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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Extreme self-awareness

I came across an interesting article today, one of those caught-it-out-of-the-corner-of-my-eye-while-I-was-wandering-the-vast-expanses-of-the-Internet kind of things. Titled The Urge To End It All, by Scott Anderson, it talks about a couple of aspects of suicide in a rather interesting way. Now, I'm sure there's tons of information out there about this phenomenon, and why people do it, and what they were thinking, and the preferred method of offing themselves, etc. But I don't think a lot of people look at preventing suicide by focusing on the "how" and not the "why", as Anderson points out.

The most fascinating thing about suicide for me, is that people have the ability to do it. I mean, it's one thing to be aware of your existence on several levels -- the physical space you occupy on this planet, the role you play in life, society and family, and knowing where you are now to be able to rejoin the universal soul -- but it's a whole other thing to be able to end it. I mean, that seems to go against the very instinct of survival, perhaps the strongest instinct there is, and that seems to take some sort of courage. Sure, if all of these people had all this courage, then why didn't they face their fears? Right. Makes sense, I think. But they are a bit disadvantaged for not being able to answer from the "other side". And, though still six feet under, I'm not sure they appreciate the judgement that is continuously handed down to them the moment this topic comes up in conversation.

What if they just couldn't care anymore? It's become such an effort to wake up in the morning that these people find it laborious and unbelievably pointless to have to even inhale and exhale. Well, in that case, I imagine that the most effort they would be able to muster at that point in time, should it be focused on bringing an end to this miserable existence, cannot be viewed as cowardly or otherwise escapist. What else were they supposed to do? Confront their apathy towards breathing in and out? Get help? What if they don't want help? What if they just don't want this anymore? Then, they should be able to take their lives and get out of the misery game. But I walk on dangerous, ramble-worthy ground here, and I'm going to save it for later.

Take a look at the article, should you fancy a gander, but be in awe of the power of life, always. It is all pervading, omnipresent, and has a greater, overall purpose. Suicide is one way of getting out of it. Perhaps there is disagreement about the world we have created and not wishing to be a part of it. Or perhaps there is an unwillingness to exist. An extreme kind of self-awareness, perhaps.

Here's an excerpt from the article which I think is very interesting because it describes the madness that ensues the setting of human behaviour and tendencies to patterns or formulae:
Yet even mental-health experts have tended to regard these very different types of suicide in much the same way. I was struck by this upon meeting with two doctors who are among the most often-cited experts on suicide — and specifically on suicide by jumping. Both readily acknowledged the high degree of impulsivity associated with that method, but also considered that impulsivity as simply another symptom of mental illness. “Of all the hundreds of jumping suicides I’ve looked at,” one told me, “I’ve yet to come across a case where a mentally healthy person was walking across a bridge one day and just went over the side. It just doesn’t happen. There’s almost always the presence of mental illness somewhere.” It seemed to me there was an element of circular logic here: that the act proved the intent that proved the illness.
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