Everything below is written by Frank Yang aka. digitalairair. What he does and has been doing is inspiring me to stay true and grounded to the person I might have been all along – being an eccentric, non-conforming nihilist.
Overthinking seems to be a trait among right brain dominated people in my experience. But look at the good side of it, it brings you insights. I think you should go to the doctors and go on medication. Reading helps. Depression is mainly self-referential. Once you get out of your own bubble, and learn about the world, the universe, other people’s lives and etc, it might help you keep your mind off of YOUR OWN problems.
In response to a question posed to him by a forum poster (not me):
How do you handle all of your thinking? I get information overload. I honestly sometimes feel like I’ve figured out the meaning of life, which in turn causes me to feel like my head is about to explode. Sometimes I’ll come to important realizations about my life, which I will try to apply to my life, but than that will make me think even deeper into that realization, which then brings up a whole plethora of other problems and their possible solutions.
A lot of your views on life I agree with, and believe it or not, in an extremely more basic sense, have thought of on my own. I could never represent it in the verbal form you do though.
So is writing your outlet? I could not possibly remember everything I come up with. Even though I want to. Would you suggest I write things down?
Do you ever feel like you think too much for your brain to handle? Do you attribute your deep insightful thoughts to your “disorders”? and if so… do you think of it as a negative?
I ask all this because though I’ve never been clinically diagnosed for anything… but I’m quite certain I’ve been depressed for years, and everything you say rings a bell within me. My deep thinking does nothing to help me out usually, and my only outlet is my friends, otherwise my realizations make me even more depressed. Everything you talk about is all too familiar.
I’m just curious if all the deep thinking has led you down the same dark roads I go through. Strong negative realizations?
Thanks for any answers, I genuinely respect and am interested in your thoughts.
Thanks for your genuine question and your appreciation for my thoughts. I want to begin by distinguishing the two basic modes of cognitive functions of the human brain: the prefrontal UNDERFUNCTION and the prefrontal ACTIVATION, with each of them corresponding to levels of dopamine in the cerebral cortex, respectively. I believe that for consciousness to fully recognize and realize itself, a dynamic feedbacl loop and an organic play of unfolding must occur between each side of the cognitive duality.
The traits that correspond to prefrontal UNDERFUNCTION are strong emotional and sensory feelings – the total experience of the here-and-now, and the reduced sense of self with little to no conception of time and space. Usually when we are in this mode of cognition, we find very little meanings in life and are completely sensory and perceptively oriented with almost a complete absence of contemplative thoughts about existence.
On the other hand, during prefrontal ACTIVATION, we experience reality much more intellectually and cerebrally, where THINKING instead of FEELING dominates. This is when we find ourselves immersed within our own thoughts with clear cut notions of past, present, and future. Internal, instead of external perception dominates, as we feel a strong sense of SELF that has a clear reference to time. We tend personalize meanings during this mode of cognition, and we usually find ourselves asking big existential and phenomenological questions like the meaning of life, the existence of God, whether or not there’s an afterlife, if the soul exists, etc, and so on.
When one mode of function is activated, it automatically inhibits and shuts down the other. So for example, when you are drunk and high at the disco club, you are likely to be stripped of all cognitive and cerebral contents while your brain is filled with overflowing emotions and sensory activities. This is when you experience traits that are associated with prefrontal underfunction, where contemplative thoughts are limited. Here you tend to “let yourself go” and experience very little sense of self, and like babies, you are probably just going through the here-and-nows while experiencing the world as a totality of booming, buzzing confusion. This is what psychologists call a ‘small assembly profile’ of the cerebral cortex.
What would be the opposite of that? It would obviously be a ‘large assembly profile’, where the cerebral cortex immerses its deep, internal content with the ego itself to externalize the outside world so that objects, people, and environment and any other external factors outside of the ego become completely remote and irrelevant. The senses under this particular mode of cognition would be under-stimulated, where little or no external stimulus are entering the brain (when you close your eyes and contemplate…we have, after all, our deepest and most contemplative thoughts when we have our eyes closed, or when we are in the dark, stripped of all external and sensory stimuli). This is when you find yourself unable to stop your train of thoughts, and that ideas seem to be popping up everywhere without your consent or control.
Occasion that best describes and illustrates the pre-frontal UNDERFUNCTION (lots of dopamine) mode would be, like I mentioned earlier, getting drunk and dancing and screaming in a club. The occasion that best illustrates its polar opposite effect at its extreme (deprived level of dopamine) would be clinical depression, where you isolate yourself, even your own sensory inputs, to become completely self absorbed and internal.
Putting the theories aside, what I do to practically balance out the two extreme modes of cognition is to read philosophy, play the violin, write and contemplate during the day to increase my sense of self and overload my brain with information, ideas to create new stressors. When I feel like my sense of self is overflowing with “ego juices”, and is too self-absorbed and self-referential to function, I then compliment and counteract these cerebral activities by stimulating the emotional and sensory side of the cognitive mode. I would go out that very same night with the intention of DE-LOADING my ego by either losing my mind in an insane work out session, or by getting drunk at clubs, having casual sex, and other forms of the here-and-now activities so that my overflowing ego could be smeared out into the world and on to others. The next morning, after losing my sense of self the night before, I would then replenish my now deprived ego bucket by meditating via books, music and art (and repeat).
I think depression comes from an imbalance between the two modes of neural assemblies, and consciousness can only fully realizes itself if you immerse it within both sides of the cognitive extremes. So in short, my outlets depend entirely on which side of the cognitive mode I am in and under what context. If one side of the cognitive mode naturally suppresses (while at the same time bringing it out in the future) it’s opposing mode, then the best outlet for one cognitive mode is by fulfilling that particular cognitive bucket as fully as you can so that I can tip over during to re-fill the opposing bucket when the time comes, and vice versa via cycles of depletion and completion until sizes of each bucket increase with each cycle in order to receive more cognitive juices with persistancy and training. This is GROWTH and PROGRESS at its most fundamental sense of the words.
The two cognitive modes can even be corresponded to the dichotomy of the two opposing Greek Gods – Apollo and Dionysian. God of wine/dance, and god of music/philosophy. In modern literature, the dualistic concept and the contrast between Apollo and Dionysus symbolizes principles of “collectivism vs. individualism, light versus darkness, or civilization versus primitivism”. But the key here is to not distinguish the two opposing Gods/concepts AS SUCH, but to integrate them into a collective whole, so that by immersing yourself within one side of the dichotomy, you are, at the same time, bringing out its opposing force in potentially and unconsciously. The purely Dionysian orgy, while pleasurable and sometimes needed as a reaction to restraint, calls for its Apollonian counterpart. The outlet of energy aims at the creation of form.