The news of the loss of Robin Williams is saddening. I however can't help feeling that it is the shared delusion of a better place to go that was likely the cause. This is not a new idea as suicide to speed along the journey to "heaven" that caused the church to announce that it was a sin. Those who say religion isn't harmful if practiced alone I believe are mistaken or have never lost a loved one who was alone with their ideas of a better place. Maybe this idea is ill timed, but I have seen many instances where life was lost due to someone hoping for the promised land because their ideas were allowed to manifest unchallenged.
Just my thoughts
I had thought -- and probably posted here at some time or other -- that the Stoics, with whom I tend to identify at times, were advocates of euthanasia including suicide, but they were not. I must suppose I reasoned from the specific to the general, using Seneca as my model. My own subject, in the writing I am doing, attempted suicide several times since adolescence, swallowing sleeping pills, nearly jumping off apartment buildings, and slowly drinking himself to death. Even after he finally offed himself, some said he was reaching out for a lifesaver before he made it and that friends had rescued him before but this time were not around. Do those who ignore the crying wolf live to regret it as guilt over not having "done more"?
Do those who ignore the crying wolf live to regret it as guilt over not having "done more"?
In the math department at Brown we had a young man who delivered the mail each day from the university's central office. We all liked him, but didn't know him well. He always seemed friendly and cheerful. He was in his early twenties, but very small. He killed himself leaving a note that said, "I'm tired of being small." Everyone felt bad that we had not known of his unhappiness and many said that if they had only known, they would have told him it doesn't matter. I don't know if that could have helped, but it just seemed to be the wrong reason for suicide.
It's so hard to explain to young people how heartbreak WILL get easier over time. My first breakup (first serious BF cheated on me) was awful, I didn't eat for 8 days straight, couldn't even stomach an aspirin. The first heartbreak takes a stupid amount of time to recover from.
Fast forward a decade, and I was breaking up with guys over the phone, via text..... figured that being "nice" wasn't getting me anywhere. Not that I'm no longer nice, but I've learned that it's not the ONLY thing guys want, and if I don't see a future in the relationship, no sense in being 100% nice about it.
Ironically- the guy I broke up with over the phone asked me out again months later (before dumping ME, in person. I would've preferred a phone call.) The guy I broke up with over text.......we're now married!
My point being, you can learn from those horrendous experiences. Doesn't mean you'll never be depressed again (I too have struggled with depression- took meds, went to therapy), but if only we could find a way to download the message into people's brains. You can't though.
My new manager isn't very tall, and she said that her husband is a LOT shorter than she is- so he's got to be under 5'! OH if only teens and 20-somethings could have a glimpse at life with an old person's perspective.
I'm sure Robin had more going on than we realize, or maybe he just had a great life up until the Parkinson's diagnosis. Figured, what more could there possibly be ahead? Are we being selfish to bemoan OUR loss, when he at least did it on his own terms? Just a thought, not saying it was the right thing to do.
He was about 5 feet tall as I remember. (It was quite some time ago.) He often wore a big cowboy hat, perhaps hoping it made him look taller, but it had the opposite effect of emphasizing his small stature. Women liked him—at least the secretaries in our department— as I recall because he was very nice looking, but I think they may have given him the impression they thought he was cute, and not to be taken seriously. Many years later I somehow ran into a man who had been his roommate and he gave me additional details, but alas, I have forgotten it all—I have a memory like a sieve.
"Cute" tends to be too generalized to mean much, doesn't it? My readings in popularized quantum theory explication convinced me that the distrust of language by many, from Korzybski to Wittgenstein,with a few Buddhists thrown in, is well taken. Concomitant to language is the problem of perception, and i am convinced also that if we are not present in the forest to hear the tree fall, it has not fallen. I once characterized men as cute and others as beautiful, but they tell you absolutely nothing about the persons attached. Korzybski as you know was famous for saying "the map is not the territory." Wittgenstein said there are no philosophical issues, only failures of language in discussing them.
Even more explicitly Wittgenstein said:
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by language.
Whether there exist genuine philosophical problems is not as clear, but certainly the obstacles posed by language must be overcome before it can be decided.
Wittgenstein also said "Philosophy is the disease for which it should be the cure." Somehow that has always stuck with me.
Yes, I've read old philosophical writings on subjects like physics and found them rife with assumptions.
This is the disease that philosophy intends to cure.
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." --Woody Allen