Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Suicides globally offer a way to understand existence, life, everything
This fascinating global analysis is part of Science Journal (AAAS) special series on 'unraveling suicide'.
Note very importantly:
This is Science Journal report is simply analysis of numbers, not causes, which individually, locally, and globally are infinitely complex.
I mean ACTUALLY INFINITE when we consider:
86bn neurons in each human brain and 1000s of trillions of synaptic connections - all now potentially interacting globally (e.g., Facebook, Google, and other systems of connectedness bigger than continental populations. Another way to look at this is https://www.newscientist.com/article/2182987-your-brain-is-like-100-billion-mini-computers-all-working-together/
And then we must factor in the chaotically infinite dimensions of time, universe, history, culture, ecosystem, economics, bias and denialism (bit.ly/bias-denialisim), exponential change, technology and artificial intelligence. placebo effect (individially, societally - essentially so that what we believe becomes a reality internally and externally too) ... and lots more ... ultimately that humanity and basically everything 'tangible' is simply a physical illusion of quantum effects - i.e., nothing really 'exists', in the way we believe it does. Cosmology offers helpful background.
Suicide, despite of and related to its taboos and impossibly difficult challenges, is the deepest possible perspective by which to consider the human mind.
And we know with certainty (I invite you to explore the research and teachings on this), from the greatest teachers now and throughout history, and from the lessons of bias and conditioning, that the inner universe of our mind is the way to understand the outer universe. In other words, it is only by understanding ourselves that we can begin to understand anything and everything else (because until we understand ourselves, we cannot see truly clearly and objectively what is beyond our own minds).
Death. of course is the other huge denial and taboo in life, naturally for most people; very reasonably and naturally especially for people whose lives have so far been unaffected personally and deeply by death. We can only understand what we have experienced, and been able to process and grow from.
Suicide is the most inaccessible aspect of death; the most extreme perspective of death. This is a big part of the biblical crucifixion story, and similar timeless tales of people giving their lives for others: the unimaginable notion that a person could sacrifice his/her life in such a way, when this is absolutely counter-intuitive, against every modern instinct that normally denies that death is possible or real, or even that it could be a chosen option. This is not to glorify suicide at all: suicide is indescribably horrific for those bereaved and left behind, or damaged otherwise by certain types of suicide, especially if combined with homicide.
Please note also, crucially, that most suicides entail a huge element of self-loathing (the act is, after all, a killing of oneself), and a sense of being a nuisance or burden to friends and family, and/or to the world. At the point of suicide, a sense of worthlessness and self-hatred, and hopelessness and uselessness too, becomes unbearable. The suicide is both a relief of unimaginable pain, and also the belief that the world will be a better place without oneself. Please consider this very deeply. It makes completely natural sense, when/if you can engage with the subject with a clear mind.
And so, by attempting to understand suicide, even more than death, we have the deepest possible perspective of humanity and what it is to be human, and what sort of a world we want.
Do we want a world in which at least 800,000 people die by suicide every year? (The figure in truth is a million or more, due to under-reporting, in turn due to taboo and systemic denial/discrimination, etc.)
Do we want a world in which over 1.5% of all people now die by suicide?
And that despite humankind's apparent 'progress' economically and technologically (see bias and denialism again), suicide is in many parts of the developed and developing world growing markedly?
More disturbingly, do we want a world in which more than a third of all deaths globally - that's more than 20million deaths of a total 60million deaths globally every year - are premature and preventable? This is over 20million people dying 10-30 years before they naturally would do, because of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate.
Consider what causes these deaths.
It's pollution, unhealthy lifestyles, addictions to fat, sugar, salt, alcohol, tobacco and other stress-relieving substances; processed foods, chemicals consumed/affecting us, unhealthy lifestyles, lack of education, gambling, inequality, discrimination, stressful work, lack of sleep and exercise, obesity, unhealthy built-environment, population growth, transport, and recklessly designed technologies. nonsensical unsustainable economics, big pharma, etc. Please explore the truths yourself.
Consider the meaning of the word exponential, in the context of humanity's effects on our planet. And what this means for you.
I suggest to you these >20million deaths every year and rising exponentially are slow suicides and slow homicides of our biased denialist illusory world.
And that if we fix suicides, or at least fix as many of the causes of suicide as we can, then we will inevitably fix all the underlying causes, and we fix humanity and the planet, that if we stop destroying it, would otherwise sustain us all.