Taken from Robert Crumb’s Plunge Into The Depths Of Despair (1983)
And if anyone wants these comic strips in a PDF form:
One thing I’ve learned in my life is that nothing can be generalized. Everything has their own unique application to our lives. Hence, I call this post “My” right to die.
My thoughts on death and suicide have been a blend of careful religious historical philosophical (even theoretical physics) study, and my own emotions. I would like to open up the idea of the first ingredient of my blend for our community’s discussion and for the reader’s additional insight.
Suicide as a right can be seen throughout our history. Various ancient cultures have seen suicide as an honorable way to die. The ancient Mayans for one even had a goddess for suicide named Ixtab. Ixtab would make sure suicide victims would enjoy paradise in the after life. Another example are the ancient Japanese samurai. They viewed suicide as a means to restore honor preceded by a shameful act.
In a semi-religious and semi-historical perspective, some Buddhist monks before would find enlightenment by long meditations followed by self-strangulation. Their mummified corpses I think can still be seen in some parts of the Himalayan mountains. This “suicide” wouldn’t be against Buddhist teachings as this religion teaches that life is suffering and that attachments, like attachment to life, further cause suffering.
In Jainism and Hinduism, some practitioners are culturally allowed to commit suicide by fasting if they believe that all their worldly obligations have been met.
Philosophers like Albert Camus have also mentioned suicide as the primary question of philosophy, aka the study for the “meaning of life”. Verbatim, Camus says, “There is only one really serious philosophical problem… and that is suicide. Deciding whether or not life is worth living is to answer the fundamental question in philosophy. All other questions follow from that.”
Somehow, we have come to our present culture that now generally frowns upon suicide even though it has been part of history, study, and other religions. People generally see suicidal people as victims of their emotions rather than rational beings. Just because my life and death can be influenced deeply by my emotions doesn’t mean that I have abandoned all rational thoughts on the matter. On the contrary, I have explored and still continue to discover the logic in my right to live and my right to die.
And if I go by any single logic that I have mentioned above, then definitely, I have the right to die. What more if I take all of the above as one homogeneous reason? Then captain, its a dazzling display of logic.
Hey, all. Sincerely hope you’re doing well. Er — as well as can be, given that we’re all in a suicide forum.
I guess I’ll get right to the point: One of my major fears is poverty. I live in a Third World country, and I see it every day. The lack of healthcare, the people living in the streets, the laborers breaking their backs every day and making f*ck-all. Shamefully, I’m more concerned about not falling in with them than actually helping; there’s just too damn many people in need. Sigh, yet another reason to just catch the bus, if only I weren’t so cowardly. Anyway, I’m positively pissing myself because it seems like poverty is imminent for me. I have health issues going on, not to mention mental and emotional stuff. My parents are old and getting older, and I’ll have to support them or they’ll die suffering and possibly cursing me.
Can you still call it mental illness if you’re dealing with legitimate problems that result from a sick society? And what are the ways of coping with such legitimate problems, short of moving to a Tibetan mountaintop and becoming a Buddhist monk? Positive thinking doesn’t quite cut it for me, because some people really DO fall into poverty, and some DO suffer, and some stories DON’T have happy endings. I mean, aside from suicide, obviously. Seriously, I don’t think I’m that brave. If you open the blinders and face the worst possible scenario, is there anything to help the suffering? Or do people keep on hiding behind hope?
Thank you so much for reading.
This really has nothing to do with religion, but is a personal message by someone who happens to be a Buddhist.
The important part of this post is the advice of the writer, based on his own near-suicide attempt, and not Buddhism, which has little opinion on the matter, at least in terms of a coherent theology.
Honestly, I wish I would have found this 20 years ago, but it may help some people, and even the way things are for me now, it has made me stop and think a little more.
so I there there are a few Buddhists on here and I think it’s honestly a good help. Me along with a lot if other people I’ve talked to get depressed a lot by simply thinking too much. In Buddhism, meditation clears your mind and calms you. it also has a peaceful lifestyle associated with it.
I often think of Buddhism as a philosophy more than a religion. Buddha himself claimed that he was not perfect and his teachings are based more on your opinions while most religions give you specific commands and rules.
I’m trying to adopt a state of mind that centers around human experience; something realistic, rather than negative or positive. Something beyond that simplistic dichotomy. Emotions exist; sadness is no less real than happiness; happiness is no less real than sadness. Pain is no less real than pleasure, and vice versa, and what one might want to describe as “bad,” is not necessarily so. It simply is.
Maybe I should convert to Buddhism.
Anyone know any good monastic sects in the midwest United States?
That’s a joke, by the way. I dislike organized religion. I don’t enjoy having to accept uncertainty, but I dislike blind certainty just as much.
I fall off kilter from time to time, and land in a mire of anxiety and malaise. That’s when words like, “good,” “bad,” “better,” “worse,” get summoned back into my perspective. They’re like demons with pitchforks at the ready, waiting for a moment to strike at unwary victims. “I felt better yesterday, I feel worse today.” “Is it even possible to feel better all the time? When I feel good, it never lasts for long.” It’s all irrelevant; why should how I feel, or how I might feel in the future, concern me so much? What’s to be afraid of?
Maybe all my teeth will fall out, I’ll go bald, and get a lazy eye. That kind of reality would bother me, but only if I actually cared about how I look, and everyone eventually loses what physical appeal they may have. I see no point in worrying about transient things (that doesn’t mean I don’t – I’m still learning not to care). Being judged for those transient features (either positively, or negatively) tends to annoy me. It shouldn’t even annoy me; It should simplyÂ disinterest me. I’m human; ergo, imperfect and sometimes inconsistent.
I still think a lobotomy would help resolve that problem. My brain is always trying to kill me somehow. I’d love to poke it with a sharp stick. 😛
IÂ have been depressd/anxious for 30 years but I have managed to find some happiness during that time too.Â I will never be “normal”. I know that sucidal thoughts have many causes, mentall illness, faulty thinking,Â life experiences or endogenous/ exogenousÂ depression.
But many times people commit sucide because sometimes the pain of life is way too much to handle. Why suffer everydayâ€¦why die a slow death everyday? We all die so why not decide for yourself when the right time is? My only cavaet is to really think about the ramifications especially if you are young. Things can change in an instant.
*Please try everything posible to live and strive for a better life via (acceptance that life is not perfect (Buddhism), medication, therapy, exercise, talking to a friend etc.)
To takeÂ one’s ownÂ life is a VERY big decision but it is not cowardice!