Sunday, 11 August 2013

You and Hesperic Depression - the Sunday Blues.

Poet, doctor, scientist, researcher, lawyer, all-round genius. 
Born in 1871, Eugene Nielen Marais was probably the most gifted South African who ever lived.
His work on white ants and baboons put him half a century ahead of his time. "Die Siel van die Mier" (The soul of the White Ant) was plagiarised by a European Nobel Prize winner.

Anyway: The Sunday afternoon blues. Know that feeling of malaise and just a general feeling of depression when the sun sets on a Sunday? That I-don't-want-to-be-alone feeling. (Yeah, I'm writing this at 03.30 on a Monday morning).

Marais was the first to coin the phrase Hesperic Depression. During his research on the Chacma baboon he noticed that a general sense of malaise and depression would settle on the whole troop at sunset. This seemed to happen every time the troop settles down for the night. Baboons sleep in the highest branches that will bear their weight, or on steep, inaccessible cliffs.
They fear nothing more than their nocturnal enemy, the leopard.

He postulated that the depression stems from fear and uncertainty about the terrors that might lie ahead in the hours of darkness. Hence the term 'Hesperic' (Hesperos = Venus, appearing as the Evening Star). They hope to survive till first light.
Marais extrapolated that to human behaviour. We don't fear the leopard anymore, but we have a similar subconscious fear - the week ahead.
To modern society, the weekend is our dawn and our sunlight. It is something we look forward to, getting away from the stress of earning a living, interacting with people and work we don't necessarily want to interact with. We don't want Mondays to happen. The baboons don't want to see Venus.

Family, eh?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Awesome post!!! Here's to Monday! Cheers!!