Livingston postulates that there are two interesting things that set us aside from other animals:
2: an ability to contemplate our own death
He sees these as not unrelated. Instead they are uniquely human attributes that cut to the paradox of life: it is possible to be happy in the face of our own mortality.
We are in the grip of forces we cannot control and yet we do not give up.
This life lesson is sometimes never learned. And the loss of hope (which Livingston argues is the ONLY thing a person really needs), can lead to mental illnesses such as depression.
I have more hope than anyone you will ever meet which likely accounts for why I am the least depressed person I know. Why I am so relentlessly and enthusiastically optimistically hopeful, I have no idea.
Maybe it’s because I can’t deal with disappointment and this hopefulness is an odd side effect of some random disappointment-phobia.