Tuesday, 2 February 2010

On "Depressive Realism"

A quote from the Wikipedia article on Depressive realism:
Dykman et al. (1989) argued that, although depressive people make more accurate judgments about having no control in situations where in fact they have no control, they also believe they have no control when in fact they do; and so their perceptions are not more accurate overall.

Huh? If someone believes (s)he has no control when (s)he actually does, does (s)he really have control and reason to believe (s)he's in charge of the situation?

This brings Kafka to my mind. Not primarily his novels and short stories themselves, but Max Brod's anecdote about the seriously ill writer asking his friend to "burn it all". Fortunately for us, Brod had a more accurate perception.

Or maybe it is not a question of "control" in the first place? Kafka knew he wasn't "in control" and, still according to Brod's testimony, he was terribly concerned about hurting the posteriority with, precisely, the accuracy of his perceptions.