I belong to a group that discusses human overshoot.
I recently conducted an informal survey of members to see if anything could be learned from the relationship between denial of reality and depression.
I present here a summary of the survey and my analysis.
The survey consisted of 6 statements and participants were asked to check each statement they agreed with:
- Humans are in overshoot.
- There is no “happy” solution to overshoot.
- There is no life after death.
- I had above average depression in youth.
- I had above average depression before learning of overshoot.
- I had above average depression after learning of overshoot.
The first 3 statements were used to estimate the level of denial of reality as follows:
- If someone disagrees with each of statements 1-3 then they fully deny reality.
- If someone agrees with each of statements 1-3 then they do not deny reality.
- If someone agrees with 1 or 2 of the first 3 statements then they partially deny reality.
An analysis of the data showed:
- 3% of members deny reality.
- 42% of members partially deny reality.
- 55% of members do not deny reality.
- About 95% of members believe that humans are in overshoot and that no happy solution is possible.
- 55% of members are currently depressed.
- 15% of members have been depressed throughout life.
- 33% of members were depressed before believing in overshoot.
- 27% of members were not depressed until they believed in overshoot.
- 36% of members are not and have never been depressed, and 50% of these believe in life after death.
To put this data into context:
- Google says that 8-10% of all citizens are depressed.
- My observations suggest at least 99% of all citizens are partially or fully in denial.
I drew the following conclusions from this informal survey:
- Being depressed significantly increases your chance of accepting reality.
- Accepting reality significantly increases your chance of being depressed.
- You can significantly reduce your chance of being depressed by believing in life after death.
- To maximize your chance of happiness you should fully deny reality.
A larger sample size, more and better designed questions, and a better survey method would be required to draw definitive conclusions, but I see evidence here that supports Varki’s theory.