As the current Mercury Retrograde in earthy Taurus allows us to direct our mental faculties inwardly, and the Taurus New Moon allows both inner and outer modes of consciousness, rational and instinct, head and heart, to align for a moment, we can ask ourselves why it is that mental vulnerability is so on the increase.
When I left university in the eighties, depression was known to affect some in society around the age of 30, but currently researchers say first onset can occur at age 15. Duke University researcher Stephen Izard describes how the rate of depression in the West seems to be doubling every generation. This implies that basically every second person of 18-29 years old will be depressive by mid life, and what’s more, in the next generation after that, everyone will be depressed.
Consciousness expression is moving fast this century, much like global climate change, creeping toward the future like a glacier in the summer. One year it’s there and the next it’s vanished up the mountain. And as consciousness finds newer and newer forms of expression, enhanced by new tech, the average state of mind could be morphing into something likened to depression. But the research shows that what we so easily label as depression is something else up to 60% of the time, proven again by the even poorer success rate of pharmaceutical anti-depressants. The bottom line is that in more accurate terms, most struggling minds are actually suffering from demoralization. And there are no drugs to cure being demoralized.
As Mercury Retrograde transits earthy, sensual Taurus this May, the ability to look realistically at our state of mind now is invaluable. What it reveals is that many who should be at the prime age and vigour of life are so absorbed by the allure of sense gratification, driven by the corporate media machine that entrains them into consumers, that lack of depth and meaning leaves them actually suffering from a “culturally generated demoralization”. This is the great existential disorder of our time, a symptom of the digital and thus depersonalised era. Demoralization implies that one feels disoriented when it comes to locating any meaning to life, or even purpose to one’s existence. One feels oneself in a “psycho-spiritual crisis” as life and the world as it appears or was presented to us by our elders, seems to lose credibility. Even earlier beliefs and convictions, held so strongly in earlier years, begin to dissolve under doubt and loss of direction. The moral compass is pulled in all directions.
Ancient texts of wisdom in the psycho-spiritual sciences, like Bhagavad Gita, mention for example in ch16 txt21 that “There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul”. That is a clear description of our current cultural malaise, written down over 5000 years ago. Society is led by their senses like a bull by the nose. The tablet or screen is the medium through which corporations allure the masses toward buying, by arousing their lust for sense objects. Playing on their lust fuels their feelings of anger when the satisfaction does not last. And greed is aroused when the satisfaction doesn’t seem to be enough to really bring the happiness we dream of. We thus are trapped in the cycle of constantly wanting more. And while the corporations make money off us, we lose the taste for the real goal of life. And so demoralization sets in as one feels like one is in a lost cause. The irony though is that this is not a mental disorder. This is an honest and real response to the cultural circumstances inflicted on us.
Basically modern consumer culture is engineered to subtly promote in society qualities like materialism, hyper-competition, overwork, overconsumption, debt and a sense of constant hurriedness or excessive pressure. This all undermines coping and is negative for psychological well-being. What’s more, good qualities like trust, friendship, confidentiality, community and spiritual inquiry are diminished. People even lose touch with ancient sources of wisdom that are gradually pushed out of circulation due to lack of transmission. What’s left is a dried up, passive life, robbed of other good qualities, like patience, determination, resilience, self-restraint and intestinal fortitude for life. Short attention span and overindulgence become the norm.
The ability to identify for oneself an actual “philosophy of life” is a dying art, and without any guiding principles or existential compass, many gravitate toward consumerism, led by commercials, in what Noam Chomsky calls a “philosophy of futility”. We forget who we are as well as our sense of power beyond the sensory or material body. Adrift in the shallows of life, the psyche becomes dispirited, lacking inspiration. When mundane tasks designed to merely satisfy low level desires take up our time, we can’t help but become bored and jaded. This is a cultural failure. Consumer culture has created an existential vacuum that fails to meet the needs of modern society at a deeper level. Lacking is a sense of belonging, of true identity, with communal activities diminished, ritual and ceremony absent, we become ungrounded or rootless in time and society. This is actually a type of cultural insanity, and being normal is no longer the healthy option.
“Human culture has mutated into a sociopathic marketing machine dominated by economic priorities and psychological manipulation. Leading this hostile takeover of the collective psyche are increasingly sophisticated propaganda and misinformation industries that traffic the illusion of consumer happiness by wildly amplifying our expectations of the material world.” Thus says John F Schumaker, retired psychology academic and writer. And what an apt description.
The current Taurus transit of Mercury and several other planets, like Sun and Venus, triply amplify the awareness of our own level of sense indulgence as a substitute for a meaningful life of purpose. Once that accumulates, we can no longer ignore the disappointment and inner starvation as our soul’s needs are neglected. This all feeds into our demoralization. Imagine being born and raised into a culture with no future or hope for a better tomorrow. Millennials who see from the outset of their lives already how dire the ecology, the economy and the future appears, can’t help but become disillusioned by this insane cultural reality of the modern era. Imagine being raised to follow a consumer ideology that will knowingly deplete the planet, destroy species and contaminate with toxic waste most of the globe in our lifetime. No wonder we become blunted and de-sensitised to the destruction our culture inflicts on the rest of the world. Welcome to the Z(ombie) generation. Generation X and Y have come and continued the degradation installed by the Baby Boomers after the World Wars, and now the Z’s watch it all go up in flames at the end. Or so it seems.
How do we rebuild our unconscious foundations and uplift ourselves from demoralization? You can’t prescribe pharmaceuticals for a cultural malaise. To be effective we need to undergo honest introspection, soul-searching or self-observation. We need cultural deprogramming, and character training and a new world view which includes the world of nature once more. The entire sick culture needs to be treated more than just the individuals themselves. We can’t adjust to an insane society. Society needs to adjust to the actual real needs of the people. Better advisers are needed to assist governments. The current distortions of sham democracy and capitalism need to be revised. For they are the guardians of the current insanity. A cultural revolution is needed once again. Credibility needs to be instilled in the system for the masses, and that usually comes from a credible cause or credible leadership.
You would think that during this month of multiple Taurus planetary transits, that we would see the need of our dear earth and her helpless inhabitants in all bodies, and take that to be a credible reason with meaning to spur us on to purposeful action. Once the Mercury retrograde is over in a few weeks, and moving direct again, we can expect the wheels of revolution to turn internally and externally, among those who have overcome the demoralised mode and are done with it, ready now to overthrow the diseased system of our forefathers and usher in next stage of consciousness evolution – The Spiritual Warrior.