Suicide and the need for spectacle (Part 2)

In the corner of your room a thick, yellow nylon cord you used to pack your things last month when you transferred place looked very inviting, perhaps so inviting that you took it and started to do simple knots forming a loop that can be adjusted like the ropes used by cowboys to catch animals in Western movies you watch with so much interest.

Under your bed is a Baygon insecticide for killing pesky cockroaches you abhor. Well, you also hate the smell of it whenever your landlady spray it in your room every week, but, you all of a sudden, had this unexplainable urge to sniff it.

You turned your head to check the time and you inadvertently saw the bottle of sleeping pills lying on top of your study table, the bluish white label looking too conspicuous before the helluva of books you have not started reading.

You decided to wash your face and while staring at the reflection of yourself in front of the mirror, the light bouncing from the razor gave a slight illumination on your cheek; you thought it was beautiful. You held the razor.

You then decided to open the window and looked down at the traffic below your room in the tenth floor; the careening cars seemed to be smiling at you, inviting you to join their never-ending bustle.

If there is one human activity that fascinates you more than anything else, it’s suicide.

Le Suicide by Edouard Manet
Le Suicide by Edouard Manet

Life, for me, is all about passion. It is the energy that keeps me burning inside and sustains me to be the best in whatever I do. Without this passion life ends. It’ll never be a metaphysical question on my part for going in the realm of metaphysics to explain why I act the way I do and why I see life in a manner that I see it now will not make sense, at least for me.

Suicide is more of a crying for help. It is not the actual desire to die. It is to attract attention to something that has gone hopeless because of solitude, hopelessness, or a protest against the cruelty of life.

Will it ever be justified? I say yes.

Suicide taboo is not universal. Western religions as well as Asian religions (those descending from Abraham) i.e. Judaism, Islam, Christianity condemn it as a crime against life. But in some Eastern culture it is viewed as honorable if not altogether necessary. Result of researches point out that males are more successful in committing suicide more than females although females have more unsuccessful attempts. Being male, lacking a social network where I can open up my qualms, fears in life, being unable to show emotions in a society where males are not expected to show deeper aspects of human emotion, I am vulnerable.

I can never speak about something I do not understand, and here I am confronted with a choice I have to contend with, but something I neither fully understand nor expect to comprehend in this lifetime. Something that we all have to pass through, sort of a rites of passage. But the stake is bigger; it’s not just about being accepted in the adult world-it’s a stake as big and as important as life itself.

Suicide is a personal decision.

Despite being a personal thing it should not be done in a sloppy, lop-sided, undramatic manner. For all, suicide must be tragic. Following the logic used above, for it to be tragic it must involve spectacle. Spectacle, however, is dependent on time. Hanging, slashing, over-dosage, jumping from the building’s tenth floor are becoming passé through the years because of over-use and inartistic way of doing them. The challenge, aside from finding the will to end one’s life, is to make it a statement of the kind of life one had while still alive.

Suicide does not cheapen life, rather it has a higher purpose, more than the perfunctory manner most of us see life. Suicide celebrates life in its highest sense.

I’ve contemplated about it for so many times, but I am being eaten by my passion for life. Living is so much better than dying. And besides, the pressure of making the act very tragic, something worthy of spectacle, is just too much to bear.

But will it ever be an option? I say yes.


6 thoughts on “Suicide and the need for spectacle (Part 2)”

  1. Dave, thanks for sharing your realizations here. i couldn’t gather the courage to respond to our buddy’s comment. but really, thanks.

    happy new year. all the best.

  2. Jesus buddy, your life can’t be that cheap. What happened to the laugh about it in a year test? I’ve been against the wall and didn’t do it and now I feel vaguely ridiculous for even thinking that way. Your wife probably loves you more than you think – my family’s love turned out to be pretty unconditional too.

    Don’t protest uselessly against an economic downturn caused by wanker bankers with your precious life.


  3. Good commentary on suicide. I love being alive and there are lots of things I love doing. However, I have been out of work for almost a year now and despite finding positions I am a good match for and pursuing the leads through live, human beings, I still can’t get face-to-face interviews. In worst cases, I can’t even get someone to acknowledge that I exist. Even after letters, emails, and phone calls.
    The only reason I’ve hung on is so my wife doesn’t have a breakdown. When I go, she is not going to handle it well. I want her to be happy and yet I’m stuck with the realization that I’m going to do something that will in all likelyhood, break her emotionally.
    For the time being, I’m at least getting unemployment for another 12-14 weeks. There are some other things I love that I can make minor amounts of money doing. Certainly not enough the pay the bills with. From a provider standpoint, I won’t be of much use in 3 months. I won’t even be of much use for emotional support. My best hope is that after my wife tries to work a second job and pick up hours to compensate for my failure, she will resent me enough to thank God I am dead.
    This is where the need for spectacle comes in. I could hang myself in the garage and worry about who is going to find my body. Or I could do it somewhere to make a statement and be heard. Like in front of the Board of Trade, or a major city building. There are millions of people out of work right now who have no hope of being hired in the near future. Not because they don’t have skills or are unqualified to work, but because an automated keyword search or mindless resume screener excludes that person from a job. Never mind the fact the person was doing that exact job earlier in the year, is college educated, and never had a problem learning new skills before.
    If I can’t land a job, the best thing I can do is be a voice to make people take notice. Hopefully, the witnesses to the act can pass a message. There are lots of other bodies in the world, but if you give them a chance, maybe they can be of some use. I’m sorry to put my family through this, but there are millions of people in the same state of hopelessness. If someone notices them, maybe they wouldn’t have to worry about going through this sort of thing.
    Suicide by itself is a pointless and selfish act. But by making it a visible act, maybe some sense can be made of the circumstances behind it.

  4. Thank you for the response and for providing new insights on responding to people who are on the verge of suicide. And that’s so true, suicide is a result of a long personal struggle. It is not a quick response. So by the time a person finally decides to commit suicide it’s already impossible to stop.

  5. Why suicide? When someone is suicidal the question to ask is, “Why suicide now?” Suicide crisis centers treat someone’s suicidal ideations as an immediate, knee-jerk response to an immediate (yet eventually passing) crisis. In reality, quite the opposite is true: suicidal ideation is the last effort of the individual to remain alive. It’s a way of saying, “I’ve been in pain for so long, my circumstances have been getting worse for years, and this is my last plea: Can anyone help me?” Suicide crisis centers aren’t prepared to handle this; most who work/volunteer at such centers have never been in such outer reaches of despair (that’s precisely why they have jobs and are not suicidal). If they can’t understand the degree of angst that the suicidal individual feels–if they can’t even suspect what this degree could be–is it any wonder that their approach to suicidal clients is a 5-minute crisis-intervention consultation? 5 minutes in which to understand the suicidal person’s current situation (which has likely been building over a lifetime), as well as to offer a nicely-packaged “Go home to those who love you” solution. LOL. This, no doubt, will make the individual even more suicidal, precisely because she (the suicidee) is correct: people do not understand. Those who do understand are likely already dead or in prison.

    The nature of our society is one fixated upon the double bind, which itself is rooted in power. Examples of the double-bind: be in pain but don’t complain; allow others to abuse you but pretend that they’re the sweetest people in the world (especially if they’re family); get a job but don’t complain when they’ll only let you work 20 hours. Buy everything you see but don’t go into debt. The list goes on ad infinitum. Usually, people have a support netword (friends, family, co-workers) that helps them survive the constant onslaught of double-binds. The suicidal individual, in contrast, often not only doesn’t have such a support network, but also likely faces other problems as well: depression, sadness, lack of hope. The question, then, is whether suicide, under such circumstances, is a rational (and, perhaps, best-interest) choice.

    The Netherlands has passed a law legalizing assisted suicides for those in chronic physical or psychological pain. I find this both interesting and humane. Some people are physically healthy but their circumstances are such that, because of the environment in which they grew up and their lack of access to either work and/or a support system, they are continually in psychological pain. They exist physically, but their existence goes unacknowledged. They live in the world but are not of it, regardless of how hard they try. This is often the situation of adults who, as children, were unwanted and, consequently, abused and neglected. Because their parents did not create a place for them in this world, they remain “strangers in a strange land,” isolated and alone, and in considerable psychological torment. Under such circumstances, isn’t suicide (assisted or otherwise) not only more humane but also a better and more merciful solution? I think yes, particularly when the individuals in the multitude of “helping” professions refuse to provide any substantive help at all, or any help that lasts beyond the length of a “therapeutic session.”

    In Japan, suicide is considered a realistic solution to an insurmountable problem and, as such, is not frowned upon. In the West, suicide is illegal because it shatters the media-promoted illusion that “things are so much better over here.” Actually, they’re not, and suicide illustrates this in a powerful way. When a society is predicated upon denial, is it surprising that the ultimate act of denial is to claim that the suicidal individual’s actions were those of “someone gone mad,” rather than the result of “someone who had been completely shunned” by a society that is purportedly so caring, successful, and generous?

    Truth versus reality; authenticity versus simulacra; suicide versus living a physical life of psychological non-existence and torture. Psychological non-existence results from others actively denying one’s existence and identity. If a person commits suicide, she is responsible for the act itself, but I would argue that Western society, and its individual members (including those in the “helping professions”), are the one who made the circumstances possible.

  6. suicide is the zenith of a person’s life, when a person breaks free of life’s bonds. it’s something like defying the fate that’s in store for us at the end of our days (old age, senility, disease).

    death is the next phase of our lives. some call it life after existence. death is the part of our “life” where we live on in everyone’s memories after our biological lifespan.

    anyway, suicide is appealing to those who want to escape life. not all suicidal aspirations are the same.

    some romanticized suicide, since it provides solace and adventure that treads the line between the divine and the mundane, offering a reason to live and a reason to die, at the same time. many find the balance they seek, when things in their lives go out of hand.

    suicide humbles the soul, it breaks down the barriers of individualistic pursuits, and pierces empathy to the souls of those who had ties with the suicidee.

    suicide offers the final escape. when the curtains fall, and the light goes out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s