[Note: It is August 30, 2018, and I have to say, this remains one of my most-searched for and most-viewed posts. If anything I write in here helps you get through the day and decide to live, I will consider this entire blog worthwhile.]
It’s no secret that human beings have a self-destructive streak. It’s a dark part of life that’s nobody likes talking about, but it explains so much. I myself chalk it up to Original Sin, but if your mileage may vary depending on, if any.
In any event, much of what civilization, religion, and other structures try to do is to mitigate and channel these impulses towards good ends. But it’s not always so easy.
There is a picture I’ve seen depicting Donald Duck willfully inhaling what purports to be some cyanide gas with his superimposed voice bubble saying “Thank you, Jesus.” It cracks me up in a morbid way. I used to post this on social media after certain stories or other things that honestly made me give up hope for humanity.
It’s dark and it’s farcical, but sometimes death can be funny and it needs to be joked about because the world is pretty awful. After all, unless you’re incredibly optimistic, you really have to admit that the world is pretty much garbage. But what separates the living from the dead is what you do with this knowledge.
Personally, and I’m not trying to convert anybody here, religion does the trick for me. But it is important to note that there are many in the world who actively want you to become a statistic.
I see this with men, especially in America, and particularly the white ones, of which I am one.
It’s true: White men in America are offing themselves at alarming rates. Now depending on your particular brand of hatred, you might view this as a good thing. But as one who tends to like everybody, and not to be a fan of suicide, this is disturbing. Not because I can’t understand why anybody would want to kill themselves, but because of how many people actually go through with it.
Before we go on, lest you think I am a pro suicide, the song suicide chump by Frank Zappa, posted below, pretty much encapsulates my feelings on the subject:
In fact, my point is that, while I don’t know why so many men, particularly white ones, are killing themselves, I’d really like to encourage them not to do it.
Let’s take a look at why one might actually do this–this applies universally, but having more experience as a male of the species, some of this is more directed at them. And like the title of this post suggests, let’s look at the pros and cons of suicide.
It’s over. That’s right! All your worries, burdens, and cares will be left behind. Whether you believe in the afterlife or the sweet oblivion of nothingness, suicide is sure one way to get off this ride we call life.
Whatever your hardships–physical, mental, personal, financial, chemical–they can all be ended relatively simply. This is the direction Europe is going–more euthanasia than suicide, if you want to get technical–and we all know that everything Europe does is awesome, right? It all depends on your threshold for pain and fright. And what you believe about the nature of the human soul, if anything.
So this is really the only pro I can think of. And it is tempting, believe me it’s tempting. But at the end of the day I still don’t think it’s worth it. Now let’s turn it to the cons.
Religious/spiritual. For many people, suicide is a sure way not to punch your ticket to paradise. In my church, for example, you aren’t even allowed a proper burial unless it can be medically proven that your suicide was the result of mental illness. Now, to me, that’s kind of a deterrent.
It’s scary. Honestly, suicide is very scary and very irreversible. This is not to say that death itself is scary. It’s not. It’s just that doing it willfully by your own hand is. Unless you don’t die when you swallow that’s poison or fire that’s projectile into your head or jump off of that high point onto something more solid below, once you do it there’s no turning back. And let’s say you do survive. You’re going to be pretty messed up in a lot of different ways.
It’s admitting defeat. And here’s the biggest one, at least for me. While I would say that I love God more than anything, sometimes I hate the devil more than I love the Lord. I’m convinced a lot of this spiritual sickness, this acedia in the world, is the result of the devil. And killing yourself is just saying to the world, “You win. I give up.”
So don’t be a statistic.
Isn’t this horrible? I’m basically telling the Internet here that a large part of the reason I am still alive is out of spite.
But if that’s all you’ve got, then run with it.
No matter who you are, no matter your beliefs, do not let yourself be defeated by the world. If your continued existence is nothing more than a walking middle finger to a world that wants you gone, so be it.
So live for spite if you must. I do many days, but you don’t have to be miserable about it. Life is pretty simple: be good to each other, help the next generation on there one way trip through life, and try to laugh and have fun.
At the end of the day, it’s better to see life through to the bitter end if for no other reason then, when you do the math, there’s probably more good than bad in it, especially if you live in the Western world, even though that is rapidly changing.
And let’s not forget about the biggest con of suicide, and I’m using the word con in both senses, and that is that it is somehow beneficial.
Because it’s not.