Saturday, August 16, 2014

Suicide

As we all know, on Monday of this week beloved actor Robin Williams committed suicide this week. The world mourns the actor, although it should be noted that while Mr Williams was a schizophrenic, a fool and nearly a clown, he was never remotely a comedian. Don't believe me, tell me your favorite Robin Williams line.... I am waiting.... I bet you by this time tomorrow you still will be holding an empty sack pertaining to this question, while if I asked you about Woody Allen, Milton Berle, Bill Maher, or Jack Nicholson you would find one instantly.

Regardless of my feelings about Mr. Williams career, I am saddened by his death. Even more so knowing that he caused his own tragic end. As we mourn for him, let us talk about the even bigger elephant in the room: Suicide.

All people either know someone who has committed suicide, tried to commit suicide, contemplated committing suicide, or thought of committing suicide ourselves. However, we are not open about this topic nearly enough. Myself, I have thought about suicide several times, although I have never attempted it. I am also aware that most people fall in the last category, so I want to speak about that specifically.

The reasons that people think about suicide are varied, but most revolve around the idea that life is meaningless or that our own life is not valuable. I understand why people can feel that way, and undoubtedly many or most people will feel that way at some point in their mortal existence.

In one sense, they are right. If we were not alive, many of the things we accomplish would have simply been accomplished by others. Perhaps David Hume said it best in his essay about suicide saying "The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster." Moses said in another way after seeing a vision of the cosmos "Man is nothing."

However, there is another aspect that is often overlooked. Suicide is in reality a symptom of selfishness and comes from the delusion that life is simply about us and our happiness. In no case is that the purpose of life. Man is made so that he may find happiness in this world, and how does he do it? By serving a cause that is greater than himself and forgetting himself in the cause of others. In no case has this been found to not lead to true happiness.

As we mourn for Mr. Williams, let us analyze our own lives and see where we are headed. If we are constantly wrapped up in ourselves, suicide will seen rational and reasonable. If we are lost in the cause of others, suicide will never cross our minds.

4 comments:

  1. It's closely related to happiness. The happiest people are selfless, while selfish people often find themselves unhappy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said. I agree that what we accomplish could be done by others ultimately, but also joy comes from being involved in this existence. We can become invaluable to others, even if we weren't entirely necessary in the first place. God for instance would not be any less happy if I never had existed, or some other individuals, but since we started to exist, we have become invaluable to Him.

    Suicide is a terribly sad thing. I was not Robin Williams' biggest fan, but I was sadenned anyways to hear of his death. I hope we can use this as a preventative tool to help others move from this same choice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow- you got it completely wrong. Depression is not about selfishness. It is about a disease in the brain. You really should do more research before you post something like this. Apparently, you have never been depressed nor have known anyone racked by this terrible disease. It is awful. And, it and the people who suffer therefrom, deserve compassion, but, most of all, medical help. Would you say that someone who has cancer has it because of selfishness? Never would you. Please do not do the same thing with depression. It is a disease of the mind and brain, it needs medicinal help to heal, and, many times, it also needs cognitive therapy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Duck, (If I may)

      I did not say that depression was in any sort about selfishness. As you said, depression is a disease and needs medical treatment.

      I said suicide (which is what this post is about, not depression) was a symptom of selfishness. Most people who have attempted suicide and failed have also said as much.

      Delete