Category Archives: Musings

Depression as a Way of Life

Trying to explain depression to someone who has not experienced it is perhaps a bit like trying to explain love to someone who has never experienced it. It is not something that you can understand through books or pictures, or by watching people you know experience it. You have to live it.
Nevertheless in my never-ending quest to bridge the chasm between my life and the lives of those around me, I would like to spend a little time trying to explicate the conundrums of depression for those who have been blessed with a stable and happy mind.
There is a great deal of difference between someone who has grown up depressed versus someone who has their depression precipitated later in life. Someone who becomes depressed midway through life because, for example, a loved one died, has a whole host of life experiences that do not have the shadow of depression ever looming in the background. Their mind has experienced life without depression, and this bodes extremely well for their ability to recover and move on.
Contrast the person who becomes depressed in their 30s with one whose formative years were lived in the thrall of depression. Here can I speak from experience. One of the most common arguments against suicide is ‘but they had so much to live for.’ This is an argument that rings hollow to one who has never felt they had much to live for; what exactly do these people think there is to live for except to have positive experiences in life? You know, the exact things that someone depressed does not experience.
This is where the length of time and the age of onset of depression becomes very important. For someone whose depression onsets midway through life, their depression will be seen as a contrast to their previous life. This contrast, no doubt, is exquisitely painful, as one can come to feel they are no longer capable of feeling joy or happiness like they once did. This person has come to feel, perhaps, they do not have much to live for anymore; but this is in contrast to how they once felt, in contrast to a state of mind they have experience with.
Someone who has grown up in a state of depression does not have this contrast to look at. Perhaps they have some idyllic view of early childhood, when the fears and pains of life expressed more as occasional volleys as opposed to a sustained barrage of negative thoughts. Regardless, from the time you start becoming you (I generally believe that self-actualization largely begins with the onset of puberty and the feeling of needing to separate and differentiate oneself from their parents), you have been in a state of depression.
Every child is born with hope. For some children, the path to adulthood seems intent on wiping out that hope. Depression is not something that one can just snap out of, especially when one’s brain does not know another way of thinking; a mind that has always been depressed has nothing else to snap into. ‘Just think positively;’ another favorite line of all depressed people. Depression is more than just a way of thinking; a person’s thoughts should always be considered as subordinate to their emotional state. I can think that everyone really does care about me and wants me to be happy all I want; if I cannot feel that care, if I go among those who supposedly care for me and feel empty, my thoughts will inevitably seem folly, and one grows to feel less and less in control of their mental state.
As someone growing up with depression (and lots of anxiety to boot), every experience I had on the road to adulthood was colored by and seen through the lens of my depression. Going to school seemed a daily punishment that I could not escape from; social interactions were just a step away from embarrassment or ridicule; every day was just another long trudge until finally sleep could take me. When one grows up in constant dread of the next day, of the new experiences their life might offer them, one does not perceive themselves as having a lot to live for. One does not think of a bad day as something out of the norm; one thinks of a good day as out of the norm. This has the effect of marginalizing all positive experiences as transient; happiness seems to always be fleeting, a cruel break from the normal monotony of depression that only intensifies the feelings of loneliness and isolation as soon as it is over.
Life is, in many ways, a long series of self-fulfilling prophecies. When you grow up without the expectation of happiness or contentedness, it is very unlikely these things will just find you. There aren’t many social groups where the depressed and the optimistic exist in harmony; the philosophies and perceptions of life are as dichotomous between depressed and happy people as they are between the far-right and far-left. Thus, the depressed person very likely ends up in a social group surrounded by other depressed people. Especially as a youth, there is a great urge to be right, which can lead to the depressed self-validating their own feelings when discussing said feelings with others who understand. At this point the depressed often feel a need to ‘other’ the non-depressed, to believe that in fact there is something wrong with anyone who isn’t depressed. This starts one down the path of believing that it is correct to be depressed.
This point is one I feel anyone who has not experienced depression will find themselves puzzled by, but it is essential to understanding the growth of depression in a depressed person. What one believes to be right or correct is what one feels, much more than what one thinks; a person who grows up depressed does not think ‘oh, depression is definitely the right way to experience the world,’ they simply experience the world depressed and come think, in response to those feelings, ‘being depressed is the correct lens through which to view the world.’ At this point depression is now an ego problem as well. For the depressed person to acknowledge the way they viewed the world and the perceptions they gathered through a depressed lens may be entirely the result of depression, and not in fact the result of a correct perception of the world, is basically to acknowledge that everything you thought and believed might be wrong.
Taken together, the above two points give us a picture looking something like this: depressed people will generally come to associate with other depressed people; these people, as with any group of people with similar views, will start validating their own perceptions as correct and perceiving those who hold different views as wrong; in this way depression comes to appear, to the depressed person, as the right way to live; at this point it is very hard to see anyway out of depression, because you’ve managed to twist depression around into something viewed almost favorably. I think depressed people often can feel a sense of superiority to happy people, which makes it very hard to admit that maybe the happy people aren’t just idiots who are oblivious to the struggles and hardships of life, but perhaps are people who have found a better and healthier way of managing their way through life.
This leads us to one of the most important facets of depression: anger and self-pity. For someone who is already depressed, it is just about the most natural feeling in the world to look at someone who is happy and think ‘oh woe is me,’ and simultaneously to feel the undeniable injustice that renders some people happy and some people miserable. At the point where one believes they are on the wrong side of some sort of cosmic injustice, it is very hard not to become increasingly angry at everything. One can easily grow to believe that they have been cursed, that they are uniquely unhappy, and that the only possible escape from this is death.
At this point I want to wrap things back around to the argument against suicide: ‘but they had so much to live for.’ I hope at this point it is a little clearer as to why someone with depression might find this a rather empty argument. And this, perhaps, is a central issue in dealing with depression in our society. One cannot argue against depression anymore than one can argue against love. These are states of mind that do not necessarily have any connection to ‘logical’ or ‘rational’ trains of thought, such as might be responsive to a reasoned argument. Rather, they are states that arise out of feelings, and only arguments on that level stand a chance of success.

Stasis

With bare feet I slip across the frozen days,
The stasis of my life; day after day
I trip and go from high to low
In an instant, and in an instant
Time stretches on with the grace of
Infinity sweeping out from my vision
And consuming the dark world entire.

Day after day I poison myself;
My poison is an antidote to the banality of life,
That truest of horrors, that which kills
Unseen and unknown, but never unfelt;
I want to feel joy while I live,
And in ecstasis to plunge towards death,
Submitting to the vanity of time.

I wake up anew, and by the day’s end
Have stumbled and fallen into the same traps;
My mind ensnares itself, coils around and around
And lashes out at me like a snake that,
Unknowingly trodden over, bites without
Knowledge, following only instinct;
My instincts are but the wishes of Satan.

I get so worked up over my programming;
I rattle and quake, and find no solace
That I was born this way;
There are some who are born and in the course of life
They find that the world is for the meek to inherit,
But they are strong, and so they must be broken,
Until, crippled, they submit to callous death.

And again, as it was, and again it shall be;
There is no escape from the simulation;
What was, is; what shall be, is;
And where we are now is the ceaseless echoing
Of the original; here we can but dream until
The death of energy: an eternity in stasis;
There is no escape…

An Unknown Heart

My mind, so long filled with the fire and
The brimstone of a damaged birth,
Now at last may peer across those
Visions which I cannot find the words to describe,
And as I ponder the nameless colors of my intuition
I feel as though a veil has been cast upon
The infinite rainbow of madness;
So much have I struggled to eradicate
The darker corners of my perception,
And yet it is to the ineffable beauty of
Blindness that I find the words are gone missing,
Or indeed, have never been demanded into being;
We who have upon the Earth thrust our dreams and nightmares
And made both a heaven and hell
Out of our only home, are yet the slaves
To our greatest achievement, and where once
In glory did those first formed sounds escape
Our lips, now we are held in bondage,
And can think only the terms we have ourselves
Defined; and I sit here and dream in verse
But my nameless visions are ever assaulted
And my ceaseless thoughts are ever besieged
As I trod upon the words of so many before,
And try to rearrange the feelings in black and white,
And I think in the only way I have ever known,
But ever I imagine, in my softer days,
When the sun is like the Christmas Star
And the forests are nestled in its primordial heat;
Ever I dream and imagine what I would see
In the light of an unknown heart.

Old Heroes

Where, where do my old heroes lie?
Bereft of shining armor, spewing now
A putrid light to ill-define
What was never before in any doubt.
These were the ones in whom a fool,
Or myself, as I was soon to find,
Would place their hopes, for lacking not
In pleasant fantasies: a child’s mind.
Not a hint of recognition,
Divorced from the idealism of youth,
I cannot spy those men who gave
To me, the sweet dreams of a better truth.
Still innocent eyes are to demons drawn,
Atop the pedestals we placed them on.

The Apathist’s Defense

Like a galley meandering down a tired stream,
While this verdant corridor glistens with a golden gleam.
Myself, with my eyes turned to nought but the ground,
Follow well-trodden paths without making a sound.

In a castle where lodges a legion of loons,
No windows will show how the grass turned to dunes.
So sheltered away behind comfortable lies,
No true word remembered while passing our eyes.

They dance in the forests; they’re locked behind trees,
And we tear down the doors because we’ve lost the keys.
Now I hear them laughing, for never they dream,
That the world should one day be torn out at the seams.

In prisons of steel which we chose by design,
Hearts withhold thoughts that we’ll never divine.
Cover my ears; I’ll let you choose the sound,
Anything beats this damn noise all around.

These eyes that are watching, now what do they see?
I never once thought they were looking for me.
If you say that they’re gone, no I won’t shed a tear,
Building up walls ‘til the end of my years.

As milky clouds melt into cool azure skies,
Leaving us now with a soft kiss goodbye.
Trapped within minds, now a treacherous haze,
Will cover the sun, confuse night with the day.

Not a thought could I spare, we were moving ahead,
Inexorably pushing towards that which we dread.
Now they’ve all gone away, where does the fault lie?
Well don’t look at me; I’m just another guy.

Like a galley meanders down a tired stream,
Pulled by the currents and pushed by the breeze.
All around they did dance, all the time that we missed,
For now let this stream bring me to the abyss.

Language and Memory

One’s being as a collective whole is intended to grant clarity and understanding of one’s reality and yet simultaneously obfuscates the truth due to memory and the way we as humans perceive time. When I as a being perceive something, I do not perceive it in essence; that is to say, what I perceive is a construct of my mind which in turn enables me to understand it and deal with it on a level I am able to handle (hyperreality). My thoughts are drawn to the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, who prominently featured beings known as ‘eldritch abominations’ in his stories, or beings whose very existence or form was so alien to the human mind that it would drive a person insane. These things which seemed to violate the laws of nature were simply incompatible with our current state of mental evolution. In lieu of this we as a species have developed in such a way that we are keen to put labels on everything in order to allow us to maintain an (illusory) understanding of our reality. There are two principle factors that allow us to enter into a state of hyperreality: language and memory.

Language is necessary as the medium through which we as humans label things. Take color, for example. Though there may be an infinite number of shades of color that can exist, there is no shade of color we would say we do not have a name for. Sure we allow for ‘light’ or ‘dark’ blues, for example, and there are more exotic shades with names such as azure or magenta or the like, but for all intents and purposes we see a limited number of namable colors. Through labeling in such a way as this we actually negatively impact the number of different colors we see; in other words, it is difficult to see very slight variations in a color to the point of the different shades looking exactly the same. This principle, wherein having a finite number of words to describe something of infinite possible qualities limits one’s ability to perceive (or indeed accept) differences in qualities, applies across the board, not only to colors. While language is doubtlessly something of importance in the evolution of any species that desires to achieve a state of self-awareness, it is also limiting and should not be seen as a be-all end-all, as it limits our ability to perceive reality as it truly is.

Memory is the second key way in which we label things, and in many cases is far more likely to obscure an accurate understanding of reality than the limitations of language; for language, insofar as it is understood at an equal level by a group of people, is universal, which is to say that a word is accepted as having specific meanings unique to itself. While limiting, there is also a clarity in language that is not found in memory. Unlike language, memory is not universal, but is rather unique to each individual and their life experiences. While we use words in order to describe things, in the absence of memory we would not know the words to describe anything regardless. Through our collected memories we form a sense of self and an understanding of the world around us; however, because we are unable to perceive reality as it truly is, all our memories are thus constructed on a faulty premise; then, because our subsequent understanding of the world is being built on top of these earlier memories, our conception of reality becomes ever more twisted and perverted away from the true reality. As such, our perceived reality becomes ever more hyperreal, as we view things less and less on their own as a unique quantity and more and more in a relative sense beholden to our preconceptions.

Now this is not to say that memory and language and the like are not important; indeed, we cannot imagine an existence without them. This is precisely the reason we should not allow ourselves to become enslaved to them. One of my favorite words is ‘ineffable’, which essentially means unable to be put into words. Indeed, I see it as my purview as a poet to attempt to capture the ineffable in words. However, it is also worthwhile to understand that this is but the practice of taking something and putting a label on it so that we as humans may understand it. This does not constitute true understanding, and to think that words could ever define the real essence of something is folly. Neither memory nor language are things that are going anywhere soon, yet the inexorable movement of evolution demands that at some point we free ourselves from their respective shackles in order to move towards a more accurate and complete understanding of the world around us.

Nostalgia, Anxiety, and Depression

I am rather well-acquainted with these three ideas. I believe nostalgia and anxiety are linked closely together, bound by a central idea, certainty, while depression is both a cause and result of nostalgia and anxiety. Nostalgia is for the past, anxiety is for the future, and depression bridges them. Everything in the past seems better in hindsight. This is because we know what happened. Whether good or bad, these memories will seem much greater than they generally were. I believe this relates to two things. When we feel depressive nostalgia, it is generally accompanied by a feeling that our current life is not as good as the life we used to live. Thus, when we look back on good memories, we realize how much we took those times for granted. I know for myself, there are two times in my life I will always look back on: seventh grade and twelfth grade. These were times of great personal change in my life; seventh grade was when puberty really kicked in and I feel like I was growing up at such a fast rate; twelfth grade, namely the spring of twelfth grade, was a time when I became much more social, and it felt like I was catching up on many social milestones I had missed out on in high school. I think they key part of these experiences for me was that they were, consciously or not, very hopeful. Things were changing and they seemed to be getting better. Depressive nostalgia most often visits in time when we feel trapped in our present lives, feel as if things either aren’t changing or (more so) are changing for the worse. This depressive nostalgia, whether induced by a song, place, or movie, is incredibly strong, often to the point of being debilitating. As regards certainty in this type of nostalgia over happy memories, we wish we could go back and relive a time of great hope for a better future, and also in a more general sense, to appreciate those times more. I look back on many events in my life that I either took completely for granted or actually perceived as negatives at the time and wonder what the hell was I doing?

On the other side of nostalgia, we have nostalgia for times in our lives that were negative. Here the idea of certainty is more obviously pertinent. If we feel this type of nostalgia when in a more positive mood, it is generally because we know that our lives were not completely derailed; that we did recover from whatever trauma afflicted us; that we survived. So we look back and wish, instead of wasting my time being upset, why didn’t I just enjoy my life more. Case in point; I crashed my car at the start of twelfth grade, and didn’t have it for about a month. The bill on the car went from a first estimate of $500 up to a final total of a few thousand dollars. This resulted in my having to get a job from the first time, which I pretty much hated. I was very depressed for a good long while around the months of October and November into December, but now I look back and wonder why didn’t I appreciate all the other things that were nearing an end: final time playing soccer, the reality of high school nearing an end. Instead of hanging out with my friends and appreciating my life as much as possible, I sat around and sulked away a few months of the last year of my childhood. But didn’t I say I wish I could go back to that time? I do in the sense that I know things got better; the depression and isolation didn’t last, soon I was starting to enjoy life more than I had before.

Whatever the case, nostalgia is always linked with certainty. The past is done, we cannot imagine our lives having happened any other way than they did. As such, there is always a sense that life goes on when we view the past that allows us to take some small comfort in it.

In opposition to nostalgia we have anxiety. Where nostalgia is a sense that the past was better than it was and is often accompanied by a desire to relive the good ol’ days, anxiety is the opposite. Anxiety is a fear of the future, which comes with thoughts that generally lead one to believe things will be worse than they actually will. Where nostalgia makes us want to go back and relive moments, anxiety makes us want to avoid things that haven’t happened yet. For instance, as a college student I am anxious about my future: anxious about what job I will get, anxious about grades I have to get, anxious about yet more responsibilities for me to deal with. I often wish that I could either slow time down or else skip ahead to the future when I won’t have this uncertainty anymore. No matter what, we always hold at least of shred of doubt when looking at the future; even if the skies are bright and sunny, it only takes one freak accident for our lives to go very wrong. While we are often filled with hope for the future, there is always the possibility that things will not turn out as we would like; conversely, when looking at the past, we don’t have to worry about what happened because it is done; we have certainty over the past.

Lastly, I would like to discuss the role of anxiety in causing depression and nostalgia. As you may or may not know, I have struggled with depression and anxiety all my life, often to the point of being incapable of any of doing anything other than isolating myself from the world and dwelling on my fears. Now, as previously explored, anxiety is often a cause of nostalgia. When we fear the uncertainties of the future or feel as though the future will be worse than the present we turn back to the past, when these worries did not afflict our minds, when life seemed to be getting better. When anxiety is induced in this manner, it will most likely be depressive, especially if one is prone to anxiety. I can speak from personal experience to say that in moments of great worry or fear for the future, I often want to simply curl and hid away from the world, go back to the past when things didn’t seem so bad. I then become depressed because, not only does my past life seem better by comparison, I am also not doing anything to help myself out of my current situation, adding a feeling of hopelessness to the proceedings. While anxiety itself isn’t necessarily depressive, when it is frequent or overwhelming, as it often can be for myself, it becomes very depressive, and I believe this trait of anxiety is in many ways what truly makes it a debilitating condition rather than one which will immediately inspire someone to go and fix their situation.

I would like to, in closing, leave you with a hypothetical question to consider: If you could go back in time to relive certain periods of your life at the tradeoff of, any time spent in the past would still count towards your allotted time here on Earth, would you do it? In other words, if your body would normally live to the age of seventy and you spend twenty years over time in reliving the past, you would end up only living to fifty. Let’s say for argument that each time you returned to the actual present you would have an increased understanding of the past, whether for better or worse. Would it become addictive to go and relive the “best days” again and again, or we come to realize they weren’t as good as we remember and thus move on? How much of our future would we be willing to give away in order to relive our past? How much of an uncertain but possibly better future would we give up for a certain but possibly less fulfilling past? Questions with no easy answers; I encourage you if nothing else, to consider them some cloudy day.

Nothing

There are two types of nothing a person can know. One of these is the greatest feeling in the world, and one is the worst.

The first type of nothing comes when a person neither feels nor cares about anything. A complete ignorance leading to a complete bliss. Interestingly, this form of nothing allows a man to be anything. Stripped from the duties of a normal life, the mind is free to wander, free to become anything. It is the ultimate escape. In other words, this type of nothing involves a willingness to become nothing, to embrace oblivion and the void and thus become everything.

The second form of nothing is not a choice. It is an emptiness that comes from feeling the world believes you are nothing. It is feeling that one’s life has a complete absence of value.This nothing traps you within the one thing you don’t want to be: yourself. There is not a pain, as it were, in this nothing. One doesn’t cry and sob, or throw fits, or hurt anyone. How could you? These things all involve being able to feel something, and if you can feel you can hope. It is a state of utter hopelessness, the belief that the world no longer believes they exist, that the world doesn’t care, that most easily allows one to kill themselves, because following those thoughts to a logical conclusion, nothing will change (no pun intended).

In summary, the main difference between these two extreme states of being is the essence of choice. One desires nothing, the other that nothing desires them. In both cases death is not an unwelcome friend, but simply the only place left to go.

Man versus Woman

Man versus woman; the great battle, raging since the beginning of time. Stories of men abusing women and women using men have a long history. In more modern times, psychology has taken closer looks at the relationship, the subconscious mechanisms that guide interaction between these two diametrically opposed beings. Yet all these stories and studies have made the error of assuming male and female are genders. They are not. Man and woman are states of mind.

Let’s think about things for a minute. Is it really so easy to say all females are more manipulative naturally than males? It is easy to say, but that doesn’t make it right. Man and woman are not terms that have one meaning: there is a biological meaning and a psychological meaning. Biologically, the difference should be rather obvious I’d hope. But psychologically, the struggle between man and woman is a central theme and conflict in human history. It also now strikes me that I should clarify: when I say the struggle between man and woman is psychological, I don’t mean some identifying as a different gender than their biological sex. It is so much more than that.

Now let us delve into what these two concepts actually are. Man as a philosophical idea is connected with power, domination, strength, aggression, oppression. Men have always been the ruling class because of these traits. Now I say that, and one might be thinking “I thought this wasn’t biological?” Well, perceptive reader, it is true that in general the masculine state of mind is associated with the male biological gender. However, the key distinction to make is that it is not exclusive to that gender. In other words, a biological male can identify with the female state of mind and vice versa. He is not identifying with female as his biological gender but as his philosophy on life.

So what is the feminine state of mind then? The feminine state of mind is characterized by sensitivity, compassion, creativity. An easy way to compare is to say the man is the warrior, the female the artist. Now it perhaps appears that I am knocking men, and it is clearly better to be a woman. This is not strictly the case; the male state of mind was (is?) crucial for the survival and propagation of the human race to become to dominant species on Earth. The male mindset is very closely tied with Darwinist ideas about survival of the fittest. However, the question now is, we as humans have achieved our dominion over the fishes of the sea and birds of the air, how necessary is the man to human life?

My belief is that the ideal course of human advancement is to move away from the baser animal instincts of the man and towards the cultured and artistic ideals of the woman. Throughout human history, man has always been oppressing woman. We even call oppressive authority “the man” now. This type of order had it’s place in the evolution of humankind and the construction of society and civilization. But the time has come to take the next step in evolution. The man looks at the pleasures of the body as the greatest thing he can achieve. For him, sex, the propagation of the species, the most fundamental of all Darwinist ideals, is the greatest pleasure and achievement. I propose that we must turn to the mind for our next stage of evolution, not the body.

The rational mind is in constant conflict with the irrational body. The mind says to eat healthy, the body asks for sweets; the mind says woo the lady, show her you care, the body says take what is rightfully yours. We must strive to leave behind these base instincts to achieve a more realized state of being. The elevation of the human consciousness is the only viable path to evolution. The ideology of the man has run its course: we are already on top. We have “won”. Yet for the man it is never enough. There is no healthy victory. In lieu of other battles he will make his fellow man his enemy. Racism, sexism, nationalism: all ideas irrevocably tied to the male state of mind, designed to create a new battle to fight. Once we were one species, united in conflict with a hostile world; now we are many tribes, fighting amongst ourselves with no prize for the victor but yet more senseless conflict.

The female does not focus on outer conflict but inner struggle. Her greatest battle is creating a work of art, or achieving a serenity in a mad mad world. The female seeks to improve herself, rather than prove she is the strongest. Similar to Buddhism or transcendentalism, the female attempts to achieve a relative state of Nirvana on Earth. This is why the woman has always been subservient to the dominant male. She knows that true strength is not mastery of another but mastery of oneself. This is a concept the man is unable to grasp. He follows his base instincts and allows them to control his life. In this way, man in fact has less power than woman. What could possibly be more powerful than the mastery of one’s own mind and body? This is the next step in human evolution. If it is not taken, we will surely destroy ourselves; if it is, we will perfect ourselves.

The Importance of Unrequited Love

     Dante_and_beatrice

     We’ve all been there. We all have that one: elegant, graceful, beautiful, perfect. And out of our grasp. A love that could be so wonderful if only they felt the same way back. And yet we do not blame them; they are perfect, after all. It must be something we are doing wrong, must be some flaw in our character, some error in our personality. And so we look within and try to change, but there is no happy ending. Venus always eludes our grasp. But we never lose hope, no matter what happens. We never stop thinking, never stop trying, never stop loving the one who will never love us back. And through this we are lifted up ourselves to do things we would never have thought possible before. This is the power of unrequited love.
     There are several definitions of unrequited love, or perhaps misconceptions of what the true meaning of the phrase is. One who truly loves another would never do anything to hurt them, never grow angry with them, never become frustrated but for their own failings. Unrequited love is also very different from unconditional love. Unconditional love is an obligation, something that is a natural part of human life as with families and the like. Unrequited love is a choice, and therein lies the difference. With unrequited love, we throw ourselves into a whirlwind of emotions, knowing the end result will always disappoint, and yet holding on to the impossible hope, the perfect ideal, which overwhelms all reason. This devotion is not out of obligation but of choice, and for that it is much stronger, much deeper. It is a love that is given to another, not because they want it, but because they deserve it. This is the essence of unrequited love.
     Unrequited love need not be for another person. It could be for a country or a deity. But in all its forms, they key characteristic of unrequited love is that it inspires men to great things. It inspires the most selfless acts known to man, the greatest artistic achievements known to man. It inspires the lowly to raise themselves up and strive for greatness. It allows us to become something greater than we ever thought was possible. Through a pure love, a love unadulterated by the realities of life, a love that exists only as a perfect ideal within the mind, we can become more than we ever imagined. This is the importance of unrequited love.