3.8.04

Life, Death, and Suicide

Some Thoughts About It.

It is my strong personal belief that life is extremely rare and precious. And the odds against life in this universe, taking all the things that science knows into consideration are overwhelmingly high. It is much nearer to impossible than possible for life to exist in this universe as we understand it. So why have we been blessed with it? The only answer that I can find is that we possess life simply because God ( or whatever you have) decided that against all the odds, somehow for some reason  just deserve it. Yes, we are so special in the eyes of God that he decided to bless us with this so very fragile precious rare and special gift of life. No different than any blade of grass or any bug or any creature in the sea, we all share the common blessing of a deserved life and we are part of the web of collective consciousness.

Why then,  if life is so special does it become so painful and so hard to live? Even though we have been given this life, it is up to us to maintain it. In order to maintain it we need a balance of health in body, mind and spirit. All of which need to be exercised on some regular basis. But the key word is balance.

All in all most life on this planet goes on as expected. The big fish eat the little fish and on and on. If we do good things we get good things and sometimes bad things happen to good lives. But for the most part, life goes on as it should taking the laws of physics, the laws of God into account. Sometimes life is exceptionally  hard because it is out of balance. The more out of balance you get the harder it becomes. There are whole regions of this planet that are out of balance. They pay a price. There is a whole generation getting out of balance and it too will pay a price. The price is hardship and toil. The bible calls them curses.  But even with that, there is plenty of good in this world.

Every now and again a life comes along that is disfigured. This life has a difficult time in it's environment and it will probably die if it can not adapt to it's immediate environment. We can see this when it happens physically, but we can't see it easily when it happens mentally or emotionally. We become perplexed and we wonder why such a life dies when we see no obvious reason.

There are emotional and mental deformities that are as severe and crippling as physical deformities, making the ability to exist nearly, if not impossible. A deformed life may well survive but be crippled and disadvantage and never fend for it's self very well. Generally to die sooner than it's siblings or peers. This is understood in the adage "culling the heard" where the less adapted get eaten by the more adapted or get killed by the forces of nature. This "law of the jungle" doesn't usually come to mind when we're talking about humans with emotional or mental issues.
Sometimes people are born with mental and emotional deformities ( from moron to super genius) that prevent them from ever adapting to the social environment that they were born into to. Consequently winding up with a very poor quality of life and eventually an early death for any number of reasons. As a rule when we try and step in and repair a deformation we usually do little if any good and often make the situations worse. Mental and emotional deformities can be difficult to see or diagnose much less fix.

Some with deformities know or feel they have them and can still have an instinctual abilities to survive. However there are others that also know they are different and know they have an instinctual desire to die. 

Some physical deformities leave the body, brain or maybe the nervous system exposed or too vulnerable making them too sensitive to survive. Emotional deformities or even mental deformities can't be just as debilitating.


If a person is not born crippled they can become so in the course of their life. It is possible to receive so much stimulation that eventually it breaks the psychy or mind and death is the most humane option. When the decision to die has been reached from one that has been permanently emotionally crippled I believe this should be considered a natural decision. A decision that benefits all concerned especially the afflicted.

There are always those that can come up with some theoretical or ideological way to solve every problem that someone else has. Most of the time they are not enough. And sometimes suicide is just simply the most humane option Our society in general works on this principle.  For instance, I am liver disease patient and a lung patient and because I have no family or permanent support system the powers that be have decided that I do not qualify for either transplant. But I wouldn't want it any other way because the quality of life is really what it's about anyway.

I really try hard to look at both sides of the suicide issue and I just don't see how anyone can come out with any other conclusion, than emotional pain is as crippling as physical pain. And may be in reality even more disabling.  And at times is too much to live with.

Our life is not for others though, it is for ourselves and when we live in harmony with others we find harmony in self. And if someone finds themselves out of harmony and wants to pass this life and go on to the next one, then that is their choice. This choice is a God given unalienable right they deserve no criticism for their choice. The ones that want to die and leave this material world do not try and save you from living. For you deserve to have that choice without interference or interruption. If one feels a need to communicate about their choice to get on that bus (commit suicide) then let them do so in peace without fear of ridicule, or arrest or incarceration, or restraint of any kind. It simply is not your place to interrupt someone's death anymore than it would be someone else's place to interrupt you in your living or contemplation of your living. To interrupt is to assume that person's feelings and thoughts have no validity. Just because one is feeling suicidal in no way means that they can't or shouldn't think and feel for themselves. This is critical: An interruption of the natural thought and feeling process of that person at that time will in all probability result in frustration and their inability to think things through, consequently winding up with fragmented thoughts and feelings that are impossible to reassemble in a coherent order that could have otherwise created a solution. Now left with no hope because of the chain of events created by the interruption or intervention. Now that person has little choice but to end their life. All that can be been done for certain is the postponement of the suicide. Had the person been allowed to think and feel it out, the suicide may very well have been prevented. But nothing is crueler than forcing one to suffer by stopping them from going through a natural thought process to weigh their options.

When a person gets to the point they want to die they are not losers, nor are they weak nor wrong and they are not stupid. They are hurting and they are feeling many different and scary things some of which they can't identify, yet strong enough to bare what others may not even know exist and in most cases can not imagine it.

Each suicide has something unique about it -as each life has something unique about it. Your life is yours and your death is also going to be yours. Sometimes it is possible that your life may not be yours, but it is not possible that your death may not be yours. Life can be anonymous. If you live with others, you can compromise too much, you can imitate -but death is always unique because death is alone. You die alone. There is no society. They don't exist in your death. The crowd, the mass is there when you are alive, but when you die you die absolutely alone, utterly alone. Death has a quality. So sometimes it happens that a man may commit suicide because he has become tired of the anonymous existence. He has become tired of all the compromises that one has to make in order to live. That's why Van Gogh committed suicide - he was a rare man, one of the greatest painters ever. But he had to make compromises every moment of his life. He got tired of those compromises; he could no longer tolerate being part of the crowd mind. He killed himself in order to be himself. If he had been in the East there would have been another alternative: suicide or sannyas. These are the two alternatives which every man who has some sense of life, of individuality, has to choose between at some point. In the West nothing like sannyas has been in existence. If you become a Christian monk that is again a compromise; you still remain part of the society. Even if you go out of the society you remain part of it. The society goes on controlling you -it has a remote control system. It does not allow you to really go out of it. You remain a Christian, you remain a Catholic, even when you have moved to a monastery. It does not make much difference. In the East, sannyas has a totally different flavor. The moment you become sannyasin you are no longer a Hindu, you are no longer a Mohammedan, you are no longer a Christian. The moment you become a sannyasin, you drop out of all collectivities. You become yourself. You will be surprised to know that in the East people don't commit suicide as much as in the West. And the difference is big -too big to be just accidental. In the East they have created a creative kind of suicide, that is sannyas. You can still live, but you can live in your own way. Then the need for suicide disappears, or becomes very much less. In the West it always has happened that the unique individuals have to commit suicide. The mediocre go on living, the unique have to commit suicide. A Van Gogh, a Hemingway, a Mayakovski, a Nijinsky -these are unique individuals. Either they have to commit suicide or they have to go mad -the society drives them mad. The society puts so much pressure on them that either they have to yield to the society and become just anonymous, or they have to go mad, or they have to commit suicide. And all are destructive alternatives. Nietzsche went mad; that was his way of committing suicide. Nijinsky had the same quality as Buddha. Had he been in the East he would have become a Buddha, but the west does not give any alternative at all. He had to go mad. Van Gogh had a unique quality of tremendous intelligence, creativity. He could have moved on the path of sannyas and samadhi, but there was no door open. He got tired; just going on living a compromise was hurting too much. It was not worth it. One day he completed his painting -the painting that he had always wanted to do -and that day he felt, "Now there is no need to make any compromise with anybody for any reason. I have done my painting, I have done my best. It is time to disappear". He had always wanted to paint a sunrise. He had painted sunrises for years, but still something was missing and lacking and he would paint again and again. The day his painting was complete and he was fulfilled and satisfied and contented that it had happened -that very moment is was absolutely clear to him that now there was no need-"I was only waiting for this painting, I am fulfilled in it, I have bloomed. Now why make compromises? For what? He committed suicide. He was not mad, he was simply not mediocre. His suicide was not a crime, his suicide was simply a condemnation of your so-called society which asks for so many compromises. Mediocre people are ready to compromise; the have nothing to lose. In fact they feel good being part of a crowd, of a mob, because in the crowd they need not think about themselves as mediocre; all are just like them. They can lose themselves in the crowd. They can lose themselves and forget themselves in the mass mind, and in the mass mind they have no responsibility. They need not bother whether they are asleep or awakened. But a man who has some soul in him, will find it continuously heavy to go on degrading himself, to go on compromising for small ordinary trivia, meaningless things -for bread and butter, for a house, a shelter, for clothes.....

But each suicide will have a different quality to it. You ask why Hemingway committed suicide. Hemingway's suicide has another flavor, different from Van Gogh's. Hemingway's whole search was the search for freedom. Birth happened; it was not your choice. You were thrown into it, it was not your choice. Nobody ever asked you whether you wanted to be born or not. So birth is not freedom. It has already happened. The next most important thing is love, but that is also not possible to do. When it happens, it happens; you cannot manage it, you cannot will it. If you want to love a person just through will, it is impossible. It happens when it happens -suddenly you are in love. That's why we use the phrase "falling in love". You ''fall" into it. But you cannot will it; it comes from the unknown. It is just like birth. It is as if God manages that you fall in love with this person; it is as if the decision comes from the blue. You are not the decisive factor, you are more like a victim. You cannot do anything against it. If it happens you have to go into it; if it does not happen you can do whatsoever you want and it will not happen. Nobody can produce love on order. And the most important three things in life are birth, love, death.

Death is the only thing that you can do something about -you can commit suicide. Hemingway's search was for freedom. He wanted to do something that he had not done. He had not managed birth, he had not managed love, now there was only death. There was only one thing which if you wanted to do, you could do. It would be your act, an individual act, done by you. Death has a mysterious quality about it; it is a very strange paradox. If you are standing by the side of a small baby, just born, and if somebody asks you to say something absolutely certain about the baby -the baby is in his crib, asleep, relaxing -what can you say absolutely certainly? You can say only one thing; that he will die.

That is a very strange thing to say. Anything else is uncertain. He may love, he may not love. He may succeed, he may fail. He may be a sinner, he may be a saint. All are "maybe's", there is nothing certain about anything. It is not possible to predict anything. There is only one thing you can say -and it looks very absurd at the side of a baby who has just been born -only one thing is absolutely certain: that he will die. This prediction can be made, and your prediction is never going to be wrong.

So death has a certain quality of certainty about it -it is going to happen. And at the same time is has something absolutely uncertain about it too. One never knows when it is going to happen. There is certainty that it is going to happen. Both this certainty and uncertainty about death make it a mystery, a paradox. If you go living, it will happen -but then again it will come from out of the blue. You will not be the decisive factor. Birth happened, love happened -was death also to happen? That made Hemingway uneasy. He wanted to do at least one thing in life to which he could have his own signature, about which he could say "This I did". That's why he committed suicide. Suicide was an exercise in freedom.

You cannot know anything about death unless you go into it. Hemingway's attitude was that if it is going to happen then why be dragged into it? Why not go into it on your own? It is going to happen. His whole life's concern was death, that's why he become so interested in bull fights. Death was very close. He was constantly attracted by the theme of death -what it was. But you cannot know. Even if somebody is dying in front of you, you don't know anything about death. You simply know that the breathing has disappeared, that this man's eyes won't open again, that this man will never speak again, that his heart is no longer beating -that's all. But this is nothing. How can you know about death from these things? The mystery remains a mystery, you have not even touched it. You can know it only by going into it. But if you are dragged into it there are more possibilities of your becoming unconscious -because you are being dragged into it. Almost always people die unconsciously. Before death happens they become so afraid, so very afraid, that a kind of coma surrounds them and protects them. It is a natural anesthetic. When you go for an operation, you need an anesthetic -and death is the greatest operation there is: the soul and body will be torn apart. So nature has some built-in mechanism -before you start dying you go into a coma; all consciousness disappears. In the first place your consciousness was not very much. Even while you were alive, it was just a tiny flicker. When the wind of death comes, that flicker is gone- there is complete darkness. Hemingway wanted to go into death fully conscious. It was a conscious exercise in dying. But that is possible only through suicide or through samadhi. These are the only two possibilities. You can die consciously in only two ways. You can commit suicide; you can manage your own death. You can have your revolver ready, contemplate it, put it on your chest or your head, pull the trigger yourself consciously, see the explosion and see death. This is one possibility. It is a very destructive possibility. Another possibility is to go more and more into meditation, to attain to a state of awareness that cannot be drowned by death. Then there is no need to commit suicide. then whenever death comes, let it come. You will be dying fully alert, aware, watchful. So it is suicide or sannyas or samadhi. I'm not talking about all suicides -but you asked about these two. And there are as many as people commit suicide. But these two are very rare. These two are very potential. If Vincent van Gogh or Hemingway had been in the East or had had the eastern attitude, they would have flowered as great sannyasins.

Below this is directed to ASHers, however it applies to anyone.

Suicide is a viable solution to some.

There are many many things one needs consider before finally deciding to take their own life. That of course is contingent on the complexity of said life. It more than likely took years to come to the conclusion to commit suicide and will probably take years to wade through the process of finally making the decision to do so. I suppose that there is in fact no choice to live or die, you see some of us are already dead or dying in our spirit, that is why we are here. We are existing in limbo, a purgatory, a place a lot closer to hell than many might imagine. I will concede that more than likely but not always, whatever brought us here was brought on by our own actions but the consequences or out of our control and we want finale say for where we sit. It appears that most suicidal people are accountable for their situation. One gets the idea that trolls don't or can't imagine that there are others that may have good minds in most cases and perfectly capable of thinking for themselves about this issue of suicide.
Granted there are some that come to the bus stop for a short time and have temporary problems that at the time seem overwhelming but do in fact fix themselves through the vicissitudes of life. Those will go on to live.
Often the suicide hot lines and counselors will take credit for saving one when in reality they've done nothing and possibly made it worse.  After all they need to justify their paycheck.
But there are some of us that will only find peace in death. I guess the old adage about walking a mile in ones shoes may apply.

Sitting on this fence or waiting for this bus or any other analogy that fits is just a place to contemplate, examine our lives thus far and get some thoughts together. Kind of like that first smoke and cup of coffee in the morning while trying to decide what will happen the rest of the day.
Maybe I am afraid to die, but I know and more importantly I feel as if I should get on that bus soon. Not that I want to I actually love living, however I do understand things in this world well enough to see that I have nothing to contribute or to build a meaningful existence, and staying here is doing nothing more than wasting precious resources. And that fills me with guilt.


It is hard to believe that when one reads some of the post on Alt. Suicide. Holiday that they can't be compassionate to the the immense pain and suffering going on in the hearts of many. How is this any different than physical suffering? Sure it can be covered with drugs but hell that is worse than death. I know because I have probably tried every concoction of street drug that is known to man in order to cover the pain of sickness and guilt and memories and disappointments and no drug has made me feel worse than the first morning after my first paxil, save a force injection of haldoll or thorazine. Many in the ASH group have experienced the same thing.

Maybe it was the way a business went bad or a marriage or a lover, maybe it was the loss of a chance to fulfill a dream. Maybe it was something they did that they can't or don't feel they can live with any longer. Maybe it was all of the above and more. Who knows, who knows what brings an individual here to ASH. The thing is, their here. They are hurting and they have a solution. It may not be from the same set of values and standards as most of the population and the ASHers obviously have tried to segregate themselves by creating a place for themselves in our news group. When people that do not have that particular set of standards and values come in here they will indeed read things that they do not understand and will get their feelings ruffled up a bit. They will try to intervene and in the process insult and do far more damage than they do good. Like any suicide prevention counselor does on any given day. Not that any one side is right or any one side is wrong it is just a matter of standards and values. Besides, since when does one person have the right to tell another how to feel or to negate the feelings of another? I have personally never met a counselor or shrink who didn't leave me with the taste of holier than thou water...

It appears to me as well that the difference in standards and values with the people around us has a lot to do with the overall happiness and quality of our lives. One can only get let down so often before the critical threshold is reached and we quit trying. This is again different for each of us and again it is contingent on standards and values. There is no way ever to blend the sides in a peaceful harmony, that is until one feels the need or at least the desire to commit suicide. Then, the ASH philosophy begins to make some sense.

I would find it rather shocking if ever there was one person that wanted to die from birth. It took a while and many things to deteriorate the will to survive (probably the strongest intuitive desire we have is the instinct of survival.) and the love for life. As I write this, out the window I hear a young girl maybe six or so. She is yelling to her Dad as they are walking to school "I love you bucko!" There is so much love and trust in her precious voice and I have to wonder if the day will come when she will have lost that particular love for life. That excitement and passion to go on. What in the world got us from that to here? Whatever it was, it sure had to be damned painful to kill that precious spirit. Yet it happens everyday and has happened to many of us.



ASH is a good place, it is indeed, and it is needed. That is evident by the fact that people come here. I believe too that the spirit of ASH is extremely valuable. It helps those that want to die understand their feelings and it helps those that are truly on the fence make a decision. I would venture to bet that ASH saves a lot of lives, if by nothing more than giving us a place to vent in an atmosphere that should not be hostile. In ASH spirit anyway.Many of you that offer advice to the suicidal are extremely tough people. Some have had more in your life than most and you have been given a tremendous ability to handle the toughest that this life can deal out. And you have made life better for yourselves. Your trials and tribulations have given you the fuel and the drive to be better and you have succeeded. But not everybody is as resilient and as tough as you are. And most gained a lot of wisdom in your trek through your life. But that does not mean that suicidal people are lesser for their abilities or lack of them. It just means that they are different and have a different set of strengths and weaknesses. And you might consider the fact that many have had great success at some point in their lives and they have overcome many trials and heartaches that life has put before them. There is that proverbial straw for some of us and it has broken the camels back and with that our desire to exist. How do you know what we have lost or what we have gone through? Where does it say that our lives have to be just like yours?Maybe at this time all we can do is nothing. When each of us is ready an action will be made. Until then being and ASHer is a good thing to do.


I have been intimately involved with suicidal people over the years,  and I do not agree that the families nor anyone else left behind are the victims. I believe the families and so called friends and or acquaintances in many cases are the reason why people choose suicide.  The family members feel guilty, because they are guilty.  They are guilty of abuse, guilty of neglect of compassion, empathy on who knows how many different levels. They weren't there with empathy, compassion or any type of understanding when the real victim.(the one that is dead) needed them. They are guilty of emotional abandonment.  Pure and simple they dropped the ball and could not muster the ability to be a friend or even a decent care taker.  But they are very quick to cry that they are the real victims...well that's just preposterous.  They are no more the victim than Charley Manson was the victim. 

Moreover it is apparent when you talk to one of these so called victims that they know their part in the suicide.  They did have a choice to care or not care, to love or not love, to be there or not to be there, to keep trying or not, and they gave up. The proof is in the coffin. I don't have sympathy for a person who watches another human being's hope dissipate and does nothing to encourage any further hope. Instead most so called victims or (god I hate this word...survivor) of a suicidal are judgmental and selfish as to think they can in some way tell another human what to think and more importantly what to feel, then treat them in the way that brings forth the opposite feelings.

And I believe there is a lot of money in these so called suicide survivor/victim organizations and that is why they even exist. To even have a board for an organization like that, suggest criminal conspiracy. Emotional blackmail of sorts. You pay us and you can come here and talk about your crime of neglect.   What good could they possibly do?  They don't prevent suicide, we know that is impossible because once a person decides it's a done deal. The question is when.   It's  murderers who used emotional torture as a weapon sitting around comparing notes on how they feel? What's the point? They did their job. They can paint another icon of the door of their car and go back to what ever they were doing when the person that needed them was suffering and crying for help.
 John


"I didn't get the life I wanted and I can't live the life I got." SCP RIP