. The people who want to preserve PAD do so because it's what drives them onwards. It's not because they have some kind of enjoyment out of being depressed. That would not make any sense in anyone's case.
Actually, laying aside for the moment the question of whether PAD = depression, it's a characteristic of depression that people do enjoy being depressed. If "enjoy" is the right word. But part of them does want to keep it going. I agree that it does not make sense, but a great many things about emotional states in general do not make sense when you try to apply logic to them. Being married sure teaches that
Quote:
I suppose, the true solution would be to change your mindset. But if that mindset is completely different to what makes you, you then surely all you're doing is destroying your substance and building it in an image of another. Building it in an image that someone has told you to - I.E. lying to yourself about who you really are.
You raise an interesting question, and the heart of many people's dilemma. What makes me me? And should I change it (or can I)? Eastern philosophies in particular teach that we are not our thoughts, or our emotions, or our beliefs, etc. We might say, "But there's nothing left" and I suppose a Zen master would say, "Exactly!"

What, to you, is "mindset"? How does it shape your identity?
Quote:
You can't teach people how to feel.

That is something that is only learned by the self.
I agree with the second statement but not the first. Oh, you can't really do it with information and lectures and books, but you can teach that kind of growth experientially, there is a whole science behind it. Look at Outward Bound courses, for instance.

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Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
I completely disagree. It can be if you want it to, same as anything in life. You keep telling yourself you're 'happy' - if that's what you want your destination to be, good for you, but don't tell other people it is what they need to do.
"Telling myself I'm happy" weren't my words. However, from later in your post:
Quote:
I AM happy...
Wonderful! So what's a better term to use for what you're holding on to than "Post Avatar Depression"? Or do we need to somehow reconcile depression as being an essential component of happiness? If you're not depressed, it surely doesn't serve you to use a label that says that you are.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Sempu View Post
Actually, laying aside for the moment the question of whether PAD = depression, it's a characteristic of depression that people do enjoy being depressed. If "enjoy" is the right word. But part of them does want to keep it going. I agree that it does not make sense, but a great many things about emotional states in general do not make sense when you try to apply logic to them. Being married sure teaches that
Well then, if the 'depression' in question is in fact what pushes the person forward, what (in a perverse kind of way) actually gives them hope and keeps them happy, is there any need to try and remove it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu
You raise an interesting question, and the heart of many people's dilemma. What makes me me? And should I change it (or can I)? Eastern philosophies in particular teach that we are not our thoughts, or our emotions, or our beliefs, etc. We might say, "But there's nothing left" and I suppose a Zen master would say, "Exactly!"
Although this may be true, i'm not sure if removing all thoughts, emotions and beliefs is a good thing. It's what truly makes you who you are and allows you to be a useful piece of the puzzle. It allows you to bring to the table something new, a way that perhaps someone else may not have even considered. All because you're opinionated, you have your own views. If you have the ability to accept and respect other's views too, then you can form a more complete picture of the world.

I think the key is not to strip back what you are, rather, to take in more of what everyone else is made up of, so that you may see through other's eyes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu
What, to you, is "mindset"? How does it shape your identity?
Mindset, to me, is the filter you see the world through. But the important thing is, that's your filter. Your skew on things. I'd say it's better to see things through your eyes, in what you percieve to be true, than see things through someone else's, who's influences are infinitely different to yours.

The mind and the way it works is influenced by so many things. What may hold little importance to one can hold an impossible amount more to another, and trying to apply a blanket approach to any group of people, no matter how small the number of people is, will never fundamentally work as the 'teacher's' experience of life will be never be the same as his student's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sempu
I agree with the second statement but not the first. Oh, you can't really do it with information and lectures and books, but you can teach that kind of growth experientially, there is a whole science behind it. Look at Outward Bound courses, for instance.
What I see here is people using PAD to do exactly that. To learn. Not through an organised medium, but by learning to See (for want of a better term)... They're using their varied life experience and incorporating it to form a more of a complete picture of the world. I think that Avatar brought forth a viewpoint that many here wouldn't even have considered Pre-Avatar. A viewpoint so vastly different and beautiful by comparison that they now want to fight for it. (Might I add that they are morals that are more than worth fighting for.) what they see though their eyes is not what they feel should be, and if PAD is the force behind this want for a better world and not just to 'make do' with what they have, why should anyone work to take that away from them?

Humankind is, by it's very nature, aspirational. And if the aspiration for a better world comes from just one thing, one feeling, isn't that spark of hope and determination worth saving, no matter how dark or dim it seems?
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Last edited by Fkeu'itan; 09-06-2010 at 01:55 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2010, 04:32 PM
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One question, throughout this whole discussion I hear the most is:

"If these feelings allow me to see better, if it has done me much good, why should I take that away?"

It might seem that I wish everyone to drop Avatar-related-depression/feelings. I (in a sense) don't. I will explain, first let me explain my perspective:

Just around February - March I started to notice something about the members on these Avatar sites. There was a similarity. After much discussion on several threads, I concluded that I didn't know exactly what it was. But everyone seemed to agree, that they and everyone else could be categorized in the word dreamer.

To me, that was the perfect fit. We are all dreamers. And through continuing these discussions, myself and several others agreed that someday soon, would be the day of the dreamer. The day when every beautiful and creative mind captures the heart of the world and resolves every conflict through love and peace.

So at this time, many people were done with their depressions and seemingly ready to move on. Ready to capture the world and make a difference. I hoped many of the discussions would actually change from Avatar, to things like the environment. And it did to some degree. So this change in interest, to me, was a sign of growth. The dreamer community was growing from the inside out, and maybe tomorrow would be our day.

At the time, and until last month, I was always on Avatarforums. Hardly ever on TreeofSouls. On AF, the seeds seemed to be planted. Everyone was off doing their things. Members were leaving everyday, but I wasn't disappointed, I was happy to see people fully recovered from depression, and moving on to bigger and better things. But soon I saw the community support page on TreeofSouls, and became more active, trying to help people where I could.

Many of the discussions were about struggles within people's lives. Many of the people describing their difficulties with modern life, society, work, the environment, a hunger for nature, a thirst for adventure. And recently, many about PAD.

Depression is natural in this world. There is so much pressure, so much...bull****. It's almost good to feel depressed at some point, it shows you're not completely brainwashed. And depression can be a powerful tool if you let it be one. Let it be a force for self-change, self-realization, and ultimately motivation. You can use this tool to build on top of it. Build something beautiful, with that motivation as the foundation. Let it be the start of a new life, one that will take you places and make a positive impact on the world around you.

But I believe trying to become depressed is another issue. Remember what I said about us being dreamers? I don't want to see that vision disappear. One of the very core members, Stanly, posted a PAD thread, and I haven't heard from him since. Is that what we should aim for? Feeling that bad about ourselves? That doesn't serve our cause.

All those people who post negative things about the world - use that as a goal. Depression, or "the great awakening" is the start, and the end is achieving those goals that otherwise make you sad.

I am not trying to take away the feelings associated with Avatar, although I agree with Sempu. What I am trying to offer, is the idea of using those feelings as a stepping stone for something else. Avatar was an awakening. All the dreamers, awake in one moment in time. THAT is a potent mix. With all the problems out there, I feel like the only type of person capable of handling them is the dreamer. We should use this time wisely.

And that is why I am most disappointed to see others 'waiting for PAD to kick in'. We just spent 8 months opening our eyes. What purpose will another round of depression serve? We're already awake. We see the problems this world faces. We know what kind of world and what kind of life we seek. So why not go out and get it? Take action. Some of the same people who claim PAD is good, are the same people who complain about problems in their own lives, and problems that exist in the world around them. I can't help but to think that dwelling on these emotions, and not letting them build into something greater, is preventing any solutions to arise. So I'm saying that, I think, from my own experience as someone who's been there, that you should use those emotions as a base, and build up. And in doing so, I believe many of the problems we face will see a solution. But if you want to see a solution, you have to seek one.

I'm sure most of you have read my spiel about happiness. Everyone is an individual, yet I believe there are a few general ways in achieving happiness that work for everybody. Things like finding love, appreciating what you have, not what you don't have - all of which lead to happiness, but are individualized as those can apply in different ways for different people. I believe by turning PAD into something more, something empowering for yourself and the world around you - you can become very happy regardless of what planet your on.

And that is my perspective.

So back to the original question: I want people to be happy. I want people to achieve their goals, make a difference and reach their potential (assuming they want to). And I think purposefully becoming depressed is counter-productive to these things. However, like I said, use PAD as a foundation for something more. I'm not trying to take it away, but offering it as something to build on - and by doing that, I think you can achieve those things^.

Sorry for the long post, thank you for reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Human No More View Post
Truthfully, I find people who have convinced themselves 'I'm happy' to the point that they actually believe it to be one of the most depressing things there is.

I AM happy...
I don't have to remind myself that I'm happy. That is an inaccurate conclusion you have made about me.

And if you are happy, then none of my post should really apply to you. However, I find it interesting how you post this, say you're happy, yet seem very sad and lonely on the community support pages. I guess you could be happy about some things and sad about others. But either way, it is a wrong conclusion you have made about me. And in many ways, reflects yourself.
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  #15  
Old 09-06-2010, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Fkeu'itan View Post
Well then, if the 'depression' in question is in fact what pushes the person forward, what (in a perverse kind of way) actually gives them hope and keeps them happy, is there any need to try and remove it?
It comes down to whether they feel happy and fulfilled. We're talking about a conflict between different unresolved parts of the same person here; that creates suffering. One part wants to keep the depression going; another part wants to be happy and content.
Quote:
Although this may be true, i'm not sure if removing all thoughts, emotions and beliefs is a good thing.
Oh heavens, why try and remove them? What a futile and pointless exercise that would be. I'm saying, those things are not who we are. They are things we have, like clothes. They can be changed without changing who we are. Not easily, sometimes, but changed, if that's what brings us greater alignment and fulfillment.
Quote:
Mindset, to me, is the filter you see the world through. But the important thing is, that's your filter. Your skew on things. I'd say it's better to see things through your eyes, in what you percieve to be true, than see things through someone else's, who's influences are infinitely different to yours.
I agree. And when a filter distorts the view, that's when it needs to be changed. Case comes to mind of a family where food and eating was so valued they were practically an obsession; everyone was overweight. But they had their rituals and their sayings and everything around food. Daughter rebelled, started dieting, counting calories, eating in ways generally regarded as healthy. From the rest of the family's point of view, though, she was anorexic; they tried to get her in rehab. Lots of hurt going on because their filters with respect to what constituted healthy eating were distorted.

Lots of people say, Well, everyone's got filters, you can't tell whose is right, so they're all equally valid and there's no point in trying to change them. But that's just giving up. It's a hard field to make changes in, but not an impossible task.
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What I see here is people using PAD to do exactly that. To learn. Not through an organised medium, but by learning to See (for want of a better term)... They're using their varied life experience and incorporating it to form a more of a complete picture of the world. I think that Avatar brought forth a viewpoint that many here wouldn't even have considered Pre-Avatar. A viewpoint so vastly different and beautiful by comparison that they now want to fight for it. (Might I add that they are morals that are more than worth fighting for.) what they see though their eyes is not what they feel should be, and if PAD is the force behind this want for a better world and not just to 'make do' with what they have, why should anyone work to take that away from them?

Humankind is, by it's very nature, aspirational. And if the aspiration for a better world comes from just one thing, one feeling, isn't that spark of hope and determination worth saving, no matter how dark or dim it seems?
I certainly don't want to take anything useful away from anyone. As Caveman has pointed out, see the hundreds if not thousands of posts from people who say they have PAD and want to feel better.

Once people have that aspiration, how can they keep the positive aspects of that while giving up the 'D' part of PAD?

There is another common emotional reaction to Avatar that I would call elation, energizing, awakening with hope and sparking dreams. People have reported changing careers, discovering their life purpose, quitting smoking, and other results. Perhaps some posters here are calling that PAD. I don't think that would be a useful pairing. "PAI" or "Post Avatar Inspiration" would be more appropriate to use for a state like that that is not characterized by sadness but rather the opposite.
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