How Herd Mentality or Groupthink can lead to Depression

by Nathan Chua

I have to admit that the title of this article is just about a dead giveaway. Experience has taught me how life can be even more difficult than it already is, when people are driven or indoctrinated to think that there is only one way to live the “good” life. It can drive one nuts when seemingly or outwardly successful people, most of the time unintentionally doom others into thinking they are less capable individuals, simply by describing one way of living that is similar to their own. If you don’t match how a self-described leader lives, you are flawed and outside the inner circle of those considered to be exceptional, or at least worthy of acceptance and love.

In my years of searching for the “good” life, I have come to understand that each one of us is special beyond what others think. The plain truth is we are all different. We should never think we are less than anyone else just because the other is smarter, has better looks, or is more financially well-off.

As Kierkegaard wrote:

The crowd is untruth.  There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd.

I find this prevalent in our country where people are motivated by fear to offer so much deference to religious personalities, almost to the point of fawning behavior. Whether these are fundamentalists or liberal Catholics, they would bow in obeisance to the “sole possessors” of wisdom. There’s very little wiggle room for variety. The result is we become more of a homogenous group that play roles, having to live up to these expectations, even if our DNA doesn’t conform to such made-up standards.

I have seen how so much suffering is inflicted by those who stand behind rostrums, proclaiming they know what it takes to be considered worthy of respect. People come to me not knowing where they stand in this world. The constant bombardment of religious sermons and motivational talks, can be overwhelming. They feel left out and are constantly grappling for that key that can open doors for them to become what they were not meant to be.

So for you who may think that swimming against the tide of social conventions is a curse, I admit, it will not be easy, when you are surrounded by people who have sacrificed their individuality for conformity. You will experience isolation and ostracism. But take heart, for there is no reason for you to feel down on yourselves, for you can otherwise be proud that you have chosen to take the road less traveled. You have chosen to be brave and to live according to your DNA; according to your wishes for what you believe will make you one whom you envisioned to be, someday.

Rollo May wrote, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.”

Take courage for you are indeed courageous for choosing who you truly are, and more than what you are expected to be. Free yourselves from the dictates of others who have chosen to stop listening to their true selves, and sold their souls to blind allegiance, and their fears of being different.


Nathan Chua talks about video game addiction on GMA Network’s Magpakailanman Part 2

Whitney No Longer With Us

by Nathan Chua

It’s hard to swallow, but we have all felt the loss of such great artists like Michael Jackson to drugs.  Now here’s one that will also be long talked about for weeks to come.  Whitney Houston has died.  The suspected cause:  drugs.

In one of the interviews heard over CNN, an expert on drug rehabilitation shares that people who have had experiences in using drugs never truly get over it.  Relapse is a given.  To counteract such setbacks, it is incumbent upon the recovering addict to stay in group therapy.  Even with Whitney’s past protestations of being sober, old ghosts will come to haunt her.  As the expert opinions indicate, addiction is tough to overcome because it is a problem that presents itself as a solution.  This is what makes addiction so hard to get out of.

This death showed no telltale signs before its occurrence.  From the discussions I heard, Whitney had just finished a movie and was publicly seen doing quite well.  The theory being posited is that she could have been in a celebratory mood just shortly before the Grammy’s.  This only shows that drugs can be resorted to in both good and bad times.  One can just imagine the feeling of being hemmed in by two extreme emotional states, not knowing what to do during times of either great stress or extreme jubilation.

So for all those who have felt pressure or are considering drugs or alcohol, let this be a lesson, don’t believe that you have to try it at least once in your lifetime, because the one try could prove to be your own undoing.  We’ve seen this in what have been left undone in the lives of Whitney and Michael.