Depressive Realism - A More Accurate Worldview

While common supposition is that depression is a result of (or results in) people have an inaccurately negative viewpoint of themselves and/or life in general, Depressive Realism is the proposition that people with depression actually have a more accurate perception of reality, specifically that they are less affected by positive illusions of illusory superiority, the illusion of control and optimism bias.

Studies by psychologists Alloy and Abramson (1979) suggested that depressed people appear to have a more realistic perception of their importance, reputation, locus of control, and abilities than those who are not depressed. Especially noted was their “light-bulb” experiment, a part of their studies that consisted of depressed and non-depressed people being presented with a light-bulb and a button to press. Unknown to either group, the light bulb would go on and off independently of any pushes of the button - yet the depressed group far more accurately were able to discern this while a significant proportion of the non-depressed group felt they were exerting varying levels of control of the light bulb via the button they were pressing.

Dobson and Franche (1989) and later researchers have further supported this viewpoint with studies and similar experiments.

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Interesting post sir!

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“A man who resolves, “I will not lose my temper tomorrow” will lose
his temper tomorrow. He is frustrated by a lack of self-knowledge.
One liberated man explained before a class, ‘A mere resolve is on
the level of thought, and a thought is only part of a man. One wheel
of a car cannot repair another wheel. The very understanding of this
lifts us to the higher level of corrective consciousness.’”

              700 Inspiring Guides To A New Life, # 156

It seems very possible to me that depressive state is far more subversive to dominant ideologies and desirable social identities, but it would be very simplifying to assume that depression or any mental illness by itself comes as a privileged instrument of questioning the world around us.

A.Camus’s " Stranger" didn’t have to be depressed, bipolar or schizophrenic to understand that a priest who came to discover a God within his soul, paraphrased, " was not even sure if he is alive. He had a faith and he knew the meaning, and if he was to lose his meaning he would certainly die".

Some basically dissonant relation between an individual and a world is almost required, I would say, for poetical, philosophical, and other artistic expressions.
But I wouldn’t link it to any other ‘diagnosis’ other than having an open mind and sharp attention.

For the number of ‘mad geniuses’ you’ve mentioned before, comes a number of those ones who were pretty far from this image and actually quite normal…
Of course, normal is not the same as normalized.

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