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
The loss of Robin Williams is very sad. He was a great talent. I'm sure his demons of addiction had more to do with this than any religious belief. It's also possible that he believed he might be "in a better place" after death even if he was not religious.
I agree that the church came up with ideas of suicide speeding up your journey to heaven being a "sin" was to discourage it. I was always taught that suicide had no forgiveness and was a straight shot to hell. At the same time church teachings claim you are not responsible for what you do if you are misguided or mentally ill. There is the paradox. How could you say that the suicidal person was in his right mind at the time of death? Certainly he would be very confused. I don't think they would be rational, just in a world filled with despair.
So, if there is a god and an afterlife, if such things were to exist, I would have to conclude that the suicide would be a straight shot to heaven.
Traditional Judaism similarly sees suicide as a grave sin (though it has no Christian hell). People who had committed suicide are routinely given the benefit of the doubt, though, that they could not have been in their right mind.
...are routinely given the benefit of the doubt, ....
We have to remember that only a few years ago, family violence was never spoken of.
In the Catholicism I knew, suicides got no benefit of the doubt; they went straight to hell.
Probably before WW2 I heard of an aunt I'd never met on my dad's side of the family who'd jumped from a bridge and drowned. It wasn't a secret; it was seldom mentioned.
My Catholic dad almost never spoke and kept to himself what he surely felt when, while I was in college, his twin sister drowned herself in a lake on the family farm. She had five kids about the same ages as my sibs and I. We had visited often and I knew she had not been happy. Her husband was a huge man and years later when wife beating became okay to talk about, I wondered what her life had been like. Soon after my dad died a relative told my sibs and I that his mom had beaten him.
My mom's side of the family? I was about ten when, at a picnic with people on her side of the family, I heard an aunt tell other women "If he hits me a first time, there won't be a second time."
About 30 years ago, my 12-year-younger sister and I did some genealogy. She in Florida and I in California both decided that it was like no one wanted to be known so we quit.
I might yet make some ceramics pieces with my name carved on them and bury them where they will be found. Retired, I took some ceramics courses and joked about renaming them Immortality 101, 201, etc.
I saw Robin Williams as almost manic at times. If so, this would also explain his genius.
Camus once said that the only real philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide. We often think it's somehow weirder when celebrities, who "have everything," take this route. But this reminds me of Oscar Wilde's bon mot that "There's only one thing worse than not getting what you want, and that is, getting it." Not that I've ever been in danger of "having everything," but I can imagine that facing life's exigencies from a perspective of wealth, fame and privilege could actually be more difficult than we usually imagine. You're absolutely out of excuses for not being completely happy. Being able literally to satisfy every whim at every moment and still having something missing might intensify rather than diminish your needs and anxieties.
As good programmed consumer units, we're conditioned to think "If I only had x, everything would be ok. Then we can pine away for x thinking it would make us happy, or if we're among the "lucky" ones, we can go out and engage in "retail therapy" and buy a ton of x's, only to discover that we still need some other x. When you can have any external thing you want, maybe the (wonderful or horrible) truth that none of this shit is going to help hits you between the eyes a lot harder than it hits the rest of us. (Just a thought.)
There's only one thing worse than not getting what you want, and that is, getting it.
That makes sense - you lose your dreams.
Robin Williams apparently struggled with a lot of "demons". Depression, addictions.
I also wonder if his heart surgery messed him up. It can cause depression and problems with memory and thinking.
I've seen reports that say women are more likely to attempt suicide and men are more likely to commit suicide.
Any ideas on the reason(s)?
Attempting suicide is often a signal: "Help and care needed." Committing suicide signals that the person considers himself or herself beyond help. I've seen multiple attempts by men and one suicide by a woman...
I wonder if there's a gender-based difference in typically selected methodology. I don't remember the exact numbers, but I read somewhere recently that guns are successful in a very high percentage of attempts (over 90% I think) while pills are only successful in a much lower percentage of attempts.
I wonder if there's a gender-based difference in typically selected methodology.
Yes there is, and males more often use guns and females more often use pills. At least in Virginia USA.