An Optimist in Depressing Times

JP: First the Pessimist (Peggy Noonan) then the Optimist (Jay Adams):

Peggy Noonan: There’s No Pill for This Kind of Depression

Excerpts:

I asked a friend, a perceptive writer, if he is seeing what I’m seeing. Yes, he said, there is “a pervasive sense of anxiety, as though everyone feels they’re on thin ice.” He wonders if it’s “maybe a sense that we’ve had it too easy in the years since 9/11 and that the bad guys are about to appear on the horizon.” An attorney in a Park Avenue firm said, “Things look like they have changed and may not come back.” He contrasted the feeling now on the streets with 2001. “Things are subdued. . . . Nine-eleven was brutal and graphic. Yet because there was real death and loss of life folks could grieve and then move on.” But today, “the dread is chronic. . . . Tom Wolfe’s Masters of the Universe were supposed to be invincible. The pillars of media were supposed to be there forever. The lawyers were supposed to feed through thick and thin. Not anymore.” He quoted Ecclesiastes: “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” We are worried, he said, “about a way of life, about the loss of upward trajectory.”

….

I spoke to a Manhattan-based psychiatrist who said there is an uptick in the number of his patients reporting depression and anxiety. He believes part of the reason is that we’re in a new place, that “When people move into a new home they increasingly recognize the importance of their previous environment.” Our new home is postprosperity America; the old one was the abundance; we miss it. But he also detected a political dimension to his patients’ anguish. He felt that many see our leaders as “selfish and dishonest,” that “our institutions have been revealed as incompetent and undependable.” People feel “unled, overwhelmed,” the situation “seemingly unsalvageable.” The net result? He thinks what he is seeing, within and without his practice, is a “psychological pandemic of fear” as to the future of things—of our country, and even of mankind.

Jay Adams: I’m optimistic about God

Excerpts:

“You’re So Pessimistic”Yes, I suppose I am. But I’m also optimistic.

“How can you be both?”

It’s simple enough to explain: I’m pessimistic about man, and what he will do, but I’m optimistic about God and what He has promised to do.

“Oh! I guess that does make sense.”

You bet it does. Man’s record is pretty sad. God’s is superb. Given the facts, why shouldn’t I have these two attitudes toward them?

Image from timemanage.com

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