Well Ralph, on the one hand, a cynic might say that only a fool would not get depressed reading about this world we live in. But an optimist might equally well say, how can you have progress without problems and mistakes to learn from ?
My philosophy for much of my life has been to learn as much as possible from other people's mistakes - to that end I've read scores of autobiographies, histories and biographies, and I can tell you, it is a real eye-opener to read both sides of the story at Yalta, or Gdansk, or the Warsaw Ghetto.
Knowledge is a double edged sword, but so is ignorance. If you are living hand-to mouth, existing by the grace and favour of others, your expectations and your ambitions shrink, until you are just focussing on the basics. And when you learn to do this, you begin to appreciate the importance of emtional bonds, in a way that many money movers in Wall Street, with condos and cars and good restaurant tables, cannot.
On the downside, if you can't make your ambitions shrink to fit your circumstances, you are either going to achieve something great, or die trying. And in either case, along the way you will be mentally ill at some point, because that's part of the make-or-break process.
All of which might seem irrelevant to the knowledge/ignorance idea, but having a worm's eye view, however good a perspective it gives you of life's finer details, has the huge drawback of leaving one easily confused. A farmer in Sudan might enjoy life more each day as it comes than most rat-race commuters; but when the rains fail, or revolution rears its head, how can he possibly know what is really happening or likely to happen, or most vitally, what the correct thing to do is ? A moral compass is not a pragmatic map; we all need both.
Love people,use things, not the other way round. (There goes the Christmas rush...! ) Failure is better training for success than success is. Doing the right thing is achieved by knowing what order your priorities should lie in, given the situation.
And finally, as the Russian proverb says, "Advice is like snow. The softer it falls, the longer it lingers."
You'll note I ignore that one all the time Ralph ! But never without feeling I'm throwing a dice.
Can't help but feel that I should be mentioning the importance of humour, with an example to demonstrate....but I'm just not witty enough right now Ralph. I hope the home-grown potted-philosophy suffices to sate your inner man for just now...