The Lure of Death

#1
Suicide as a Uniquely Human Phenomenon

Quote:Someone in the United States kills themselves every 12 minutes.  More people die from suicide than all wars and homicides combined.
Is suicide biologically adaptive?
  • Altruistic Suicide
  • Egoistic Suicide
The problem from an evolutionary point of view is that 90 percent of suicides are egotistical.
Why haven’t humans evolved to have better innate defenses against suicide?
What should we tell people who want to kill themselves?

Lavengro by George Borrow

Borrow: What is your opinion on death?
Jasper:  Life is sweet, brother.  Who would wish to die?
Borrow:  I would wish to die.
Jasper:  You talk like a fool.  Wish to die, indeed.  
There’s night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things.  There’s the wind on the heath, brother; if I could only feel that, I would gladly live forever.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgrJCk-sTC4

What about just telling them the truth?

There’s no peace, no comfort, and no solace in death.  These things that you seek only exist in life.
Reply
#2
Suicide isn't unique to humans as a species.

Bees will die should they sting a person as their tail has barbs and it can lead to their abdomens being ripped off.

Various mammals will stop eating if suffering (from injury or captivity) to the point they will actually starve themselves to death. That can either be considered a way they intend to cease suffering or just finding a way out from a situation they can't escape.

Cattle can stampede and either run or be pushed off cliffs due to the herd mentality.

Lemmings too can have a biological imperative for death (although technically that's more about trying to find food to survive rather than planning to die)

As a species we have evolved to use tools, we've evolved to attempt to adapt to situations (puzzle solving) In some respects you could imply that if we are nurtured to understand that there is always a way, always the potential of an alternative solution that might not be clear straight away, It would likely be found that the number of people with suicidal tendencies would be lessened.

The thought of a quick way out is likely something that most (if not all) people have considered at one time or another, in fact it might even be proposed as a method to deal with a lose-lose scenario (like gaining a terminal illness etc) So the thought alone is just part of living, the act however well that as I've mentioned is more apart of not understanding that there is always an alternative. It's just looking for that alternative, be it through the help of others or through re-evaluating everything.
Reply
#3
Hi Secular Sanitary.  Sadly the something in life for so many people is predominantly misery.  That makes the option of the nothingness of death more appealing.

I hate the idea of suicide deeply.  I hate the ultimate defeat it imposes on the victim of the cold universe. Yet the human animal can only endure so much.

In this age when civics discourse so largely involves the sentiment, https://www.scivillage.com/thread-3465-p...l#pid19736 , so many people are pushed beyond the endurable limits of despair.
Reply
#4
(Apr 26, 2018 09:48 PM)stryder Wrote: Suicide isn't unique to humans as a species.

Yes, but we can’t call that suicide, Stryder.

From the video…
"Animals cannot be choosing death because as far as we know, they haven’t discovered what death means."

(Apr 26, 2018 09:51 PM)elte Wrote: In this age when civics discourse so largely involves the sentiment, https://www.scivillage.com/thread-3465-p...l#pid19736 , so many people are pushed beyond the endurable limits of despair.

You know, Eeyore is more fitting than elte.  

I know, and you’re right, elte, but the do-gooders need to start paying more attention to the stats instead of the headlines.  Speaking of which, I wonder who thought of this.  It was brilliant!
Reply
#5
(Apr 26, 2018 08:51 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote: The problem from an evolutionary point of view is that 90 percent of suicides are egotistical.
Why haven’t humans evolved to have better innate defenses against suicide?
What should we tell people who want to kill themselves?

Nature versus nurture. Evolution operates on the former and has no means of addressing the latter.

Quote:What about just telling them the truth?

There’s no peace, no comfort, and no solace in death. These things that you seek only exist in life.

The suicidal are not seeking peace, comfort, or solace. They're seeking oblivion.
Reply
#6
(Apr 26, 2018 11:15 PM)Syne Wrote: The suicidal are not seeking peace, comfort, or solace. They're seeking oblivion.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do agree with Thomas Clark, though, that even the non-religious struggle with the concept of nothingness.  

"Consciousness is all we are and all we have."
Thomas W. Clark, founder of Center for Naturalism, wrote a paper titled "Death, Nothingness, and Subjectivity". He critiqued what he saw as a flawed description of eternal oblivion as a "plunge into darkness". When some imagine their deaths (including the non-religious), they project themselves into a future self which experiences an eternal silent darkness. This is wrong, because without consciousness, there is no awareness of space and no basis for time. For Clark, in oblivion there isn't even an absence of experience, as we can only speak of experience when a subjective self exists.

According to neuroscientist Giulio Tononi, consciousness is "all we are and all we have: lose consciousness and, as far as you are concerned, your own self and the entire world dissolve into nothingness."

Eternal Oblivion (wikipedia.org)
Reply
#7
Is this the new trend? .....If you've seen the video of the cop in Toronto who took down the sidewalk pedestrian killer it isn't hard to figure that the perp was attempting suicide by cop. I find it more than disturbing to have a suicide wannabe/victim murdering people to facilitate their own death.

Then again, people have also willingly given up their own life to save that of another/others? Is that suicide?
Reply
#8
(Apr 27, 2018 04:19 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Then again, people have also willingly given up their own life to save that of another/others? Is that suicide?

Yes, as noted above, it's called altruistic suicide.

What are thoughts on the role of clergy in preventing suicide, Zinman? Do you think they have the qualifications to deal with this issue?
ROLLIN: It is estimated that for every person who commits suicide, as many as 25 others attempt it. What should be the clergy’s response when confronted with a suicidal member of their church? Are they sufficiently trained to know how to respond?

Fr. RUBEY: If the person is acutely suicidal, unless a clergyperson has professional training in behavioral health, they’re really not. I mean, we’re talking about someone’s life.

ROLLIN: And yet, according to studies, people with severe psychiatric problems will initially seek help not from a mental health professional, but from a clergyman.

Dr. CLARK: They’re closer to home. They feel safer with them. They trust them more.

ROLLIN: Can that be dangerous?

Dr. CLARK: Sure, depending on the amount of training they have. If they try to do it solo, with too little training, and they don’t realize what they’re working with, it can be a kind of ticking time bomb.

ROLLIN: And there is no evidence that people who are religious are less likely than anyone else to suffer from depression or to take their own life.

Fr. RUBEY: Many, many years ago, it was the opinion that people who are attached to organized religion had less of a chance of completing suicide. That’s no longer the case. Again, suicide is not about religion. It’s not about morality. It’s about pain.

Religion and Suicide

In Bergman's view, Winter Light represents the end of his study on whether God exists, after which human love became his main concern.



Gerald Mast writes,

"Like the gravedigger in Hamlet, the Squire [...] treats death as a bitter and hopeless joke. Since we all play chess with death, and since we all must suffer through that hopeless joke, the only question about the game is how long it will last and how well we will play it. To play it well, to live, is to love and not to hate the body and the mortal as the Church urges in Bergman's metaphor."
The Seventh Seal (wikipedia.org)
Reply
#9
Quote:What are thoughts on the role of clergy in preventing suicide, Zinman? Do you think they have the qualifications to deal with this issue?

Without looking at the spoiler I would say no. Without a particular Abrahamic religion in mind, I think clergy can offer up more enterprising reasons for killing their fellow man than preventing suicide. In some ways their advice ironically overlaps in this respect, I think. Then there's the deity who kills while punishing those who imitate his actions. Relying on the clergy is like putting your faith in NK dictators Big Grin
Reply
#10
(Apr 27, 2018 04:06 PM)Secular Sanity Wrote:
(Apr 26, 2018 11:15 PM)Syne Wrote: The suicidal are not seeking peace, comfort, or solace. They're seeking oblivion.

I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do agree with Thomas Clark, though, that even the non-religious struggle with the concept of nothingness.  

"Consciousness is all we are and all we have."

(Apr 27, 2018 04:19 PM)Zinjanthropos Wrote: Is this the new trend? .....If you've seen the video of the cop in Toronto who took down the sidewalk pedestrian killer it isn't hard to figure that the perp was attempting suicide by cop. I find it more than disturbing to have a suicide wannabe/victim murdering people to facilitate their own death.

Then again, people have also willingly given up their own life to save that of another/others? Is that suicide?

There are two directions in the most primal drive, toward life or toward death. And those who are moving toward death are often not all that particular about whose death they move toward. While those who move toward life can be indiscriminate about whose life they save as well, and it has nothing to do with suicide (altruistic suicide is a misnomer). It's not about peace or solace because it's about extreme escapism, where even the loss of self is desired.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)